BACLS-WHN 2021 Conference

We are currently accepting offers of interest to host BACLS-WHN 2021, to take place in the Spring/Summer period of 2021.

In between now and 2021 we will be continuing to support events organised by our membership via our BACLS endorsed events fund. We will also have a presence at English: Shared Futures 2020, and at numerous International events hosted by cognate associations.

BACLS-WHN 18 was a great success. The feedback from those who participated has been immense and made us all excited for the kind of work the association and its events can continue to do to support, widen and advocate for contemporary literary studies in the UK and Internationally.To get a sense of the vibes at WHN18 please check out our twitter story here.

As part of the process of hosting BACLS-WHN you will work with the BACLS Conference Organiser. We encourage the host institution to present a programme that highlights their own expertise, and local interests.
Although What Happens Now will be hosted by a different institution each event, we are committed to keeping a core BACLS programme of contemporary literary studies and early career academic advocacy work in place. Our general principles are listed at the bottom of the page, and in addition, each What Happens Now will feature:

  • A session devoted to pedagogy and teacher training in the field
  • A session devoted to PGR and ECR professional development in the field
  • A reception for the announcement of book and essay prizes
  • A BACLS Annual General Meeting
  • The Lincoln Lecture (details below)

The Lincoln Lecture

The ‘What Happens Now’ conferences originated at the University of Lincoln, where four were held biennially from 2010-2016. The conferences helped to provide a forum for and give shape to an emerging community of contemporary literary studies scholars. In recognition of Lincoln’s role, the BACLS What Happens Now conference series includes the ‘Lincoln Lecture’ as part of its proceedings. The Lincoln Lecture should be a plenary slot (keynote speaker, roundtable, Q&A or other format) on any topic related to Contemporary Literary Studies.

Support for the BACLS-WHN conference

In addition to working with the BACLS conference organiser, the BACLS treasury will provide a grant of £1000 to the host institution. This money is part of the organisation’s annual budget and thus is issued only after the next year’s budget is approved. Any unused funds should be returned to us as a ‘seed corn’ gift for the next BACLS-WHN.

Apply to host 2021!

If you would like to host BACLS-WHN 2021 please send in an application to Please note, that BACLS-WHN organisers should be current members of BACLS.

Applications should be no more than three pages and include:

  1. why you are interested in hosting the BACLS-WHN conference. You might like to include information relating to how hosting BACLS-WHN fits/connects with the research culture/environment in your department or school; details of anticipated plenary speakers and authors, or plenary speakers and authors who will be invited.
  2. how you will consider our general principles
  3. a proposed timetable
  4. a brief statement detailing how you have considered inclusivity in your conference planning
  5. a draft budget

Please send your application as an attachment to by end of day 15th December 2019.
If you have any questions, please email

BACLS General Principles:

  • Events reflect the diversity of our field and foster inclusive, collegiate practices
  • The work of BACLS is not restricted to anglophone literary studies; ‘British’ refers to the location of scholars who founded the organisation, rather than the range of the association, or our broader scholarly networks
  • BACLS subscribes to a ‘rolling sense’ of the contemporary. The association is dedicated to a fluid and hybrid understanding of the contemporary ‘moment’ as an ever-evolving experience of the contemporary
  • BACLS should be open to scholars working on the contemporary in literature and cognate disciplines, including comparative and world literatures, postcolonial studies, translation studies, linguistics, performance studies, media theory, comics studies, video games studies, adaptation studies, the study of popular music, cultural studies, critical theory, and digital humanities
  • BACLS is committed to supporting postgraduate research and professional development in our field
  • BACLS is especially concerned to encourage and enhance representation and participation from those who are under-represented and marginalised in academia, and are proactively working to reduce physical, social, and economic barriers to participation and to develop an environment rooted in a belief of equal respect for all.