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PROPOSING A NEW SEMINAR GROUP
The seminars are at the heart of the
British New Testament Society’s work. They provide a forum for presentation and
discussion of research by established scholars and research students. Over the
years the number and themes of the seminars have varied. Some are relatively
small (10–12), others can be much larger (40–50). It is crucial that there is a
core group who attend and contribute to the seminar’s work, to ensure its
Seminars normally have three 1.5 hour
sessions during the conference each year, two on Friday morning and one on
Saturday morning. Seminar chairs are free to organise these creatively, as best
serves the theme of their seminar, including book reviews, presentation of
papers, debates, etc. The opportunity for research students to present papers
has been part of the BNTS ethos since the Society’s foundation, and so normally
at least one of each seminar’s sessions should be open to proposals from
Seminars are encouraged to hold joint
sessions with other seminars where there is a connection between the
two—seminar chairs normally discuss this with each other, often while together
at the conference.
Seminar chairs normally serve a five-year
term of office (to encourage rotation of chairs to involve more of our
members), and are expected normally to be present at the conference during
their term of office. The Society’s Secretary monitors this term of office, and
alerts serving chairs (and the committee) when their present five-year term is
coming up. In exceptional circumstances, a seminar chair may ask for a short
extension to their term of office by writing to the committee (through the
Secretary), giving an explanation for the request (e.g. to facilitate
‘staggering’ the terms of office of the two co-chairs).
Each year, the Secretary writes to ask seminar chairs for a ‘call for papers’ for their seminar for the following year’s conference. This call for papers is sent to the Society’s email list and put on the Society’s website (normally early in the calendar year) with a deadline for proposals. Seminar chairs must ensure that the Secretary receives the full information about the seminars (presenter, institution, title, abstract) by a deadline set each year. This deadline is to ensure that, when registration for the conference opens, all the information about the seminars is available on the Society’s website, to enable members to choose their seminars in full knowledge of the programme. In the intial request for a ‘call for papers’, the Secretary will give the deadlines for each stage of the process for that year.
New seminars are initiated through a three-part process:
- the potential seminar chairs produce a proposal (for contents, see below) which they send to the Secretary (email@example.com), who ensures that it is considered by the committee, normally at the committee meeting during the conference each year;
- the committee considers the proposal in the light of the present spread of seminar areas and themes and the potential support for the new seminar, and may approve it, decline it, or seek further information from the proposers. If approved, the new seminar will normally be announced during the conference business meeting;
- once approved, the chairs of the new seminar provide a one-paragraph explanation of the seminar’s area/theme for the Society’s website, and their email addresses to go on the website alongside the seminar details.
Please include in your proposal:
- the seminar title, which should be succinct and clearly indicate the focus of the proposed seminar;
- the names of the proposed chair(s)—normally seminars have two co-chairs from different institutions or situations (e.g. one could be an independent scholar);
- a brief (up to 750 words) description of the proposed seminar’s primary contents/themes, and the rationale for introducing it;
- clarification of any overlap with the work of current seminars (please check on the BNTS website for the explanations of each current seminar’s work);
- the names of people who have indicated they would support the seminar;
- a sketch of what the seminar might cover in its first two years.
If you have questions about this, or would like comments on a draft seminar proposal, please contact the Secretary (firstname.lastname@example.org).