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RBSCG Events/Conferences




The 2019 conference - call for papers

Special collections materials differ from other types of library collections in that their physical carriers are often as important as (or more important than) the text or images they carry. The 2019 RBSCG Annual Study Conference, entitled Let’s Get Physical: Materiality in Special Collections, will examine the ways that we describe, display, preserve, and promote the physical attributes of our collections, from medieval manuscripts to contemporary artists’ books. The conference will take place on 4-6 September at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff.


The RBSCG Committee invites proposals for presentations, panel sessions, and participant-driven sessions from all areas of the cultural heritage sector. We would particularly like to hear from speakers within Wales and the West of England.


Possible subjects include, but are not limited to:

  • Book production processes including papermaking, letterpress and other printing techniques, binding, and modification of books after publication
  • Physical evidence of ownership and use
  • Movement, storage, and display of collections
  • Restrictions on physical access to collections
  • Teaching with collections as physical objects
  • Using digital surrogates to express physical attributes
  • Recording information about physical attributes, including cataloguing issues
  • Dealing with unusual formats



Presentations share case studies, reports, ideas, or scholarly research relevant to the conference theme. Presentations will last for 35 minutes, plus time for questions.


Panel sessions typically include 3-4 speakers who have put together their individual research/work into a cohesive panel. You may also submit an individual paper that, if accepted, will be placed by conference organizers into a cohesive panel of 3-4 speakers. Panel sessions will last 60-90 minutes, with each speaker presenting for 10-20 minutes, followed by discussion and questions.


Participant-driven sessions use audience member participation to drive the momentum of the proposed idea or topic of interest. The goal for this session is that the audience contributes to the topic that is facilitated by the proposer(s) in some fashion. Proposals should include a session timeline, proposed equipment requirements* (e.g. notepads, flipcharts, easels, etc.), at least one learning objective for the session (e.g., ‘Attendees will ____’) and at least one, but no more than three, takeaways for post-conference development. These sessions will be allotted 30-60 minutes.

*Please note that RBSCG will make every effort to accommodate equipment requests, but cannot guarantee availability.


Each proposal will be evaluated on its relationship to the conference theme, relevance of the topic for RBSCG members and other interested attendees, and potential impact on the field and practice of special collections and archives.


If you are invited to present, your place at the conference for the day of your presentation, one night of accommodation, and travel costs within the UK will be paid for by CILIP RBSCG.


If you would like to present, or discuss an idea for a presentation, please email a brief summary of your idea to 2019 Conference Organiser Christine Megowan at with “Call for Proposals” in the subject line. Please indicate the content type and projected length of your talk. Submissions are due no later than Friday, 8 February 2019.



Past Events


Please refer to the RBSCG Booking and Cancellations Policy.

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