Call for Presentations

History Camp Valley Forge, Saturday, May 20, 2023—Key Dates

  • Monday, April 10, 2023, Midnight (Eastern)—Deadline to submit your presentation proposal.
  • Thursday, April 20, 2023—Our deadline to notify you if we’ve accepted your presentation proposal.
  • Wednesday, May 10, 2023—Deadline for accepted presenters to confirm their participation and send the presentation title, presentation description, and bio(s) and headshot(s) for all those involved in the presentation; agree to general terms; and register for History Camp. (Note: Unlike a traditional conference, History Camp is supported by everyone who participates, including presenters.)
  • Saturday, May 20, 2023—History Camp Valley Forge takes place—welcome! Speakers should arrive and check-in at 8:30am to test their equipment with the AV techs. (AV techs are not available after History Camp begins at 9:00am!)

Why Present at History Camp?

History Camp welcomes people from all walks of life who love history—authors, professors, U.S. National Park Rangers, professional as well as armchair historians, volunteers, docents, reenactors, performers, architects, archeologists, medical doctors and nurses, exhibit designers, curators, students, genealogists, executive directors, tour guides, and YOU!

  • People love History Camp. History Camp attendees are are engaged, passionate history fans.
  • Tell the history stories you’re passionate about. You can speak on whatever history-related topic you wish with two important exceptions: No politics—we draw the line right after the Nixon presidency—and no sales pitches.
  • Connect with your audience. Engage with your audience during your session and throughout the day as you participate as an attendee.

I’d Love to Present. How do I Start?

Read the information below—making note of the important deadlines listed at the top of this page. Once you understand all the rules of the road, submit your session proposal using the form at the bottom of this page.

1) Learn about presenting at History Camp

Read this page as well as the other pages about the upcoming event carefully and view our archive of past presentations, including our most recent Camps. Important aspects to review are:

  1. restrictions on presenting for the sole purpose of selling a product or service (i.e., no “infomercials”);
  2. restrictions on discussing current politics or, generally, any politics more recent than the Nixon administration (it’s about history, after all!); and
  3. what will be expected of you as a presenter, including presentation format and timing, what you will need to prepare for your session, registering for History Camp as an attendee, as well as agreeing to the general terms—the same for all presenters. Please review all the following sections and FAQs.

2) Apply

Complete the ”Apply to Present at History Camp” form below—you will be asked for your topic title, description, biography, and other information. The deadline for applications is Midnight (Eastern) by the date above. (Applicants will receive a confirmation email of their submitted session.) Applicants will be notified by the deadline above and we will reach out to you if we have questions about your proposal.

3) Confirm Participation, Send Promotional Materials, and Register for History Camp

Accepted presenters will need to confirm their participation; send their final presentation title, presentation description, and bio(s) and headshot(s) for all those involved in the presentation; agree to general terms; and must register for the conference—all by the deadline above. (Note: Unlike a traditional conference, History Camp is supported by everyone who participates, including presenters.)

4) Prepare, Practice, and Polish

History Camp will provide A/V equipment and most presenters prefer to use their own laptop (if you need a laptop to use, let us know). Use this time to prepare your presentation slides, script, and any handouts—and reach out to us if you have questions!

Presenting at History Camp

History Camp was founded on an “un-conference” model—which encourages a wide variety of topics and speakers. Applicants must read the following thoroughly before applying. It is also highly recommended to view some schedules, session topics and titles, and recordings from past History Camps—which include our most recent History Camp, History Camp Boston 2022.)

  • Your presentation must relate to history—all facets of history are welcome. Unlike traditional conferences, you don’t have make your presentation conform to a theme, geography, or narrow subject area. You might cover historical people and events, historical research and methods, managing a historic site or history organization, careers for people who love history, teaching history, or other topics related to history.
  • Don’t worry if your topic has been covered before—make it your own, bringing your own knowledge, viewpoint, and expertise.
  • What can’t be covered? There are only two general categories to steer clear of: product pitches and current or recent politics. History Camp is a place to learn and discover, not grand-stand or host infomercials.
  • Pick a format that reflects how best to present the topic. Your format might be a traditional single-speaker presentation, a round-table discussion or panel discussion (you assemble the participants), or even a performance. Many presenters use the History Camp format to air their research and receive audience feedback and questions which helps them hone their arguments.
  • Support your claims. This is especially true if what you’re planning to present goes against widely accepted beliefs. In fact, History Camp may be the ideal place for your presentation—and our committee won’t dismiss your topic because it is a new point of view. However, you must be able to defend whatever you present. Merely asserting controversial things without having research that backs up your claims undermines your argument as well as the reputation of our event.
  • Speakers pay for their own registration (just like everyone else, we all chip-in).
  • Speakers may list their website and up to three publications in their bios. Note that this content should not be a part of your main presentation.
  • Sessions will be 45 minutes. We recommend you leave a few minutes at the end to answer questions.
  • Timing matters. Presenters will be expected to start and end on time out of respect for their audience and the speakers before and after them.
  • Slide quality matters. Some text is welcome but no one wants to look at a slide full of text—so be sure to include images and make it visually-rich. Please also make sure to use the best quality images you can find and source your images and text!
  • Be respectful of copyrights. If you have things that you don’t want to appear online, or are using materials copyrighted to others, do not include them in your slides or consider modifying your presentation to avoid them. Educational copyright fair-use can cover a wide array of primary source materials (always cite your sources!) but using publications, images, film or video, and/or music protected by copyright may prevent us from including your presentation in the on-demand replay materials. All speakers will be responsible and liable for the content of their presentation(s).
  • Some History Camp sessions may be recorded and streamed to social media and placed in our archive. Your session will be recorded and made available online—for others to discover and enjoy. If you are participating, you agree to be in photos and video.
  • Promotional uses. History Camp® and The Pursuit of History® retains the right to use presentations, either whole or in parts, in related promotional materials in any media and for any term. They will only be used by and for History Camp and The Pursuit of History and will not be resold.
  • We reserve the right to interrupt or terminate sessions if they violate our content guidelines. Some recorded sessions may not be archived. Recorded sessions may be edited.

Drafting Session Titles, Descriptions, and Bios

Like most conferences, History Camp has several concurrent sessions in every time slot. A clear, interesting presentation title and concise description will help attract audiences to your session.

(Note that the organizers retain the right to edit session titles, descriptions, and presenter bios for clarity and brevity. Please follow the guidelines below and check-out previous History Camp schedules, under the History Camp Boston 2022 menu, for inspiration.)

Session Titles:

  • Construct your title for a general history-loving audience. Folks who attend History Camp come from a wide variety of history interests and are looking for something of interest to them—and they’ll have a wide variety of topics to choose from. Your session title and description should help someone who is unfamiliar with your topic understand what you’re going to discuss and why they’ll find it fascinating once they learn about it. Avoid jargon or acronyms that would not be familiar to a general audience.
  • Titles should be clear, direct, and succinct. Attendees will need to scan many titles in order to decide which sessions to attend. The best titles are clearly written, easy to understand, and stand on their own—not reliant on the session description.
  • Be detailed. Including details on timeframe (e.g., “…English Civil War, 1642–1651,…”) or place (e.g., “…Johnston, RI,…”) is encouraged.

Session Descriptions:

  • Session descriptions should be clear and succinct. Most people will choose a session because the story sounds fascinating or they’ll learn something useful—use tightly-constructed prose that delivers a punch. If your topic requires background or context, include it.
  • Avoid academic prose. Instead, use “plain English” that will appeal to expert and novice, alike. (Think about how you might describe your session to relatives gathered at Thanksgiving.)
  • Do not adapt a title and description from an academic conference. It will be much more effective, and you’ll attract more people to your session, if you draft something that will appeal to wider audiences who may not “speak” academic.
  • The right length is the shortest length possible. Most session descriptions are three or or four sentences. An overly-long description may be a sign that your presentation is too long or too complex for the time allotted.
  • Avoid hyperbole and cliches, such as “Few have heard of…” or “Teachers are always looking for new ways to make history interesting…” Your History Camp audience already loves history, engage them.

Presenter Bio(s):

  • Bio length should be a maximum of 125 words. History Camp reserves the right to edit submitted bios. URLs for websites, blogs, email, or any other contact information will not be counted in the word limit.
  • Presenter bios should be just the facts. List your experience, interests, accomplishments, passions—or whatever you think history-minded people would like to know about you!
  • Include your post-nominals (e.g., PhD, MA, MFA) as you would like them presented across materials. History Camp will refer to the bio you submit when we list your presentation in other media, so make sure the way you want your post-nominals are reflected in your bio.
  • Authors are encouraged to list up to three publications in their bios. Direct readers to your website, blog, publisher, or LinkedIn page for your full publication catalog. (You can also sell your books through the The Pursuit of History online bookshop—contact us for more information!)
  • Include at least one way for people to contact you, such as your website or blog, your social media accounts, or an e-mail address. (Remember that this information will be on a public website.)
  • If your session is accepted, you will be asked to provide a headshot for us to use on the website and in promotional materials. Speaker headshots will be cropped to a square or circle. If your headshot requires a photographer credit, please include that, too. (We do not compensate photographers, so please make sure you can use the image.)

Presenting at History Camp FAQs

Q: I’ve studied this one topic extensively and I’d like to present, but I’m not an author or professor nor do I have a degree in history. Can I apply?

A: History Camp is for everyone who is interested in history and wants to share their knowledge. Some of the most well-received sessions come from people who pursued a particular history topic with a passion and have a deep understanding of their subject, but it’s not been their livelihood. By day, some of our presenters are attorneys, mechanics, systems administrators, farmers, nurses, retired insurance executives, stay-at-home moms, or … you!

Q: There’s a panel I see listed that I’d like to be on. What do I need to do?

A: Contact the person who is organizing the panel as the decision will be made by the organizer of the session. If the panel is full or you’re told that your topic isn’t a good fit for the existing panel, consider your own session or creating another panel dedicated to your topic.

Q: What’s a roundtable discussion?

A: A roundtable discussion is a format for a session in which everyone who wishes to contributes to the discussion. For example, a recent roundtable session was: “Ideas for Programming, Outreach, and Operations of Smaller History Organizations: What worked, what didn’t, and what we learned from it.” During the session, the leader went around the room and each attendee shared one idea and explained what they learned.

Q: I’ve got a book out that I’d like to sell. Can I?

A: Inform, don’t sell or grand-stand. You cannot use your session for commercial gain, such as promoting a book, or political one, such as talking about current politics or grand-standing for a political position. You can prepare a session about the topic of your book and be generous with the information about the time, place, people, and/or event—building tangential interest is a great way to attract people to your book. And while you cannot promote your book in your talk, you can include the book title and link to your website in your bio. This rule helps us avoid “infomercial” presentations—which no one likes.

Author tables are available where you can sell and sign your books throughout the day, before and after your session. You can also sell your books through the The Pursuit of History online bookshop—contact us for more information!

Q: How many applications can I submit?

A: You may submit more than one application, but because we have a limited number rooms for sessions, each selected speaker will receive only one solo session. We suggest you choose the presentation you are most passionate about to submit for consideration.

Speakers may partner with others to offer panel discussions on a topic, which does NOT count against an application for a solo presentation slot. If you wish to present on a second topic, we recommend a panel discussion or joint presentation so that we can accommodate as many presenters as possible.

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Apply to Present at History Camp!


Presenter Information

Include post-nominals (e.g., PhD, EdD, MA, MLIS, etc.).

Additional Presenters—If more than three presenters are planning on participating in the session, please contact us.

Include post-nominals (e.g., PhD, EdD, MA, MLIS, etc.).
Include post-nominals (e.g., PhD, EdD, MA, MLIS, etc.).

Proposed Session

What your session will cover.
Recommended 125 words, not including contact information (e.g., URLs, LinkedIn, Email). Include post-nominals (e.g., PhD, EdD, MA, MLIS, etc.). Maximum of three publication titles. If accepted, you will have a chance to update or edit your bio and supply a recent headshot.
Recommended 125 words, not including contact information (e.g., URLs, LinkedIn, Email). Include post-nominals (e.g., PhD, EdD, MA, MLIS, etc.). Maximum of three publication titles. If accepted, you will have a chance to update or edit your bio and supply a recent headshot.
Recommended 125 words, not including contact information (e.g., URLs, LinkedIn, Email). Include post-nominals (e.g., PhD, EdD, MA, MLIS, etc.). Maximum of three publication titles. If accepted, you will have a chance to update or edit your bio and supply a recent headshot.
Select all that apply.

Agreement to General Terms for Presenters