Presenting at History Camp
History Camp welcomes people from all walks of life who love history. Past presenters have included authors, professors, U.S. National Park Rangers, armchair historians, volunteers, docents, reenactors, performers, architects, archeologists, medical doctors and nurses, exhibit designers, curators, retirees, students, genealogists, executive directors, tour guides, and many, many others.
No in-person History Camps are yet scheduled for 2021. See the end of this page to sign-up for information about History Camp Boston, Philadelphia, Virginia, or Colorado, and other events as they are announced.
I’d love to present. What’s the process?
1) Learn about presenting at History Camp
Read this page as well as the other pages about the upcoming event carefully. Explore some of the archived presentations and session titles and descriptions from past History Camps. Two important aspects to review are 1) the restrictions on selling and current politics, and 2) what will be expected of you as a presenter, including presentation format and timing and what you will need for your live broadcast, as well as agreeing to the general terms—the same for all presenters. (The application form will contain a summary version of this information only, please review the full version, below.)
Click on the link in the “Apply to Present at History Camp America 2021” box below to be taken to the application page where you will be asked for your topic, description, biography, and other information. The deadline for applications is Midnight Eastern, June 1, 2021. (Applicants will receive a confirmation email of their submitted session.) Applicants will be notified of their status no later than June 10, 2021 (one month before the live event).
3) Prepare, Practice, and Polish
Accepted presenters will need to confirm their participation, presentation title, presentation description, and bio(s) for all those involved in the presentation; agree to general terms; send us headshot(s); and must register for the conference by June 15, 2021. Once completed, presenters will confirm presentation schedule time-slot and receive additional guidance about technology, practice sessions, best practices, and timing for their session(s).
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 and it is recommended to view some schedules, session topics and titles, and recordings from past History Camps. (Look under the History Camp Boston Archive menus.)
- 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 things to steer clear of: product pitches and current or recent politics. History Camp is a place to learn and discover, not grand-stand or sell.
- 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). We offer speakers a discount of $10 off their registration fee.
- 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.
- History Camp America will be an all-online event. Those more comfortable presenting to people in-person may want to re-work their presentations for a virtual audience—you will not be able to see the faces and reactions of those in the virtual audience. Some virtual presenters find it helpful to use friends and family members as their “audience” on the day and to help keep time. (Time flies during live, online presentations!)
- Sessions will be 40 minutes, plus 10 minutes Q&A. Please allow about 10 minutes at the end for questions from viewers.
- Presenters must have an adequate, stable internet connection and a computer which can handle video and audio streaming. Technical best practices, such as rebooting networks and using headphones to eliminate feedback loops and echoes will be provided to presenters. Presenters will also have access to the software platform before their presentation to test their connection and will be required to attend a live test before the event.
- Slide quality matters. A major benefit of the virtual environment is that your audience will be able to see your slides as clearly as you do (no more, “can you see that in the back of the room?”). Please make sure to use the best quality images you can find. To maximize the conference viewer window, a widescreen (16:9) presentation size is preferred over standard (4:3). Present your slides in presentation mode.
- 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).
- Timing matters. Presenters will be limited to their allotted session timeframe(s). Running long may result in a presentation being cut during broadcast or the elimination of the Q&A from the session. Presenters are encouraged to script and practice their presentations beforehand and make the necessary adjustments for time. If you are uncomfortable presenting live, contact us to discuss pre-recording your presentation.
- All History Camp sessions will be live-streamed and recorded. Your session will be recorded and made available online—for others to discover and enjoy.
- History Camp will be streamed live to paid attendees and made available for rebroadcast for History Camp registrants and members of The Pursuit of History. These firewall controls will help protect your content. Conference fees support various technology costs, software licenses, and live-stream production support—as well as enable us to produce more educational events.
- 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 sessions may not be archived. Sessions may be edited.
Drafting effective titles, descriptions, and bios
Like most conferences, History Camp has several concurrent sessions in every time slot. Unlike most live conferences though, attendees will have the option to attend the live session and watch sessions they missed later. A clear, interesting presentation title and concise description will better attract audiences to your session.
(Note that we 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 Archive menu, for inspiration.)
- Construct your title so it will be of interest to a wide 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.
- 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 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.
- 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 their publications, but limit to three publication titles in the bio. Direct readers to your website, blog, publisher, or LinkedIn page for your full catalog.
- Include helpful contact information, such as your website or blog, your social media accounts, or an e-mail address. (And 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 learn more. 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. It will be up to him or her. 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: That’s a format for a session in which everyone who wishes to contributes to the discussion. For example, one 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 person shared one idea each and explained what they learned.
Q: I’ve got a book out that I’d like to sell. Can I?
A: 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.
The Pursuit of History also offers an online Bookshop where we will be happy to list your books. (Author tables are available at our in-person events.)
Q: How many applications can I submit?
A: Because we have a limited number sessions at this event, each speaker selected will only be given one spot. We suggest you choose the presentation you are most passionate about to submit for consideration.