Conceptual photos to show the Freedom of White Origami Dove or Pigeon Flew from the Water into the Sky.

Call for papers

We’re holding our inaugural virtual conference from 13-15 January 2025. The conference will be ‘virtually hosted’ by the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Sheffield. This conference will be in addition to the main #BISA2025, 50th anniversary, in-person conference taking place in June 2025.

To enable a broader international participation in BISA conferences, and to bring together scholars from the UK and across the globe, the conference aims to be inclusive of researchers at all career stages who, for various reasons including cost and visa rules, might find it more difficult to participate in our in-person events.

Conference theme: Global political imaginations: towards a more inclusive world

Political imagination is a key driver of change, politically, socially, and economically. It provides us with a means of transcending current political realities, and can be used to visualise different futures through challenging the past, destabilising conventional ways of thinking, and escaping narrow visions of political possibilities. Given the plethora of complex problems we face, including rising levels of violence, vulnerability and risk, the positive and negative effects of technological advancement, and the pressing realities of climate change, there is a need for global political imaginations, especially those working towards making the world more inclusive. This conference invites submissions that explore alternative visions of the global, ways to bring about positive change, that question how the past shapes our ability to imagine a better future, and how our own teaching and research constructs and shapes potential futures and worlds of international relations.

01 What we’re looking for

Professor Simon Rushton gives some top tips for the best chance of proposal acceptance at #VirtualBISA2025.

02 How it works

Conference platform

The conference platform will be Zoom. Zoom can be accessed in almost all countries, with just a few exceptions. You can use Zoom free of charge either in browser without an account, or download to your computer, laptop or phone. Each session will take place in a different Zoom room, and there will be simultaneous sessions. We will send the Zoom links for each day at the beginning of that day so that you can join sessions in which you are a participant, and any other sessions you’d like to attend.

A help desk Zoom room, with a static link maintained throughout the conference, will be available to assist you with any problems joining sessions. You will also be able to get in touch by email during the conference:

Further information will be provided to registered attendees prior to the conference.

Time zones 

Inevitably with a global virtual conference, there may be sessions running outside of standard working hours in your time zone. However, during the submission process you will be asked to choose your time zone. When the conference programme is drafted, we will take account of your time zone to ensure that participants are not due to present during unsociable hours in their location.

Instructions for individual paper submissions

In line with the conference aims, and in order to maximise the diversity of panels, we will not be accepting pre-formed panel submissions from individuals for this conference, but instead will be constructing thematic panels from the abstracts submitted to the various conference tracks (which are detailed below) to ensure each panel has a global representation.

All submissions must be in English, and will require a title, at least one speaker, and an abstract, which we suggest is no more than 200 words. You will also be asked for the time zone in which you will be based during the conference. Submissions can be made via the conference management system.

Instructions for BISA working group panel/roundtable submissions

BISA working group convenors are able to submit pre-formed panels and roundtables on behalf of their working group. Panel submissions should ideally include four papers, a discussant and a chair, however you may also submit panels with no discussant and either four or five papers with a chair. Roundtable submissions should include a minimum of four participants and a chair, up to a maximum of six participants and a chair.

It is essential that all panel and roundtable submissions give due consideration to the diversity of participants including (but not limited to) gender, ethnicity, career stage, methodological approach, institution, and geographical location. Failure to do so may be grounds for rejection of a panel.

All submissions must be in English, and will require a title, description and details of all speakers as well as papers (for panels).

Instructions for suggesting alternative panel formats

We are open to suggestions for alternative panel formats, including more creative formats, providing these are feasible within the context of a virtual conference. If you would like to propose an alternative panel format, please contact us with a description of your idea at:

Conference tracks

We accept scholarly research papers and policy analysis on any topic related to International Studies in its broadest definition. At the point of submission, we will ask you to choose one of the conference tracks (all of which should be read as broadly defined):

  • Towards a more secure world: conflict, insecurity and vulnerability
  • Towards a more sustainable world: Environmental degradation, development and responsibility
  • Towards a more a just world: inequality and exclusion 
  • Towards a more cooperative world: North, South, and beyond
  • Towards a more connected word: borders, mobility and technology
  • Theorizing the past, present and future of world politics
  • Reflexivity and innovative practice in teaching and pedagogy

03 The review process

Once the online submission process is closed, submissions within each track (as well as proposals for alternative formats) will be peer reviewed by the conference programme committee.

Three key points to note are:

  • Selection is first and foremost based on academic quality
  • There is no limit as to the number of times an individual can appear, but we would like to give as many people as possible an opportunity to participate, and will bear this in mind when making selections
  • Where there are two papers of equal academic quality and one is not a BISA member, the BISA member will be given preference.

04 Timeline

  • Monday 13 May 2024: Submissions open
  • Friday 12 July 2024: Deadline for all submissions
  • Mid-August 2024: Provisional programme published and notification emails sent out
  • Sunday 13 October 2024: Presenter/Speaker, Chair, and Discussant registration closes
  • Sunday 13 October 2024: Last day for changes to the programme (please check name/affiliation are correct)
  • Early December 2024: Final programme published
  • 1 January 2024: Registration for non-presenting delegates closes
  • 13 January 2025: Conference begins

05 Costs

As always, BISA members will receive a big discount on the fees paid by non-members. For our virtual conference, we have heavily subsidised the cost of tickets for Global South scholars. This applies for both members and non-members, as we understand that the cost of a membership can be prohibitive. We hope this will encourage broader international participation. Take a look at this year's prices.

06 Our conference management system

We currently use a conference and event management system called Indico. When you click to submit your proposal you will be taken to the conference management system where you will be prompted to create an account. Once you are logged in you can submit abstracts (single paper), panels or roundtables. If you want to submit a proposal for an alternative format this should be done via the email address below.

We will be on hand to help with any system queries. Please contact should you experience any difficulties.

07 Conference Programme Committee

This year’s virtual conference programme committee are based in the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Sheffield. The team comprises:

  • Dr Amya Agarwal
  • Dr David Duriesmith
  • Dr Patricia Nabuco Martuscelli
  • Professor Simon Rushton
  • Dr Liam Stanley
  • Dr Helen Turton

08 What else is taking place around the virtual conference?

Review of International Political Economy (RIPE) is honored to be partnering with BISA for its virtual workshops. RIPE will hold an additional virtual ECR workshop in January 2025 to run alongside the BISA virtual conference. We will send out the call for participants later in the year, but participants will need to have a paper accepted to the BISA virtual conference to take part. Those accepted to the workshop will have their BISA virtual conference fees paid and will also receive a year’s BISA membership.