Code of conduct and online participation

We hold our conferences and events to enable our members to advance the field of International Studies through the free exchange of scholarly opinions and evidence-based research. To provide all participants – including members, invited speakers, exhibitors, staff, and volunteers – the opportunity to benefit from the event, we are committed to facilitating a harassment-free environment for everyone.

As a scholarly association, we are strongly committed to diversity, equity, and the free expression of ideas as expressed in our Equality and diversity policy  and Code of Conduct. We firmly believe in the value of freely exploring ideas and concepts through scholarly discourse – with a fundamental respect for the rights, dignity, and value of all persons regardless of actual or perceived gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, ability, socioeconomic status, age, or religion. We therefore remind all conference delegates that professional academic ethics and norms apply as standards of behaviour and interaction at our events.

We aim to provide a conference environment in which diverse participants may learn, network, and enjoy the company of colleagues in an environment of mutual respect. We recognise the shared responsibility to create and maintain this environment for the benefit of all. Therefore, some forms of behaviour are unacceptable. 

Unacceptable behaviours include:

  • persistent and unwelcome solicitation of emotional or physical intimacy
  • persistent and unwelcome solicitation of emotional or physical intimacy accompanied by real or implied threat of professional harm
  • aggressive, intimidating, harassing, abusive, derogatory or demeaning speech or actions
  • prejudicial actions or comments related to actual or perceived gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, ability, socioeconomic status, age, or religion that coerce others, foment broad hostility, or otherwise undermine professional equity, or the principles of free academic exchange
  •  deliberate intimidation, stalking, or following
  •  harassing photography or recording
  •  sustained disruption of talks or other events
  •  physical assault (including unwelcome touch and/or groping)
  •  real or implied threat of physical harm and/or professional reputational damage.

All participants are expected to observe these rules and behaviours in all conference venues, whether real or virtual, and conference social events. This may include proactively helping to mitigate or avoid unacceptable behaviours if there is the potential for such harm to take place. Participants asked to stop a hostile or harassing behaviour are expected to comply immediately.

Our trustees will be available for consultation with conference participants who believe that they have experienced harassment, or have concerns about violations of this code or any other policies mentioned herein whilst at the conference.

If any conference attendee wishes to pursue a complaint, our Complaints procedure will be followed.

If we believe that there is a risk of immediate physical harm or danger, we will act to ensure the safety of conference participants regardless of whether a complaint is pursued.

Please note that nothing in this policy shall be construed as restricting the ability of BISA members and conference participants to constructively critique one another’s work, unless this intersects with the unacceptable behaviours noted above.

By registering for our 2025 virtual conference, you must agree to abide by these guidelines. Please note that any serious or persistent breaches of these guidelines may result in the blocking of attendance at future BISA virtual events and suspension of your BISA membership.

These guidelines should be read alongside our:

‘Netiquette’ guidelines

In addition to our standard conference Code of Conduct, participants in the BISA virtual conference will also be required to read and adhere to our online netiquette guidelines. All registrants will need to confirm they understand and agree to abide by the guidelines during the registration process.

Our online netiquette guidelines endeavour to ensure that the highest standards of personal and professional conduct are maintained. These should be seen as an accompaniment to our Code of Conduct which underpins our commitment to develop a community dedicated to open scholarly exchange and the dissemination of knowledge in International Studies.

The practices of courtesy and respect that apply to our face-to-face events extend to all our online spaces and interactions.

Please note that any serious or persistent breaches of these guidelines may result in the blocking of attendance at future BISA virtual events and suspension of your BISA membership.

Online Interactions, both verbal and written

Everyone in our community has the right to be treated with dignity and respect, regardless of their status, rank, grade, belief or any protected characteristic. Whilst we uphold freedom of expression, ensuring the right of people to express views (within the law) that are unpopular or controversial, we do not accept those views being expressed in ways that do not respect others. Any derogatory or inappropriate comments in an online interaction are unacceptable and are subject to further investigation as outlined in our code of conduct and complaints procedure for members. Please be aware that any such comments made in the chat function of Zoom can usually be read by all participants (i.e. by all those in the virtual room).

Engage and raise questions

We welcome your questions and comments during the traditional Q&A time. We want our conference to be inclusive, diverse and friendly, and uphold the spirit of our equality and diversity objectives. Please remember, that our delegates may come from all over the world and bring a range of different experiences and perspectives with them. We want all our participants to feel they can contribute to the debate.

Listen to others

It is important to wait until someone has finished speaking before you interject. We ask you to use the ‘raise your hand’ function in Zoom so that the chair can invite people to speak in an order that allows for a range of voices to be heard. If you would rather, you can also ask questions or make a comment in the chat area.

The video function 

We recommend that speakers have their video switched on whilst speaking. We recognise, however, there are many good reasons why you may want to turn your video off. 

If your video is going to be on, please minimise background distractions. Try to avoid movement and bright lights behind you and consider blurring your background.

Minimise background noise

You should mute your microphone when not speaking to minimise background interference. Please also find a quiet place to sit or use a headset to ensure that everyone can hear your contributions when your microphone is switched on.

By following these guidelines, we hope to ensure #VirtualBISA2025 is a great success. We look forward to your participation.