The BACLS Biennial Conference

BACLS hosts the biennial conference, What Happens Now. The conference reflects our general principles as an association.

  • Events reflect the diversity of our field and foster inclusive, collegiate practices
  • The work of BACLS is not restricted to anglophone literary studies; ‘British’ refers to the location of scholars who founded the organisation, rather than the range of the association, or our broader scholarly networks
  • BACLS subscribes to a ‘rolling sense’ of the contemporary. The association is dedicated to a fluid and hybrid understanding of the contemporary ‘moment’ as an ever-evolving experience of the contemporary
  • BACLS should be open to scholars working on the contemporary in literature and cognate disciplines, including comparative and world literatures, postcolonial studies, translation studies, linguistics, performance studies, media theory, comics studies, video games studies, adaptation studies, the study of popular music, cultural studies, critical theory, and digital humanities
  • BACLS is committed to supporting postgraduate research and professional development in our field
  • BACLS is especially concerned to encourage and enhance representation and participation from those who are under-represented and marginalised in academia, and are proactively working to reduce physical, social, and economic barriers to participation and to develop an environment rooted in a belief of equal respect for all.

What Happens Now will be hosted by a different institution every other year, but we are committed to keeping a core BACLS programme of contemporary literary studies and early career academic advocacy work in place. To that end each What Happens Now will feature:

  • A session devoted to pedagogy and teacher training in the field
  • A session devoted to PGR and ECR professional development in the field
  • A reception for the announcement of book and essay prizes
  • A BACLS Annual General Meeting
  • The Lincoln Lecture (details below)

The Lincoln Lecture

The ‘What Happens Now’ conferences originated at the University of Lincoln, where four were held biennially from 2010-2016. The conferences helped to provide a forum for and give shape to an emerging community of contemporary literary studies scholars. In recognition of Lincoln’s role, the BACLS What Happens Now conference series includes the ‘Lincoln Lecture’ as part of its proceedings. The Lincoln Lecture should be a plenary slot (keynote speaker, roundtable, Q&A or other format) on any topic related to Contemporary Literary Studies.

Support for the BACLS-WHN conference

The BACLS treasury will provide a grant of £1000 to the host institution. This money is part of the organisation’s annual budget and thus is issued only after the next year’s budget is approved. Any unused funds should be returned to us as a ‘seed corn’ gift for the next BACLS-WHN.

For further information please email