We hold our conference every spring, normally in a UK university. About 200 people attend, both members and non-members, to discuss an important theme. These include well-known academic theologians, church ministers from several denominations, research students and many others with postgraduate-level interest in theology. Every effort is made to keep costs down in order to make the conference as accessible as possible. The majority of participants are from the UK, but we also welcome sizeable contingents from the Netherlands and the United States, and a few from other countries including Germany, Ireland, Norway, Sweden and Belgium. Just as important as the formal plenary, short paper and seminar sessions are the informal discussions over meals, at the receptions, during the free afternoon and in evening social time.
Registration is on Monday afternoon from 4 p.m. and the conference ends after breakfast on Thursday morning. Wednesday afternoon is free. A range of booking options is available. Each conference is organized around a central theme explored in detail in about five plenary sessions with invited speakers, as well as in short paper sessions. Alongside these thematic papers there are several seminar groups which concentrate on their own topics. There are prayers on the Tuesday and Wednesday mornings and at least one reception.
We invite several keynote speakers to each conference, and ask each of them to provide a paper to be made available on the website to all participants before the conference begins, and then to speak briefly about that paper at the start of their plenary session. Because most participants will have read the paper, most of the session is devoted to general discussion of the paper and issues arising from it. This provides the chance for extended engagement with the keynote speakers and one another, and gives less experienced participants the opportunity to prepare their contribution beforehand.
There is an opportunity at the conference for other participants to offer short papers on the conference theme in self-select sessions. Several of these run in parallel, and the group size is typically between fifteen and thirty. By offering a short paper, you will improve your chances of gaining a bursary. Click here to submit a proposal
Alongside the plenary and short papers on the conference theme, seminars are convened by members of the Society to discuss a particular issue, theme or doctrinal locus over a period of several years. There is no formal membership of these seminar groups, which are open to all participants at the conference, but each attracts a core who attend every year and provide long-term continuity. By offering a seminar paper, you will improve your chances of gaining a bursary. Click here to submit a proposal
Another presentation method at the conference is a poster on projects relating to the conference theme or other research. These may be viewed during the conference and one of the refreshment breaks is a poster session during which presenters are available to discuss their research. Click here to submit a proposal
Although many participants come from universities which fund their attendance, or have access to other sources of funding, many do not. Each year we make several thousand pounds available to help members and non-members attend. Click here to submit an application
Each year, a number of academic publishers and distributors have stalls at the conference for book purchases and browsing, with editors on hand to discuss book proposals. These have recently included Alban Books, Ashgate, Baker, Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, Routledge/Taylor & Francis, SAGE, SCM Canterbury Press, T&T Clark/Continuum, Wiley-Blackwell and Wipf & Stock.
The Society's AGM takes place during the conference. This is an opportunity for members and non-members to hear about the Society's work, finances and future plans. The Society's officers are present to answer any questions put to them. By tradition, part of the meeting's business includes choosing the conference theme for two years' time. Proposals are presented briefly at the meeting by their proposers and must be handed to the Secretary by 11 a.m. on the day of the meeting. A diverse range of themes is hoped for and any member of the Society may submit one.
Nominations to the Committee should be submitted to the Secretary, preferably by the first day of the conference but ideally in advance of the conference. Two ordinary members are appointed each year and a Vice-President, who will later become the President, is appointed in alternate years. For further information, please see the relevant paragraphs of the Constitution. The Committee always hopes for a diverse range of nominations.
Paticipants are strongly encouraged to minimize their carbon footprint when travelling to and from the conference. Following the conference, a donation will normally be made to the carbon offset charity PURE the Clean Planet Trust. Certification of our most recent donation is here. The Society's bankers, The Co-operative Bank, address ecological impact in their Ethical Policy.
The calls for short paper proposals, seminar paper proposals and bursaries are made at the beginning of December and the submission deadline is the end of January. Bookings open during the first week of January and close at the beginning of April, with an early booking rate (£15 reduction) available initially. Bookings can sometimes be made after the booking deadline, strictly subject to availability, in which case a £10 late booking fee is payable. Precise deadlines are given each year on the website and by e-mail.
We are committed to making the conference as accessible as practicably possible to participants with special mobility, sight, hearing or similar needs. Please notify us of any such needs at the time of booking.