Conversations across time, place, and culture

In 2019, the University of British Columbia will welcome the Canadian Historical Association Annual Meeting in Vancouver. The Programme Committee has selected the theme “Conversations across time, place, and culture” to encourage scholars whose work engages all manner of topics, themes, periods, locations, and methodologies to think critically about the importance of “conversations” in the creation and dissemination of historical knowledge. Historians participate in conversations with evidence, the archive, other scholars, and the public. These conversations produce our understanding of the past and broaden our understanding of the nature of historical knowledge and the power dynamics that shape it. They can transcend and unsettle boundaries such as the limits that confine geographical, political, social, cultural, sexual, or other forms of discourse. And these conversations contribute to public debates, reaching audiences that go beyond the confines of academia and participating in the development of public history. At the same time, these conversations can also be bounded by the limits of communication, understanding, interest, or translation. The Programme Committee therefore invites scholars to see this Annual Meeting as an opportunity to reflect on all of these sorts of conversations as moments when historical knowledge is produced not simply by the lone historian, but in dialogue with sources, scholars, and audiences. This sort of reflection, may in turn, broaden our subject matter, our modes of communication, and our audiences.

The Programme Committee invites proposals in English and French from scholars working in any discipline, in any field, and in any era that address the conference theme from Canadian or non-Canadian perspectives, with a special interest in transnational and comparative proposals. It also welcomes proposals that do not specifically address the theme.

Why is the Poster Session important?

Posters give graduate students and other scholars a way to display and discuss their project-based work in a format that is interactive and collegial. Posters are also a perfect venue to show off the material and visual work of historians and public historians. In the sciences, posters are often a way to present preliminary data on a research topic and gather advice.

These guidelines are an attempt to standardize the posters, levelling the playing field for all presenters, and hopefully, reducing the cost of posters to students (especially the cost of shipping.) However, we are keenly aware of the need for creative license in creating the posters and do not want to quash anyone’s creativity. We ask that presenters stick to the size and material guidelines for the poster. Upon request in your proposal, one-half of a six foot table will be provided where groups can display websites, video, audio, objects, baked goods, and other supporting materials. *Please note that internet access may not be available for the poster session. If you wish to demonstrate any websites or videos drop them onto your hard drive.

What are the requirements for a poster?

  • Posters should be no larger than 36” x 48”.
  • Use laminated paper or poster paper. Printed fabric posters are a little more expensive but much easier to transport. If you will need space to hang a poster, please be sure to request foam core and an easel in your proposal. (This is subject to recommendations of Local Arrangements Committee on what supporting equipment is available.)

Formatting and Content Advice

A good poster should introduce your topic, research questions or goals, methods, what was accomplished and what you learned. Be sure to include the following:

  • Give the poster a title
  • Use images to illustrate your points
  • Caption photos with a title, photographer, and date
  • Keep text under 800 words and use an accessible font and size. Edit carefully. The test of a good poster is if someone can read it in five minutes and understand your main points
  • Consider making legal-sized copies of your poster as handouts. Observers often want something to take away. Provide your contact information so folks can reach you later with questions or suggestions


Colin Purrington

American Historical Association

Le Réseau de l’Université du Québec (en français)

Proposal Submission:

Proposals should be submitted electronically in one document to

Your proposal should include:

  • An abstract of no more than 200 words
  • A one-page c.v. that includes contact information and institutional affiliation
  • Your proposal may include a simple visual mock-up of the display, saved as a pdf, though this is not required.

Deadline: October 15, 2018.

Please note that the Programme Committee will accept only one poster proposal per individual; and that presenters must be members of the Canadian Historical Association and must be able to attend the conference to present their poster in person.