Policy for Conferences and Event Conduct

We aim to provide a conference environment that is welcoming, supportive and safe, where diversity and inclusion are valued, and where scholars of all career-stages and backgrounds are entitled to be treated with courtesy and respect whilst engaging in academic debate and networking. In this spirit, please take note of the following code of conduct:


  1. All participants, regardless of actual or perceived gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, ability, socioeconomic status, age, or religion, are to be treated with respect, and are entitled both to a hearing for their views, and to feel secure in the conference environment.
  2. All participants are expected to speak and behave during the scheduled events of the conference programme in a way which avoids causing others to feel disrespected, harassed, or threatened, for any reason.
  3. All participants should respect panel chairs, most notably:
    1. over the timing of presentations, which should be exercised to ensure equity between presenters, and adequate time for discussion within the session;
    2. over management of discussion to ensure that, with limited time available, an equitable range of individuals are given the opportunity to ask questions; if time is particularly short, then priority for further interventions should be given, as far as practicable, to early-career scholars.
    3. if a question is deemed to be inappropriate or unprofessional, it is expected that the chair intervene or take another question. Chairs are encouraged to be conscious of their biases and avoid preferentially selecting some people and/or paying attention to only some parts of the room.
  4. Where possible, we encourage chairs to engage with the panelists before the panel in order to double check their names (including the correct pronunciation), institution, and pronouns. 
  5. Questions and comments should be relevant to the subject-matter of presentations, and should remain respectful and constructive in tone. Participants should be held to critiquing ideas (and even here with respect and civility) and not people.
  6. Conference proceedings are normally open to live-tweeting and any other indirect social-media dissemination, unless a specific presenter prefers that their material is kept within the room; inappropriate photography or recording should be avoided and speakers should be asked for permission before any sharing their photos and contents of their talk/slides on social media; panel chairs should make this clear where necessary, and all participants should respect any such restrictions. 
  7. Any participant experiencing or witnessing conduct in contravention of the points above is encouraged to point it out, either directly, or confidentially by contacting the conference organising team in person or via email, in the knowledge that their concerns will be taken seriously. Any derogatory or inappropriate comments or behaviour are unacceptable and any serious or persistent breaches of the guidelines set out in the Conduct Policy may result in the blocking of attendance at future SIS events (both in person and virtual) and suspension of SIS membership.

For virtual events and conferences:

Organisers of online events should ensure that the highest standards of personal and professional conduct are maintained. This underpins our commitment to develop a community dedicated to open scholarly exchange and the dissemination of knowledge in Italian Studies and beyond.

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

By hosting an online conference in association with the SIS, you 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 SIS virtual events and suspension of SIS 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 of 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.

Engage and raise questions

Organisers should make sure that cameras and microphones are enabled/switched off as appropriate. Questions and comments are usually welcome during the traditional Q&A time. We want our conferences 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 suggest using the ‘raise your hand’ function in Zoom (or similar functions on other virtual platforms) 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, where available you can also ask questions or make a comment in the chat area when invited to do so by the host.

Policy for Conferences and Event Planning

Organisers of conferences and events sponsored by the SIS should agree to the SIS Conduct Policy and should further respect the following guidelines:

1. Speaker policy: Event organisers should strive for a diverse range of participants, particularly in relation to gender and race. They should aim for a balance of genders among speakers (including keynotes), and also encourage broad representation of career stages and research communities amongst presenters (for example from ECRs to senior colleagues, and colleagues beyond the traditional academy). Diversity should be actively promoted through strategies including:

  • Careful framing of the CfP, and broad dissemination of this across multiple networks;
  • Inviting ECRs to give keynote addresses;
  • Improving accessibility (see below);

Single-gender and all-white panels will be avoided wherever possible.

Panel chairs and speakers will be briefed on how to ensure inclusive and balanced discussion (see Conduct Policy (insert link).

Organisers will make the SIS Conduct Policy readily available, and will themselves provide clear frameworks for dealing with inappropriate conduct, including, but not limited to harassment, also in line with the policies and frameworks in place at the host institution.

2. Accessibility: an inclusive approach should be taken, which enables a broad range of speakers and delegates to attend any conference or event sponsored by the SIS, whatever their needs. Proactive consideration should be given to a wide range of factors including:

  • The accessibility of location/rooms/facilities in relation to both visible and invisible disabilities;
  • Free registration for carers (the SIS will cover certain caring costs on a case-by-case basis);
  • Careful scheduling of event dates to make it feasible for more speakers and delegates to attend;
  • Provision of childcare, or of information about local services; 
  • The inclusion of networking and social events (where applicable) not centred on alcohol;
  • Differentiated fee rates for PGRS or those not in full-time employment;
  • Attendance bursaries for those without access to sufficient funding (the SIS can be approached for assistance with bursaries on a case-by-case basis); 
  • h) Where possible, options for remote participation to be made available.

Organisers should, together with the host institution, actively consider potential accessibility needs at the planning stage, and also encourage speakers and delegates to communicate any specific needs they might have well in advance of the event (such as a quiet room, space for breastfeeding) and endeavour to accommodate these as far as possible.

3. Making policy visible and responsive: Event organisers should ensure that speakers and delegates are aware of this policy, and should invite them to communicate any concerns they might have about their events. Organisers, speakers and delegates should also be invited to give feedback on this policy, which will be updated regularly as appropriate.

Conference EDI Fund

The Society has established a ring-fenced EDI Conference Fund in addition to the Conference Subvention Fund to specifically support the aims and objectives of EDI guidelines concerning the diversity of speakers and conference delegates.

Conference organisers can apply for a maximum of £500 per event to fund the travel or related expenses for speakers or conference delegates from the Global South (for a list of low to upper middle income countries please consult https://www.oecd.org/dac/financing-sustainable-development/development-finance-standards/DAC-List-ODA-Recipients-for-reporting-2021-flows.pdf) or otherwise unwaged participants whose participation addresses and promotes historically neglected areas in the discipline of Italian Studies (for example in relation to race and sexuality).

Applications can be made through the existing SIS conference subvention form. Applicants Can specify if they would like to apply for any additional funding from the EDI Conference Fund. They will be asked to explain how the requested amount specifically supports the aims and objectives of SIS EDI Conference Guidelines concerning the diversity of speakers and conference delegates (max 200 words).

Applications to the EDI Conference Fund will be assessed by the members of the SIS Executive Committee on a case-by-case basis.

The EDI Conference Fund may be used (but is not limited) to cover the following expenses:

  • To support the costs of travel for speakers or conference delegates from the Global South
  • In the event of a virtual conference, to support costs associated with enabling conference delegates from the Global South to attend the conference (e.g. travel costs to a site with stable internet connection; related childcare costs; costs to access resources required for participating in the conference)
  • To support the costs of unwaged or non-academic, self-funded participants who would otherwise be unable to attend the conference.

EDI Excellence Award

The Society has established two annual SIS EDI Excellence Awards, with the first awards to be offered at the AGM in January 2022. Work celebrated through the inaugural awards will also be showcased as part of the SIS Biennial Conference at Warwick (April 2022).

The awards are designed to celebrate actions made towards increasing access and inclusivity within the discipline of Italian Studies.

There will be two awards made each year: one in the category of “Students” (undergraduates and taught postgraduates) and one in the category of “Staff and Researchers” (PhD students, early career academics, and faculty members). 

Applications can be made through a process of nomination or self-nomination. In both cases, they should be accompanied by a brief supporting statement by the applicant’s Head of Department, EDI Lead or equivalent staff member who can attest to the value and significance of the actions described. The applicant should provide a statement (of up to 500 words) detailing the action/s undertaken, the reach and significance for Italian Studies, and the beneficiaries of the actions. The applicant should normally be a member of the Society in good standing.

The Excellence Awards will both carry a small financial prize (£100 book tokens).

Example areas of action may include but are not limited to:

  • Curriculum work and development
  • Actions to make research inclusive (e.g. enhancing access to publications / events)
  • Pedagogical methods
  • Actions to make the research environment more inclusive
  • Outreach actions with the aim of widening access

Applications will be invited (via e-mail to a designated account) during the late Autumn of each year, and will be judged against a set of published criteria by the members of the EDI working group. Winners will be announced at the January AGM.