Call for the Doctoral Symposium

One of the features of the 17th ESSE Conference is the Doctoral Symposium, which continues an ESSE tradition dating from 2012. It is designed to provide a platform for young scholars to present and receive feedback on their work. The Symposium will be fully integrated into the conference.

The Symposium is open to PhD students who are writing their theses in English Studies and are at least in the second year of work on their doctorate at the time of the submission of their application. To be eligible, either their supervisor or they themselves must be known to the Treasurer of ESSE as a member of an ESSE-affiliated national association (or, in relevant countries, of a department that belongs to an ESSE-affiliated national association) at the moment of application.

Students who participated in previous years are welcome to apply again provided their abstract shows some significant progress since their last participation, but in the selection process preference may be given to students taking part for the first time.

Eligible students may apply to give a brief presentation of their work-in-progress at one of three workshops in the fields of English Language, Literatures in English, and Cultural and Area Studies respectively. Each presentation will last no longer than 10 minutes, followed by 15 minutes’ discussion.  These presentations should deal with the issues addressed or hypotheses tested in their doctoral research, the results so far obtained, and, above all, the methodology applied, with the purpose of getting feedback from peers and established scholars in the field. There will also be extensive opportunities for informal contact with other participants and with the academics present at the conference.

Each strand of the Symposium will be coordinated by two experts (to be known as Convenors). They will make a selection from the applications received, chair the discussions, and respond to the presentations. Participants are expected to be available throughout the Symposium, to attend all the presentations in their own strand and to take part in the discussions.


Eligible students can submit an application to only one strand of the Doctoral Symposium and should specify in the application which strand they wish to be placed in. The application should take the form of a summary of the project of no more than 500 words, indicating:

  • The main topic and issues, including the thesis proposed/hypothesis defended;
  • The methodology (theoretical tools and standpoints);
  • Where relevant, the corpus under consideration;
  • The results obtained so far.

Applications must include a letter from their PhD supervisor giving the (provisional) title of the dissertation and confirming that the student is working under their supervision and is at least in the second year of work on their doctorate. The Treasurer of ESSE will check the eligibility of all applicants and their supervisors.

Applications (including the letter from the applicant’s supervisor) should be sent, no later than 31 January 2024, to the Coordinator of the ESSE Doctoral Symposium, Professor J. Lachlan Mackenzie (CELGA-ILTEC, Portugal) at lachlan_mackenzie[at], to whom general enquiries can also be addressed.

The eligibility check and the selection of submissions by the Convenors will be completed and announced by 15 February 2024.

Students selected to participate in the Symposium will receive a 50% reduction on the conference fees and have the possibility of applying for a fee waiver.

Students who plan to give a paper in one of the ESSE Conference’s regular seminars can still apply for participation in the Doctoral Symposium (provided they fulfil the conditions in the first paragraph), but it may not be possible to avoid timetable clashes in all cases.


Those applicants who have been selected for participation can apply between 15 February and 15 March 2024 for financial support, to a maximum of €500 per applicant. Eligible expenses include travel, accommodation and subsistence according to the official ESSE guidelines.

Applicants for financial support must themselves be members of their national associations affiliated to ESSE, except for those whose associations do not consider PhD students eligible as members; in this case, their supervisors or the department to which they are affiliated must be members of an association affiliated to ESSE.

Applications for financial support will be considered during March and April by a Committee consisting of the Coordinator of the ESSE Doctoral Symposium and any Convenors from the ESSE Board; the Committee’s definitive decision will be communicated to all applicants by 15 April 2024.

Applications for financial support should be sent, no later than 15 March 2024, to the Coordinator of the ESSE Doctoral Symposium, Professor J. Lachlan Mackenzie (CELGA-ILTEC, Portugal) at lachlan_mackenzie[at]

Each application for financial support should include three documents (in attachment to the e-mail of application):

  • The applicant’s CV;
  • A letter detailing the applicant’s eligibility clearly and fully explaining the need for financial support, including a provisional budget for travel costs and/or accommodation expenses;
  • A signed statement from the applicant’s supervisor, including a declaration that it is impossible for the applicant to draw on private means or any other sources of funding, including funding earmarked for the ongoing doctoral project, for the purpose of participating in the ESSE Doctoral Symposium.

Please note that ESSE’s decisions about selection for participation and about financial support are final and not subject to appeal.