2019 Voluntary Sector and Volunteering Research Conference:
A civil society for the future: setting the agenda for voluntary sector and volunteering research in the 2020s
September 10 and 11, 2019
Location: Aston University, Birmingham
|13 May 2019||Deadline for abstract submissions|
|12 July 2019 @ 17.00||Early bird rate ends|
|12 August 2019 @ 17.00||Deadline for full paper submissions|
|10-11 September 2019||The conference|
Call for papers
Increasingly the voluntary sector and volunteering is viewed through the lens of ‘civil society’ and the past 12 months have witnessed considerable public and political debate* about how civil society can be at the heart of the changes needed to ensure that all communities can thrive. This includes how to strengthen social value within communities, how civil society can revitalise and enhance democracy, and the potential for reshaping state-civil society relationships.
These debates present opportunities and challenges for civil society actors and for research undertaken on, with and for them. Each year, the Voluntary Sector and Volunteering Research Conference – organised by the Voluntary Sector Studies Network (VSSN) and the National Council of Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) – provides a unique opportunity for academics, policy makers and practitioners from the UK and further afield to come together to share findings and discuss the implications of research.
This year’s conference will build on ongoing debates in the research community to consider the implications of current political and economic uncertainties, and the seemingly relentless rise of social inequality on civil society, the voluntary sector and volunteering. In support of this our ‘Conference Track’ invites contributions focused on the future of civil society and the broader issues facing the voluntary sector and volunteering at this time. These could include, for example: critical reflections on the Civil Society Strategy and Civil Society Futures, and their implications for policy, practice and research; international, jurisdictional and comparative perspectives including to what extent is ‘civil society’ mobilised differently across different contexts; how we conceptualise and measure civil society; and the evolution of civil society over time.
The conference aims to:
- Contribute to evidence and theory-building in the field
- Develop emerging research ideas
- Inform and be informed by the work of practitioners
- Inform and influence policy
- To strengthen the voluntary sector research community
We welcome submissions for individual papers, panel sessions and workshops. We are particularly keen to receive proposals for the Conference Track that look to the future of civil society, but we do also welcome papers that address a range of issues relevant to volunteering and the voluntary sector, aligned to the following streams:
- The Conference Track – Critical Reflections on the Future of Civil Society
- Democracy and grassroots voluntary action
- Diversity, race, (in)equality and inclusion
- Volunteering, participation and social action
- Advances in theory and methods
- Resources, including funding, fundraising, philanthropy, social enterprise and social investment
- Organisational management and governance, including law and regulation
- Historical perspectives on civil society, the voluntary sector and volunteering
- Civil society at the boundaries: relationships with the state and/or private sector
- Measuring civil society: outcomes, impact and social value
- Social housing developments (governance, discourses, commercialisation, accountability, tenant involvement)
- New researchers stream
You don’t need to present a paper to attend. When submitting abstracts, authors will be asked which streams they feel their paper will fit best within. We welcome contributions from a variety of disciplines, including sociology, social policy, politics, psychology, geography, economics, business studies, social anthropology, philosophy and ethics.
Types of proposal
We welcome two types of proposals for the conference: an individual paper or a proposal for a themed panel session or workshop. Any topics relating to the voluntary sector and volunteering are welcome.
|Individual paper||Grouped by stream, these will include several 15–20 minute paper presentations, followed by discussion.||A 150 word summary and a 400–600 word abstract of your paper. We welcome submissions discussing preliminary findings and completed projects. References are not needed at this stage.|
|Panel or workshop session||A series of linked papers, a round-table discussion of a topic or research introduced by a panel of commentators, or a themed workshop.||Please submit a list of the panel or workshop contributors, with a 150 word summary and a 400–600 word abstract providing an overview of the topic to be discussed and the contributions to be made by each panel/workshop member. For a series of linked papers, the proposal should include brief abstracts for each contribution.|
New this year: World Cafes
As a new addition to the conference, this year the programme will include space in the programme for a series of ‘World Cafes’: informal roundtables where participants will have an opportunity to meet and share ideas with new and experienced researchers in their field, developing social and professional networks and agendas for future research.
The Conference is an ideal opportunity for new or early career researcher looking to meet, discuss and present their research with other new researchers in a supportive setting. A special series of parallel sessions will be run as part of the conference for ‘new’ researchers. Attendance at this part of the conference is subsidised, and is intended for all early career researchers in the field of voluntary sector studies, whether postgraduate students or working/volunteering in the voluntary sector. For more details about how the New Researchers session works, please click here
Additional stream – Social Housing Developments
This year the conference will also feature a Social housing workshop sponsored by the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT). The seminar takes place on the second day of the conference (Wednesday 10th September) and aims to provide a forum for research dissemination, academic and practitioner insights on various aspects of social housing, and a professional network.
How to submit a proposal
You can submit a proposal for either a single paper presentation or a panel session. You may submit only one paper as a lead author but you can still be a co-author for papers submitted by others.
Abstracts must be submitted via EasyChair and prepared using the conference ‘Abstract Submission Template’. This template can be downloaded by following this link. This template is also saved on the conference pages of the EasyChair website.
Please follow these steps to submit your abstract:
- Save the ‘Abstract Submission Template’ with the file path VSVR_Abstract_YOUR_NAME to your computer or server (e.g. VSVR_Abstract_Chris_Dayson)
- Prepare your abstract within the template and re-save with the file path VSVR_Abstract_YOUR_NAME to your computer or server
- Save and close your completed Abstract Submission Template before submission
- Upload your complete abstract via EasyChair by following this link: https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=vsvr2019. If you have not used EasyChair before you will need to create an account to manage your submission.
- Submit your abstract by following the on-screen instructions. Make sure you upload your completed ‘Abstract Submission Template’ when prompted.
- Check that your abstract has successfully uploaded.
If you have any problems submitting your abstract please email email@example.com and someone will be able to help you.
You can read one of our abstracts from previous years to help you formulate your proposal. Proposals that do not contain sufficient detail will not be considered for inclusion in the conference.
If your submission is successful, you will be asked to send a 2,500–4,500 word paper for inclusion in the conference. We will advise on the format of the paper when we confirm acceptance of your abstract. Papers presented in parallel sessions will be made available online during the conference.
If your proposal is accepted you still need to book a place at the conference.
|13 May 2019||Paper proposal to be submitted|
|24 May 2019||Notification of accepted submissions|
|12 August 2019||Full paper to be submitted|
All delegates at the conference must pay the conference rates in order to participate, including those presenting a paper.
Delegates must book onto the conference via the Aston Business School website.
|Delegate type||Early bird price
(until 12 July)
|Two-day member rate*||£285||£310||included|
|Two-day non-member rate||£375||£400||included|
|One-day member rate*||£175||£200||£35|
|One-day non-member rate||£240||£265||£35|
|New researcher rate*||£100||£100||included|
*To qualify for the member rate or the subsidised New Researcher rate, delegates must be members of either VSSN or an institution which is a member of NCVO.
Best paper prizes
Campbell Adamson Memorial Prize
Each year NCVO awards a prize for the best paper submitted to the conference, in memory of the late president of NCVO’s advisory board. All papers submitted by the deadline 12 August will be considered for the Campbell Adamson Memorial prize for best paper, which includes a £500 prize.
The prize will go to the paper that best meets these criteria:
- Research quality
- Relevance to practice or policy
- Accessibility of style and approach.
New Researchers Prize
Participants in the New Researchers sessions who submit a full paper prior to the start of the conference will automatically be considered for the New Researchers Prize for best paper, which includes a £100 prize.