How to write a successful conference proposal?

The Africa Chapter of the Memory Studies Association aims to promote the field of memory on the African continent and especially provide inspiration to young scholars in a variety of disciplines to re-examine their work from a memory perspective. In our endeavor to assist emergent scholars, especially postgraduate students, inexperienced young academics and researchers not affiliated with academic institutions, we would like to share a few simple guidelines for writing a successful conference proposal.


Stress the relevance of your research to the conference theme. The relevance should be evident in the title and throughout the abstract. A conference theme can be very inspiring in making you think about your own research from a different perspective. Reading up on relevant theoretical literature can provide you with new understandings of your own field.


Present a few sentences of context and essential background information about your topic of research, then indicate the main focus of your conference paper and your key argument or hypothesis. Explain briefly how your research was conducted (study location, methodology) and your theoretical framework or any central concepts that guide your analysis. End the abstract with brief mention of your main findings. If you are still intending to carry out some of the research, explain what aspect you will be investigating.


Be compliant with all the guidelines in the call for papers. Observe word limit and supply the requested personal information (name, affiliation and email) in the conference paper proposal, not separately (abstracts are dissociated from emails in the evaluation process). Carefully proof-read your abstract and ask a friend to read the text to ensure that every sentence is clear and concise and that the language and formal presentation of your abstract conveys a positive first impression. However, avoid unnecessary jargon or cut-and-paste phrases that you do not fully understand.


Needless to say, there is much information about proposal writing available online. The links below are just a few examples.

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