Monthly Archives: March 2018

The PhD Seminar: A bit like coming home for me

The following is a guest post by Mieke Berghmans, former ISTR PhD Seminar participant.

I am one of those PhD students who had the chance to attend two ISTR PhD seminars: a first one in 2012 in Muenster and a second one, two years later, in Stockholm.  Needless to say,  I am very enthusiastic about the whole program. I have been encouraging fellow PhD students to apply too.

The ISTR PhD seminar meant a lot of different things to me. Let me share a few with you.

The ISTR PhD seminar was a great chance for me to meet other academics who are passionate about the same things that I am passionate about. At my home university, my colleagues have a shared interest in education, society and culture. They are all great people with interesting subjects of study. But unfortunately, not one of my colleagues is working on international NGOs, the topic that I love. This made me feel quite ‘lonely’ in the beginning of my research. Attending the ISTR PhD seminar and meeting folks who can talk endlessly about the difference between social movements and NGOs and other ‘sector related’ issues was really a bit like coming home for me.

What I also loved about the ISTR PhD seminar is the ‘formula’ of the small group sessions. In these sessions, students quickly – in five minutes or so – present their work to the group members. After that, the members of the group ask them questions. I hadn’t come across this way of working until I participated in the ISTR PhD seminar. Before that, I had always participated in debates where one person presents his or her work extensively and then a shorter time period is reserved for critical comments, questions and suggestions of the public. The formula used in the ISTR PhD seminar turned this upside down. It reserved more time for the discussion than for the presentation and it allowed the presenter to ask questions to the group.  I must say I found this a very fruitful approach. In this formula, students were not pushed in to a defensive mode. Rather, we could openly present the issues that had us stuck and that we were struggling with, and our fellow group members would spend 45 minutes constructively working with us to look for alternative perspectives and solutions, helping us to get ‘unstuck’ again.

Most importantly, both ISTR PhD seminars were a lot of fun. I had a great time and laughed a lot during the sessions, in the pub, and in the park. Through the seminar I met some great people who became good friends. I look forward to meeting them again in July. See you in Amsterdam!

mieke photo

Mieke Berghmans

Writing a PhD on ‘accountability in international NGOs’ at KU Leuven, Belgium

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Notice to Conference Authors: Important new information about paper submissions

In an effort to streamline our processes, ISTR has changed the way papers should be submitted and distributed for the upcoming conference.  ISTR will no longer be sending emails connecting speakers and moderators directly.  Authors take note, this year, authors will be asked to upload their papers to our online AllAcademic system (https://www.istr.org/page/aapby June 10.  This will allow your moderator and conference participants to read your paper in advance of the conference.  Authors will be assigned a moderator in late April/early May and they will be given instructions for downloading your paper from AllAcademic.

The papers will be hosted on the password protected All Academic site, and will thus not be available to the general public.  We recommend that authors include the phrase “Draft – not for distribution” at the top of their paper pending further revisions you may wish to make following feedback from your conference peers.

For the first time this year, ISTR has also published paper drafting guidance.

Please note that ISTR has published guidance for paper presentations and poster design and presentation, including information on how to print your poster at a local print shop.

Post-Conference Publication and Working Paper Opportunities

Following the conference, authors are invited to revise their papers in the light of conference feedback with an eye to an appropriate submission to Voluntas, the peer‐ reviewed official journal of ISTR, or any other journals in the field.  Publication decisions are the sole discretion of such journals and ISTR does not participate in the editorial decisions on such submissions.  Authors can also submit their papers to be reviewed for selection for publication in the ISTR Conference Working Papers Series to be published after the conference on the ISTR website.

Questions? 

Please direct any additional questions to ISTR at ISTR_Secretariat@jhu.edu

ISTR Author Registration Deadline – March 16

If you plan to present a paper, panel, poster, or roundtable at the ISTR Conference in Amsterdam then you MUST register for the conference by March 16.  Only those who register by March 16 will have their presentations scheduled and their names and abstracts printed in the ISTR Conference program.  Those that register after March 16 will not be scheduled to present.

And as a reminder, in order to register for the conference you need to be a paying member of ISTR (not a non-paying affiliate).

We look forward to seeing you in Amsterdam!