Making Connections, Meeting Challenges:

Celebrating 30 Years of NCIS


University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA

June 21–23, 2019




To celebrate 30 years of NCIS, our next conference will be at UMass Amherst June 21–23, 2019. The theme reflects our mission to connect independent scholars with each other, provide a sense of community, and offer practical support to enable members to meet the challenges of independent scholarship.

Making connections and meeting challenges are also integral to the research process in all fields, and these themes can thus be interpreted in myriad ways. We therefore invite scholars in all disciplines to propose papers, panels or round table discussions relevant to the conference theme. These may be related to but are not limited to the following strands:

Making connections, building community

  • Physical communities (e.g. migrant/ex-patriate; religious): establishing, defining, developing.
  • “Imagined communities,” whose members will never meet most of their fellow-members but who are bound by “the image of their communion” (Anderson 2006, 6), e.g. by nationality, religion, gender, sexuality, profession, social position etc).

Making connections, making history

  • Creating/recreating genealogies
  • The invention of tradition (Hobsbawm & Ranger 2012) by [re-]connecting to a real or idealized past
  • Connections between individuals (often through genealogical/archival research)

Connecting through the arts

  • Using music to reinforce connections, e.g., nationhood, local culture, group identity
  • Literary representations of cultural connections
  • Visual arts, plastic arts and textiles as cultural liaison

Connecting through STEM (Science Technology Engineering & Math)

  • Interdisciplinary methodologies
  • Scientific applications in everyday life
  • Technology as communal glue

Dangerous liaisons

  • Innovative methodologies
  • Challenging conventional theory
  • Connecting hitherto disparate fields/methodologies
  • Partnering with scholars across disciplines

Meeting challenges

  • Conflict and resolution: military, STEM, political, scholarly
  • Beyond the lab: the particular challenges facing independent scientists
  • Ethical challenges in research
  • Reliability and repeatability: using the internet (e.g., surveys or forum posts) as data sources.
  • New models of scholarship, particularly independent scholarship, in the face of the vilification of academia.
  • Directions for Independent Scholarship as well as individual ISs.
  • Negotiating new publication models, eg scholarly blogs

Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. Revised ed. London; New York: Verso, 2006.

Hobsbawm, Eric, and Terence Ranger, eds. The Invention of Tradition. [1983.] Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012.    


Submission Guidelines
Deadline for proposals: February 15, 2019

Papers Individual paper presentations will be 15-20 mins, with 10 mins for questions. Abstracts of 350-500 words should be sent to conference2019@ncis.org using the Abstract Submission Form.

Panels & Roundtable Discussions Proposals of 350-500 words for panels or round tables of 3-4 speakers are welcome. They should outline the theme, and participants if known, and should be sent to conference2019@ncis.org using the Abstract Submission Form.

Eligibility for submission

  • All NCIS members in good standing are eligible to present at the conference.
  • Non-members are invited to submit proposals, but in the event their paper is accepted, the author is required to join NCIS upon notice of acceptance.
  • No member may present more than one paper.
  • Presentations must be in English.

Additional information
All proposals will be acknowledged within a few days of receipt, and the review committee will inform you of their decision as quickly as possible.

All NCIS members in good standing will enjoy a reduced registration fee, due to a generous subsidy from NCIS funds.

Full Members may also be eligible to apply for a Conference Support Grant of $250 in either of the two cycles preceding the conference. You can check the criteria here. Grant application deadlines are October 1, 2018, February 1, 2019, and June 1, 2019.

Onsite hotel or campus accommodation (all air-conditioned) will be available for participants.

Presenters will be invited to submit an extended paper for consideration in a special conference issue of the NCIS peer-reviewed open-access journal The Independent Scholar.


Starts      12 noon on Friday 21 June
Finishes  12 noon on Sunday 23 June

CONFERENCE DINNER will be held on Saturday evening


Registration opens 1 February 2019

Registration fees for members are heavily subsidised by NCIS and include conference pack, lunch on Friday and Saturday, and tea/coffee breaks throughout the conference.

Non-members are welcome to attend, but will not be eligible to present a paper at the conference. Any non-member may submit an abstract, but will need to become a member of NCIS on acceptance of their abstract. 

Early Bird Rate (1 February to 31 March 2019):     $80

Standard Rate (1 April to 30 April 2019):               $90

Late Registration Rate (1 May to 31 May 2019):  $100

Non-member rate (1 February to 31 May 2019):   $130

Registration ends 31 May 2019



If you would like to arrive on the Thursday, please let us know well in advance so we can secure the best deal.

CAMPUS - RESIDENCE HALL - Single A/C room (Available until 31 May)

Air-conditioned suite-style accommodation. Each suite features 4 single rooms, 2 fully-equipped bathrooms (bath/shower & WC), communal area & kitchen. 

THURSDAY  $60 incl. linen, towels & secure parking

FRIDAY         $60 incl. linen, towels & secure parking

SATURDAY   $60 incl. linen, towels & secure parking

SUNDAY        $60 incl. linen, towels & secure parking

CAMPUS HOTEL Single or double room (Available until 31 May):

THURSDAY  $170/$200 incl. taxes & secure parking (tbc)

FRIDAY        $200 incl. taxes & secure parking

SATURDAY $200 incl. taxes & secure parking

SUNDAY       $170 incl. taxes & secure parking


Resident – Campus Residence Hall INCLUDED

Resident – Campus Hotel INCLUDED

Non-Resident (pay on site) $6.50 per day*

*Prices provided by UMass in June 2018. May be subject to change.

Contact us

National Coalition of Independent Scholars