This webinar will be based on the speakers’ newly published book, Making Sense of Academic Conferences. The book offers an introduction to the world of academic conferences; it also includes material to support researchers who are organising conferences.

Offering guidance about presenting at, participating in, and planning a conference, Making Sense of Academic Conferences uncovers the purpose of conferences; their role in supporting researcher development; steps involved in selecting and travelling to a conference; routine practices and terminology; strategies for making the most out of conferences. Suitable for doctoral students and early career researchers, this book engages with all aspects of academic conferences, recognising that attending conferences is as much about presenting papers as discos and not spilling your tea on the keynote speaker.

The book, as well as the webinar, is ideally suited for graduate researchers and early career researchers, particularly those who may be going to their first conference, or travelling to their first international conference, and for more experienced academics who are working with novice conference attendees.

Date: June 16, 2023 (Friday)

Time: 16:00-17:15 (Hong Kong Time) / 9:00-10:15 (British Standard Time)

Chair: Dr Jisun Jung, The University of Hong Kong

Speakers: Dr James Burford, University of Warwick

Dr Emily Henderson, University of Warwick


Dr James Burford (@jiaburford) is an Associate Professor in Global Education and International Development in the Department of Education Studies, University of Warwick. His books include Re-imagining Doctoral Writing (2021) and Making Sense of Academic Conferences: Presenting, Participating and Organising (2023). He co-edits Conference Inference: Blogging the World of Conferences with Dr Emily Henderson, and is Co-Editor-in-Chief of the international journal Studies in Graduate and Postdoctoral Education. James is a critical university studies researcher with a particular interest in doctoral education and the academic profession. He has undertaken research on the affective-politics of doctoral education, academic migration to Thailand, and various projects on social inclusion of LGBTQI+ communities in New Zealand and Thailand. James’s current research projects include an international study examining distance doctoral education, and a project on gatekeeping in doctoral admissions.

Dr Emily F. Henderson (@EmilyFrascatore) is a Reader in Gender and International Higher Education in the Department of Education Studies, University of Warwick. Her books include Gender, Definitional Politics and ‘Live’ Knowledge Production (Routledge, 2020), and Exploring Diary Methods in Higher Education Research (Routledge, 2021). She is co-editor of the academic blog Conference Inference: Blogging the World of Conferences. Emily’s research lies in the areas of gender and international higher education; the academic profession, academic mobility and conferences; poststructuralist and feminist theory and research methodology. Emily’s current research projects include a 4-year project on institutional approaches to widening participation in India, and a project on gatekeeping in doctoral admissions.