The Benefits of Organizing | Newberry

The Benefits of Organizing

Anne Boemler, Northwestern University

Anne Boemler, Northwestern University

In the fall of 2017, I was one of the graduate organizers of the Center for Renaissance Studies Graduate Conference. I had given my first paper at the conference the year before—a very pleasant introduction to conferences!—but organizing gave me a much deeper appreciation for all the work and thought that goes into crafting cohesive panels. Working with other graduate coordinators and CRS staff, I selected papers to be accepted to the conference, proposed panels that would encourage interesting conversations between those papers, and chaired the panels themselves.

As I’ve progressed in my graduate career, my experience organizing the Center for Renaissance Studies Graduate Conference has changed the way I’ve approached attending conferences myself. Participating in every stage of conference organization has helped me to propose abstracts not only as a way of showing off my own work, but as a way of suggesting interesting directions I think a scholarly conversation could go. Moderating panels has helped me be a more intellectually generous co-panelist and audience member.

Finally, as valuable as my experience organizing the conference are the connections I made with my fellow graduate organizers. We still regularly meet at conferences all over the country and continue the discussions we started at the Newberry. I am very grateful that Northwestern’s membership in the CRS consortium gives me the opportunity to be part of such a vibrant community of emerging scholars.

Anne Boemler
Department of English
Northwestern University