Poster Session General Information
The American Historical Association invites proposals for posters for the 2016 annual meeting in Atlanta. The poster session will take place in a highly visible space in the meeting hotel.
If your work lends itself to visual presentation-photographs, maps, material culture, or statistical evidence that can be presented graphically-think about proposing a poster. Posters encourage one-on-one conversation between presenters and their audience and are particularly helpful to scholars seeking feedback on work in progress.
A poster presentation provides an excellent opportunity to build a professional network and engage with historians researching related topics. Poster presenters gain experience describing their work in a short, informal presentation and typically receive more audience feedback than panel presenters.
Presenting a poster can be beneficial to historians on the job market, as it provides a chance for interviewers to interact with you outside of the formality of the interview and see you present your work to others. Posters are the only exception to the bar on submission of solo presentations. Poster presentations are reviewed by the Program Committee and should be listed as an annual meeting presentation on your resume or c.v.
With creative thinking, virtually any topic can be presented in this format. The key is to distill your argument into brief text and a clear design that will facilitate conversation.
As a general suggestion, we encourage you to think of an appealing display that will raise attendees' curiosity and encourage them to ask more about your work. Ultimately, the form of your poster will depend on the information you want to convey and your goals in presenting the information, but your display should always have two fundamental characteristics: clarity of display and clarity of argument.
As a rule, use only one style, one conventional font, and a light background. Materials should be readable at a distance of 5 to 10 feet. We urge you to use at least 48 point font for titles and 36 point for body text and tables. Use images to support your argument and draw the audience in. Text should be under 800 words. Remember that your audience should be able to absorb your main arguments in a few minutes. Be prepared to give a brief oral introduction to the project and answer questions.
Many web sites give practical advice on poster design. We think you will find these sites particularly useful:
- Colorado State University
- American Anthropological Association (AAA). Although AAA-specific, there are some very good general suggestions.
- Colin Purrington's blog on designing effective conference posters.
You can begin to set up in the room half an hour before the start time of the poster session. Presenters are expected to remain with their posters to engage in discussion with the audience until the end of the session. At that time you can take down your poster.
The AHA will provide a draped 2' x 6' table, chair, and 4' x 8' landscape-format bulletin board. Access to an electrical outlet is available on request; please let us know by December 1 if you need it.
Tables and bulletin boards will be identified by numbers corresponding to the program listing and organized sequentially to help audience members find the posters that interest them.
Many presenters have their posters printed at a print shop, copy center, or campus printing service. Materials can also be mounted on tables using a tri-fold poster board available at almost any store where school or office supplies are sold. You can use the table top for copies of a short précis of your research, business cards, and even your own laptop computer if you would like to have a short PowerPoint presentation running on it.
Please note that presenters are responsible for transporting their posters to the meeting site. Posters must be removed from the room after the session.
Do not forget to carry business cards and a stack of handouts (50 is generally recommended) that summarize your presentation. You might want to collect contact information so you can mail or e-mail the full paper (or the outline) to those interested, so think about having an information sheet on hand for that purpose. Also, bring any other equipment you may need, including tacks, tape, and other essentials. Please note that the AHA cannot provide these nor can it provide an Internet connection, computer, monitor, or projector.
Proposing A Poster For AHA 2015, by Seth Denbo
Does your research project lend itself to strong visuals? Are you interested in getting one-to-one feedback on your work? Do you want to talk to rather than at other historians about your scholarship? Propose a poster for the 2015 annual meeting.
Historians Make Connections at the Poster Session, by Jennifer Reut
For a historian with a strong research project, it's hard to imagine a better venue than the poster session at the annual meeting. Held in a cavernous space off the book expo, Saturday's poster session was the scrappy underdog of the annual meeting. Participants in this year's session were rewarded with a steady crowd of interested visitors, including AHA president Jan Goldstein, executive director Jim Grossman, and director of scholarly communications and digital initiatives Seth Denbo, among other senior scholars.