Give a paper

The papers presented by our Symposiasts are the heart and soul of the gathering.

The Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery invites anyone with an interest in food and its history to submit a paper for consideration. The scope of the 2024 topic, Gardens, Flowers, and Fruits is broad; the deadline is December 31st. 

How papers are selected

The Editorial Committee attempts to ensure that a broad range of subjects within the year’s topic is presented and that a rich spread of geography, culture, and time periods is represented. Owing to the high number of proposals, it is not possible to include everyone’s submission.

Successful paper-proposals are chosen by our editorial committee without regard to the proposer’s ability to pay for a place. If this is an issue, please let the Editor know and we’ll do our best to help, though this cannot be guaranteed since our resources are always limited.

If you have any doubt about the suitability of a proposed paper topic, please contact the editor for clarification before the deadline by emailing Mark McWilliams:

Key dates

1 October – Submissions open for paper proposals

31 December – Paper proposal submission deadline

31 January – In-person and online ticket sales open

31 January – Grant and award applications open

14 February – Confirmation of paper acceptance

15 May – Deadline for uploading draft final paper for the Preceedings

31 May – Deadline for uploading video presentations

7 June – In-person ticket sales close

1 July – Deadline for upload of any audiovisual materials to support in-person  paper presentations at the St Catherine’s Weekend

5 – 7 July – The Weekend at St Catherine’s

8 July – Release to all Symposiasts of uploaded video presentations

14 – 29 July – Zoom panel discussions online during the Conference

Post-Symposium Early November Final Revised paper due for consideration for  publication in the Symposium Proceedings

How to submit your paper proposal

Your paper proposal is submitted via our online form. The proposal should be between 500-1000 words and needs to

a) outline your central theme and key points,

b) describe the scope of your research, and

c) explain why your paper makes an original and compelling contribution to the Symposium’s examination of the topic and to the field of food history.

If your paper proposal is accepted for presentation at the Symposium, you agree that the Symposium has the right to publish the paper in the Proceedings. While we seek to include as many papers as possible in the Proceedings, space and editorial concerns may limit the number accepted.


Preparing your paper for the symposium

If your proposal is accepted, your draft paper is due by 15 May.

There is a strict 5000-word limit, which includes footnotes and bibliographies. There is no minimum length for a Symposium paper: quality, substance, scholarship, and originality are more important than length.Notes should appear as endnotes following the text.

Papers must include a brief abstract, which does not count against the 5000-word limit.

Authors should follow the Style Guide of the Modern Humanities Research Association, which is available here. Authors should communicate their ideas in English that is clear, concise, and engaging. If English is not a native language, it may be possible to provide translation help, Authors should request such assistance prior to the deadline.

Paper submissions may include illustrations, and additional illustrations can be included in your Symposium presentation (see Presenting Your Paper, below). 

After the conclusion of the Symposium, authors will have the opportunity to revise their papers for publication in the Proceedings. Your paper should be original work, and we ask that you will be required to sign a Representation and Indemnification form prior to publication. By submitting a paper to the Symposium, you agree that the Symposium has the right to publish the paper in the Proceedings.

Presenting Your Paper: A Two Step Process

This year the Symposium will again combine the strength and reach of our virtual Conference along with the Weekend meeting at St Catherine’s College. All Authors will participate in the online Conference. We encourage all Authors to attend the Weekend at St Catherine’s to present their papers in person; however, if it is impossible to travel, then exclusively online participation is very welcome. 

Regardless of whether they are attending the St Catherine’s Weekend or participating exclusively online, all Authors are required to record a presentation of their paper (no more than 20 minutes) that is due 31 May. These prerecorded videos will be released to all Symposiasts on 8 July. 

Authors attending at St Catherine’s will present their papers during parallel panel sessions. These live presentations should last approximately 15-20 minutes; we encourage authors  to present their ideas, rather than just read their draft paper. Authors should are invited to present material that goes beyond their initial draft, while summarizing these points. 

Many authors choose to illustrate their presentations at the Symposium with slides and other visual aids. Many formats are possible, but  authors must be familiar with their chosen technical mediums;  any materials accompanying your presentation must be uploaded no later than 1 July and also brought on a flash drive as “insurance.” 

AV facilities, tastings, and, in some instances, cooking demos can be arranged if requested in advance. Please inform the  Programmer and/or the Registrar ( of your requests at your earliest convenience so that we can do our best to accommodate you.

All authors are expected to participate in an online Zoom discussion of their paper during the Conference period, from 14–29 July. These sessions allow for longer Q & A, provide extended feedback on papers, and allow Symposiasts who participate exclusively online to engage with the entire Symposium community. You do not need to prepare a formal presentation; you should assume that Symposiasts will have had the opportunity to view your video presentation and are ready to discuss your ideas.

Preparing your paper for publication

You must submit your final paper for publication following the Symposium to the deadline confirmed by the editor. Papers must adhere to the strict 5000 word limit, including notes.

Papers chosen for inclusion in the Proceedings can include illustrations. Authors are responsible for securing reproduction rights for all images. It is not usually possible to publish colour images in the Proceedings (although they can appear on the website); black-and-white illustrations and diagrams (300 dpi or better in standard image formats) should be submitted electronically with the paper. If it becomes necessary to limit the total number of illustrations that can be published, the editor will contact you.

Authors should follow the Style Guide of the Modern Humanities Research Association, which is available  here.

Notes should appear as endnotes following the text.

Financial Support grants

There are a limited number of assisted places, student rates, and grants that applicants may request when registering.

Further information will be available on 1 December.

Registering for the symposium

If you would like to reside on the St Catherine’s campus, registration will open on 01 December. Please register early as possible; availability of onsite accommodation is limited and acceptance of your proposal does not automatically guarantee onsite accommodation.