ESSE Doctoral Symposium for 2022

ESSE organizes an annual Doctoral Symposium, which continues a tradition dating from 2012 and is designed to provide a platform for young scholars to present their work and receive feedback. The Symposium is open without charge to PhD students who are writing their theses in English Studies and are at least in the second year of their PhD studies at the time of the application for the Symposium. To be eligible, either their supervisor or they themselves must be a member of an ESSE-affiliated association (or, in relevant countries, of a Department that belongs to an ESSE member association) at the moment of application. The next Symposium will take place in Mainz (Germany) as part of the 16th ESSE Conference 2022 from 29 August to 2 September 2022: (Precise dates of the PhD Symposium will be available at a later date, please check the conference and ESSE websites).

Participants will have an opportunity to make a brief presentation of their work in progress in one of three strands: English Language & Linguistics, Literatures in English, and Cultural & Area Studies. Their presentation should deal with the issues addressed or hypotheses tested in their doctoral research, the results so far obtained, and above all the methodology applied, with the purpose of gaining feedback from established scholars in the field and from their peers. Each presentation will last no longer than 10 minutes, followed by 15 minutes’ discussion. Participants are expected to attend all the presentations in their own strand and to take part in the discussions. There will also be extensive opportunities for informal contact with other participants and with the academics attending the ESSE Conference. Participation in the Doctoral Symposium does not exclude the possibility of taking part in one of the regular seminars in the Conference. Participants in the ESSE Doctoral Symposium who wish to take part in one of the regular seminars in the ESSE-16 conference are entitled to a 50% discount to the conference fee.

Applying to participate

Please note that each PhD student can submit an application to only one strand of the Doctoral Symposium and should specify in the application which strand they wish to be placed in. Applications must include a letter from the student’s PhD supervisor giving the (provisional) title of the dissertation and confirming that the student is working under his/her supervision and has completed at least his/her first year of PhD studies. The Treasurer of ESSE will check the eligibility of all applicants and their supervisors. The participants in the 2020 and 2021 ESSE Doctoral Symposium, which had to take place in an online format, are welcome to apply again.

The application should take the form of a summary of the project of no more than 300 words, indicating:
• the main topic and issues, including the thesis proposed/hypothesis defended;
• the methodology (theoretical tools and standpoints);
• where relevant, the corpus under consideration;
• the results obtained so far.

Each strand of the Symposium will be coordinated by two experts (to be known as Convenors). They will make a selection from the applications received, chair the discussions and respond to the presentations.Applications (including the letter from the applicant’s supervisor) should be sent, no later than 15 February 2022, to the Coordinator of the ESSE Doctoral Symposium,

Professor J. Lachlan Mackenzie (CELGA-ILTEC, Coimbra, Portugal) at, to whom general enquiries can also be addressed. The eligibility check and the selection of submissions by the Convenors will be completed and announced by 28 February 2022.

Applying for financial support

Those applicants who have been selected for participation can apply to ESSE between 1 and 31 March 2022 for financial support, to a maximum of €500 per applicant. Eligible expenses are airfares, ground transportation costs and accommodation. Applicants for financial support must themselves be members of their national associations affiliated to ESSE. Applications for financial support will be considered during April by a Committee consisting of the Coordinator of the ESSE Doctoral Symposium and the three Convenors from the ESSE Board; the Committee’s definitive decision will be communicated to all applicants by 30 April 2022.

Applications for financial support should be sent to the Coordinator of the ESSE Doctoral Symposium, Professor J. Lachlan Mackenzie (CELGA-ILTEC, Coimbra, Portugal) at Each application for financial support should include three documents (in attachment to the e-mail of application):
• the applicant’s CV;
• a letter detailing the applicant’s eligibility clearly and fully explaining the need for financial support, including a provisional budget for travel costs and/or accommodation expenses;
• a signed statement from the applicant’s supervisor, including a declaration that it is impossible for the applicant to draw on private means or any other sources of funding, including funding earmarked for the ongoing doctoral project, for the purpose of participating in the ESSE Doctoral Symposium.

Please note that ESSE’s decisions about selection for participation and about financial support are final and not subject to appeal.


The organizers of the 16th ESSE Conference 2022 are aware of the possibility that restrictions on travel and large gatherings may be in place at the time of the conference. If, as happened in 2020 and 2021, the conference has to be cancelled/postponed, the Doctoral Symposium will go ahead as a video-conference, as also happened in 2020 and 2021.