The International Congress on Medieval Studies, hosted by Western Michigan University's Medieval Institute, provides guidelines on the following topics:

Professional respect

The organizers of the International Congress on Medieval Studies expect those registered for the Congress to comport themselves according to the values of nondiscrimination, dignity and courtesy in all congress activities. The practice of mutual respect in a professional space fosters a sustainable environment for freedom of expression and open inquiry. Such respect means treating all colleagues equally and professionally, and requires trust. Careful consideration of others' positions—and one's own—enables a critical dialogue between scholars and the wider public that is necessary for medievalists to advance their collective and diverse comprehension of the Middle Ages. The Medieval Institute endorses the understanding of respect as articulated in the Medieval Academy of America's Professional Behavior Policy, which can be found on the Policies page of their website.

Free speech

Western Michigan University supports free speech. Presenters and attendees are encouraged to engage in the free exchange of ideas while refraining from disrupting sessions or preventing others from fully participating in them.

Social media guidelines

Social Media Guidelines

Since 2010, the International Congress on Medieval Studies (@KzooICMS) has maintained a Twitter presence. The account is used to make announcements and post reminders. We establish an official hashtag for the conference, unique each year, so activity of the current Congress can be easily followed and activity for previous years can be found under their respective hashtags. The hashtag for the 59th International Congress on Medieval Studies is #Kzoo2024.

Real-time online interaction both opens conversations at the Congress to colleagues not in attendance and extends conference spaces for attendees. It can expand opportunities for networking and engaging wider academic communities within medieval studies and beyond. Social media applications offer spaces that can be rich resources to strengthen intellectual communities and connections both during and after conferences.

We ask that Congress registrants keep three fundamental principles in mind:


All speakers have both the right to request that their work, images and/or any related material presented not be live-tweeted, live-blogged or otherwise publicly posted and the right to expect that their requests will be respected.

Audio or video recordings of sessions should not be made or posted without express permission of all of the session’s participants (these permissions should be secured in advance through the session organizer or presider). Photographs should not be posted without the consent of the subjects therein.


The Congress hashtag is a representation of the conference online as much as it is a representation of those using it. Please remember that your comments are public and should be made in the same tone you would use in person: the medium in which professional activity is communicated doesn’t change its professional nature and is as important to scholars' professional reputation as their academic work. Language that is vulgar, profane, threatening, or that includes personal attacks is inappropriate

Because live-tweeting can have the appearance of a direct transcript of spoken words, it is important to remember the potential for misappropriation (please attribute), misrepresentation (make sure your commentary is clearly identified as such), and misunderstanding (borne of removal of context); because Twitter is immediate and personal, it’s important to remember the potential for tone to be inaccurately communicated (or read). All powerful tools have the capability to injure, if mishandled.


Expressing appreciation and sharing links to useful/related information contribute to the conversation and strengthen academic connections. Disagreements and difficult topics are as integral to an intellectual community as scholarly generosity and should be handled with the same professionalism and respect online as in face-to-face discussion.

Twitter tips

Sending a DM, or direct message, allows you to take a discussion (or ask a question) out of public space, but only if that user follows you.

If agreeing to disagree simply isn't possible, you can mute individuals (they won’t know that you've muted them and you can unmute them at any time, a good choice if you’d just like a break), unfollow them (if they are people you've followed), or outright block their accounts (they won't be able to see your tweets on their timelines, nor will you be able to see theirs).

Information and advice for presiders

A session’s presider is responsible for the running of the session. Duties usually include:

  • Acting as master of ceremonies and time-keeper.
  • Introducing session participants and announcing their social media preferences.
  • Moderating discussion and maintaining an atmosphere of professional respect.

Time keeping

All Congress sessions are 90 minutes long.

In a session of papers, 60 minutes should be taken up by the papers themselves, and 30 minutes by introductions, general to-ing and fro-ing and discussion. (Sessions in other formats may be structured more loosely than sessions of papers.)

  • In a session of 2 papers, each paper should be limited to 30 minutes.
  • In a session of 3 papers, each paper should be limited to 20 minutes.
  • In a session of 4 papers, each paper should be limited to 15 minutes.
  • In a session of 5 papers, each paper should be limited to 12 minutes.

We encourage presiders to be assertive in enforcing time limits; a well-run session with papers delivered within the time limit will be appreciated by participants and audience alike.


Introductions in Congress sessions are generally short, but we encourage you to contact the speakers in advance in order to learn about them and their work. Contacting the speakers in advance also affords an opportunity to ask about AV equipment, handouts, social media preferences, and other logistical concerns.

Social media

Session presiders are expected to inform audiences of speakers’ preferences concerning the sharing of their presentations through social media. This means conveying restrictions and may mean announcing a speaker’s Twitter handle.

AV equipment and handouts

The presider is expected to help ensure the smooth running of the session. If AV equipment needs trouble-shooting in an in-person session, presiders should be prepared to seek help from the AV staff in the building in which the session is scheduled.

Congress participants are expected to bring multiple copies of their handouts to the session, and presiders are expected to facilitate their distribution.

The hybrid experience

As at in-person sessions, presiders of virtual or hybrid sessions are expected to help ensure the smooth running of the session. If technical problems occur, presiders should be prepared to seek help from the Confex tech host assigned to the session.

Participants attending virtual sessions, or attending hybrid sessions virtually, access sessions through Zoom meetings linked directly from the meeting site.

  • For an optimal experience, download the Zoom client to your device(s), or, if already downloaded, update the app.
  • The Join Now link for each event goes live on the meeting site 20 minutes ahead of the scheduled start time. Presiders are encouraged to arrive promptly at that time.
  • Clicking the Join Now link sends you to the Zoom waiting room for your session. Make sure your Zoom name allows the Confex tech host to recognize you so they can admit you from the waiting room.
  • The Confex tech host will admit the first person who is listed as a session participant from the waiting room and make them co-host of the session. That person can then admit other session participants from the waiting room.
  • Session participants may prepare for the session, test screen sharing, etc., before the session begins and audience members are admitted from the waiting room.
  • Those not actively involved in the session can be admitted from the waiting room at the start time or shortly before: the exact time will be up to session organizers and presiders.
  • Chat is enabled for all events, and attendees may chat with everyone or in private conversations with other individuals attending the session.
  • Screen Sharing is enabled so that speakers can display slides or share other presentation materials.

Recommended procedures in the Zoom environment

As at in-person sessions, it is the prerogative of session organizers and presiders to determine how sessions will run. We do, however, have some recommendations:

  • Presiders should ask all to remain muted unless they are actively participating.
  • Save comments and questions for after all scheduled contributions have been made.
  • Contributors should be cognizant of microphone placement (e.g., shuffling papers near a microphone will diminish the experience for auditors); using a headset with a microphone will improve sound quality.
  • Have attendees signal a desire to contribute by using the Raise Hand feature or typing a question into the chat box.
  • Presiders may want to designate a colleague to help in monitoring the chat and raised hands.