Call for Papers & Submissions

NOTE – The deadline for the submission of proposals has now passed. The CfP below is to be considered for reference only.

13th Screenwriting Research Network International Conference

“Pushing Boundaries”

Oxford Brookes University (UK), September 9–12, 2020

The 13th annual International Conference of the Screenwriting Research Network (SRN 2020) will be hosted by Oxford Brookes University in the UK, on Wednesday 9th through Saturday 12th September 2020.

In order to ensure timely notification of shortlisted delegates and subsequent travel planning, please note the deadline for the submission of all proposals/abstracts by 15 December 2019 (see details below).


Calendar (summary of deadlines)

Submissions of abstracts by:  15 December 2019

Shortlisting/notification of acceptance by:  End of January 2020

Early-bird registration:  From early March until 31 May 2020

Standard registration by:  31 July 2020

Late registration by: 31 August 2020

Conference:  9-12 September 2020

Submissions via email and contact:

Keynotes speakers: Elizabeth Kilgarriff and Prof Murray Smith



Screenwriting Research Network

The SRN is comprised of scholars, writers, and practice-based researchers. Started in 2006, the network has achieved a substantial critical mass over the years – currently counting almost 600 members from 50+ countries.

The aim of the annual International Conference is to continue, and expand, discussions around the screenplay and to strengthen a rapidly emerging, and global, research network. So far, they have taken place in Leeds (2008), Helsinki (2009), Copenhagen (2010), Brussels (2011), Sydney (2012), Madison-Wisconsin (2013), Potsdam-Babelsberg (2014), London (2015), Leeds (2016), Dunedin (2017), Milan (2018) and Porto (2019). It now returns to the UK for SRN 2020 in Oxford.

The Journal of Screenwriting, first published in 2009, the Palgrave Macmillan “Studies in Screenwriting” series, and the SRN online forum, all stand as testament to the vitality of the Network across traditional and practice-based research.

Website – Screenwriting Research Network


The theme of SRN2020 is “Pushing boundaries”.

The notion of boundary (as dividing line or limit, sharp or blurry, real or abstract, natural or artificial) has been investigated and theorized since ancient times; and yet the debate around it has been vigorously reignited in recent decades from several perspectives, viz. territorial, geographical, political, social, ethical, legal, professional, psychological, philosophical (mind and body), in popular representations between art and politics, or between humans and machines.

Regardless of theoretical, methodological and/or ideological standpoints, and of the definition/type of boundary being explored, we invite proposals for papers that focus on how boundaries are pushed, questioned, challenged in screenwriting – in form and/or content, theory and/or practice. We are particularly interested in abstracts for presentations on (but not limited to) the following topics:

  • AI and screenwriting
  • Alternative forms of scripting
  • Boundaries between screenwriting for mainstream, art, niche or independent cinema
  • Case studies that defy traditional distinctions between writing formats
  • Censorship, laws and screenwriting
  • Cross-cultural/transnational collaborations
  • Evolving pedagogy of screenwriting (e.g. manuals, schools, academia, traditions, practices, trade press, Internet, etc.)
  • Genre hybridization and audiences
  • Impact of big data collection and spectatorship analytics on screenwriting practices
  • Impact of the launch of “original content” production by streaming platform giants on screenwriting and writers
  • Individual or multiple case studies (writers or texts)
  • Limits of screenwriting
  • Neurosciences and screenwriting
  • Ontological approaches (e.g. scripts/screenplays as boundary objects)
  • Reflections on screenwriting/narrative/storytelling theories
  • Reinforcing/challenging canons, doxa and practices in screenwriting
  • Researching the writers’ rooms
  • Screenwriting as practices that produce complex relational configurations
  • Screenwriting “big issues”
  • Screenwriting between tradition and current paradigm shifts
  • Screenwriting in highly-collaborative working environments
  • Screenwriting in international co-productions
  • Subjective and objective screenwriting
  • Immersive technologies (VR, AR, 3D) and screenwriting
  • World-building for storytelling
  • Writers’ guilds, market deregulation and the professions of screenwriting
  • Writing challenging characters

However, the above is not intended to be prescriptive and proposals for presentations beyond the theme of the Conference are also welcome. The aim of the SRN being to foster research that rethinks the screenplay in relation to its histories, theories, values and creative practices, any proposal underpinned by such research will be considered. Topics and perspectives may include (but are not limited to):

  • Archival research on screenwriting, writers and screenplays
  • Different screenwriting practices and formats
  • Historical perspectives on screenwriting and screenplays
  • Issues of authorship
  • National traditions of screenwriting and storytelling
  • Practice-based research in screenwriting
  • Screenwriting and adaptation

… All the above with reference to any media and platforms – e.g. fiction film, feature and short, television (public, pay, streaming, VODS, OTT, CDN, VSP, etc.), animation, documentary, experimental, games and videogames, digital media, interactive, web/online, new-media, transmedia, database etc.

Submission of abstracts/proposals

Proposals/Abstracts can be sent as either a Word or PDF document: please indicate “Yourname_PROPOSALTYPE” (i.e. PAPER, PANEL, ESSAY or POSTER; see below) clearly in the file title and in the subject heading of your submission email to

Deadline for submission of all proposals: 15 December 2019.

Earlier submissions are much welcome.

Format of presentations/abstracts

All presentations, regardless of format, must be delivered in person (i.e. no pre-recorded presentations), in English, and be underpinned by original research work being conducted by the presenter (i.e. no recycling/repetitions from previous SRN or other conferences). Multiple presenters (max 2) for co-written papers are allowed.

We accept proposals for presentations in the following formats:

Individual papers

Proposals for traditional 20-minute papers, followed by Q&A. They should include: title, author’s name, affiliation, contact details, a 250-300-word abstract, 4-6 keywords, and a 150-word bio detailing your research activity, publications and/or screenwriting practice. You can also add links to your website, IMDB or similar online presence (but please no social media – e.g. Facebook – in the proposal).

Pre-constituted panels – Proposals are welcome for the following types of panels:

  1. Colloquium: 3 individual papers + Q&A (as per guidelines above) on a shared topic.
  2. Focused discussion (working group) panels: proposed and submitted by working groups within or outside the SRN. Although similar in format to a Regular panel, Working group panels should reflect the work being done and the theme explored in the group and/or/by its members.
  3. Critical discussion panel: each participant gives a condensed presentation of one of their publications (journal article or book chapter) in 5 minutes, followed by a 15-minute structured debate based on a question line-up moderated by the Chair. This panels entails that the publications tackle similar issues, be read in advance by each participant in the panel so as to trigger specific questions, and the Chair plays a crucial role in defining the overall approach.
  4. Practice-based panel: these assume that some information is not adequately conveyed by words, visual aids and logical reasoning alone, thus implying practical/artistic stimuli as well. Each participant will present their practical work in the first 10-12 minutes, followed up by a theoretical reflexion (8-10 minutes).

Proposals for pre-constituted panels can be submitted by any of the presenters or the Chair of the panel and should include: title of the panel, brief outline (100 words maximum) of the overall topic, abstracts of all the presentations – no more than 3 papers. Abstracts should follow the guidelines for individual papers as above, and include short bios and contact details of both the speakers and the panel Chair. Wherever possible, the Chair should not be one of the presenters, although exceptions might be considered. If a proposal for a pre-constituted panel does not include a Chair, the Conference Committee will appoint one. All proposals should indicate “PanelProposal_SRN2020” in the file title and in the subject heading of the submission email.

Note: panel presenters may submit a separate abstract (for the same or different paper) individually. The individual submission will be considered a) in case the panel proposal is rejected as a whole, or b) in case the panel proposal is accepted but, subsequently, the panel cannot confirm attendance in its entirety.

Audiovisual essays

Proposals are invited to present an audiovisual essay of 15 minutes maximum, in which the presenter(s) express a position on one of the above topics. It should NOT be a recording of a traditional paper presentation nor an experimental film; rather, it is an audiovisual discourse on a theoretical position. Essays can be submitted both individually or in panels of 3 videos grouped thematically (see guidelines above). Note: the presence of the presenter at the conference is required.


At SRN 2020 we will introduce this format which is ideal for presenting preliminary results of work in progress or for projects that lend themselves to visual displays. The layout is not prescribed but posters (maximum 121.92×91.44 cm or 4×3 ft) should include a brief abstract outlining the purpose and methodology of the research being undertaken, panes with current and expected outcomes, and visual references of sources and other materials. Handouts may also be made available. Space to display posters will be provided, however all materials to be displayed must be organized by the presenter. The proposal should include title, author’s name, affiliation, contact details, a 150-word abstract outlining the expected layout of the poster (this can be replaced by a concise draft layout), 4-6 keywords, and a 150-word bio detailing your research activity, publications and/or screenwriting practice.

Peer-reviewing and shortlisting

The Organizing Committee will adopt a rigorous triple blind peer-review process for the shortlisting of the abstracts received by the deadline.

We acknowledge that not all presenters might be experienced conference-goers and that papers are usually work in progress, especially at the time of submitting a proposal. However, we warmly recommend that the abstracts be as well-drafted as possible with a well-defined research question, a clear focus, and a short summary of the intended content of the presentation at the time of submission.

We aim to notify acceptance/rejection of proposals by the end of January 2020.

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