Call for Papers: Keeping History Above Water Conference (April 2016)

Kelsey Mullen's picture
Call for Papers
September 15, 2015
Rhode Island, United States
Subject Fields: 
Urban Design and Planning, Urban History / Studies, Social Sciences, Social History / Studies


An international, multidisciplinary conference focused on

saving historic structures and neighborhoods in the face of rising tides

April 10-13, 2016

Newport, Rhode Island

Organized by the Newport Restoration Foundation in partnership with the Union of Concerned Scientists, The National Trust for Historic Preservation, the University of Rhode Island’s Coastal Resource Center, Roger Williams University and Salve Regina University

Keeping History Above Water, slated for the spring of 2016 in Newport, Rhode Island, will tackle a broad range of issues—from theoretical to practical, local to global—related to protecting coastal communities and their historic built environments. Over four days, experts in historic preservation, architecture, engineering, oceanography, and many other disciplines, from across the United States and abroad, will convene to examine threats, explore solutions, and share ideas. The Program Committee invites proposals for short papers (15 to 25 minutes) and workshop/seminar sessions (1.5 to 3 hours) from practitioners, academics and policy makers that address (but are not limited to):

  • Fortification and retrofitting individual buildings for resiliency against inundation, including engineering solutions for threatened properties and communities
  • Policies and regulations that make more resilient historic districts in coastal regions
  • Communication strategies for raising awareness and educating a broad spectrum of stake holders in historic properties and communities
  • Holistic consideration of communities’ cultural resources, including living cultures and intangible cultural heritage
  • Case studies – from anywhere in the world – in any of the above areas

Audience and Program: The conference will be marketed to academics and professionals in a variety of disciplines including preservationists, town and city planners, elected officials, government personnel/policy makers, architects, engineers, environmentalists, and builders. The conference program will include keynote speakers and plenary addresses from major scholars and practitioners in key fields, as well as panel presentations and roundtable discussions, workshops, ample opportunity for networking, and pre-conference excursions to historic sites in Newport and environs.

Location: Conference sessions and accommodations (with favorable room rates already negotiated) will be located at the Newport Marriott Hotel (25 America’s Cup Avenue, Newport). Located on the waterfront and immediately adjacent to Newport’s historic “Point” neighborhood (where a significant concentration of 18th and 19th century buildings are at risk), the Newport Marriott Hotel is also a convenient location from which to explore other historic sites of the city and surrounding areas of Aquidneck Island.



Short Papers:

To have a paper considered for presentation (stand alone or as part of a panel), please send a proposal of no more than 500 words, including estimated time for the presentation, along with CV, to The deadline for submitting paper proposals is September 15, 2015.

Workshop/Seminar Sessions:

The program committee welcomes proposals for 1.5- to 3-hour workshop and seminar sessions with a focus on, but not limited to, practical approaches to addressing the threat of sea level rise and other water catastrophes in historic structures and neighborhoods. These are smaller breakout sessions scheduled for the final morning of the conference (Wednesday, April 13, 2016) that can accommodate up to 30 participants each, and can have more than one instructor. To have a session considered, please submit a written proposal of no more than 500 words (can include images) and a CV for each instructor to The deadline for submitting workshop and seminar proposals is September 15, 2015.

Other Ideas:

Anything that you think should be included but don’t see represented here? The program committee is happy to have suggestions -- for panels, table displays, and other means of communicating knowledge and experiences in any area that connects to the theme of the conference. To this end, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with members of the program committee or the conference coordinator, Margot Nishimura (

Please note that presenters will likely have some travel and accommodation subsidy available to them.

Contact Info: 

Kelsey Mullen

Coordinator of Academic Programs

Newport Restoration Foundation