Setting up an academic conference

Today I’m at the School of GeoScience Postgraduate Research Conference and it occured to me that some of you might be either attending or organising conferences over the summer.

If you’re organising a conference there are some things which it will help you to keep in mind:

  • Advertise the event well in advance to ensure that people can attend.
  • Be aware of your budget from the start, and throughout the planning stages, to avoid a huge over spend.
  • If you are asking people to submit papers or posters in advance give them plenty of notice of the deadline and don’t be afraid to chase people for their submissions. Make this process as easy as possible for people to complete, use an electronic form for example.
  • If you are printing anything in advance ask your printing service what their lead times are and give yourself enough time to collate and proof read everything before sending it to the printers.
  • Try to choose a venue which is easy to get to and which has parking available.
  • If your venue doesn’t supply one, make up an information pack which includes maps and transport information.
  • If you are catering the event it makes sense to ask your delegates to register in advance so that you can confirm the numbers with your venue and caterers to avoid wastage. You can also use this to create name badges.
  • If the conference is being held locally, there will always be some people who will not register but will turn up on the day and expect you to have a name badge for them…so take spares.
  • If you are supplying your own A/V you should always take a spare of everything as something always breaks at the least convenient moment.
  • Make a good connection with the staff at the venue where you are running the event. They can be really helpful in the event of a problem.
  • Arrange with your venue for you to have a spare room which you can use as an office type space. This means that you have somewhere to escape to, discuss any problems which you may be having, keep your bags and store spare stationery etc.
  • Find out from the venue if there are any fire drill expected and what facilities are availalble. Someone will always ask if there is wifi.
  • If people have helped you to run the event, remember to thank them afterwards.
  • Ask for feedback so that you can learn and improve for next time.
  • Finally, enjoy it!

2 thoughts on “Setting up an academic conference

    • Hi @EKSwitaj, I totally agree. I’m quite an introvert so its really important for me to have space to get some quiet time in between all the networking 🙂

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