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Organisation of conferences

Organizing a conference or workshop is time-consuming yet important work.
A. Pick dates and time. Decide on dates that work with you and your co-organizers. Avoid dates and times that many people expect to be spending with family—e.g., national holidays, school breaks, etc.

B. Choose a venue. Decide on a venue (e.g., remotely via video conference, in-person at a conference center, etc.). If planning an in-person conference/workshop, try to choose a location that people would want to visit even if they weren’t conferencing. (This will help secure enough attendees to pay for the costs.)


C. Budget. Determine the cost of registration based on the total costs of organizing the conference or workshop so that you can plan to secure enough funding.

D. Honorariums. If you are inviting a couple high-profile speakers, you will almost certainly need to pay them an honorarium. You can ask colleagues that have given invited presentations how much the honorarium needs to be.

E. Reimbursing speaker costs. Invited speakers will expect to have their costs reimbursed by the conference/workshop organizers: all transportation, lodging, and food.

F. Venue costs. For example, cost of video conferencing software, website hosting, conference center rates, catering rates, etc.

G. Apply for funding from non-profit sources.

H. Booking. Secure the venue, catering, software licenses, travel costs for invited speakers, etc.

I. Event announcement and/or call for proposals. Post the conference/workshop information on all of the websites, email listservs, Facebook groups, etc. that potential attendees might use. Give them all the information they need to decide if they can attend: date, time, location, etc. If people can submit proposals to present at the event, then provide a deadline for proposal submissions, and an estimate of the date that you expect to inform them of the decision to accept or reject their proposal. Give them enticing information, if you have any—e.g., desirable location, prominent figures in the field who have agreed to attend/present, etc.

J. Peer review. If people submit proposals to present something, then you will need to invite people to review those proposals.

K. Program announcement. Announce the program on all of the websites, email listservs, Facebook groups, etc. that potential attendees might use.

L. Include dates and times for each session.

M. Include the people presenting in each session, with informative titles for their presentations.

N. Include information about how to register (and cost of registration, if applicable).

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