Conference checklist

Preliminaries (before Calls, invitations to plenaries, etc.)

Issues to discuss/consult with the Executive Committee

  • possible dates (check so as not to conflict with other SLA conferences)
  • the organising structure
  • the venue(s)
  • the procedures for vetting abstracts
  • possible plenary speakers (3 out of 4 should be European, current members of Eurosla or assigning for membership with the conference)
  • type of programme envisaged (e.g., how many parallel sessions)
  • local co-editor of the yearbook volume
  • the likely registration/conference fee (ballpark)
  • accommodation possibilities
  • access (by plane, etc.)
  • the social dimension of the conference
  • publicity

Budget issues

  • The conference finances are essentially in the hands of the local organisers. However, membership fees are a concern for the erurosla executive committee. It is advised that you keep in close and regular touch with the Eurosla treasurer about budget matters.
  • It is imperative that the Eurosla treasurer receives the membership fees collected during the conference no later than 30 days after the conference.
  • The Eurosla treasurer must also receive an updated membership list from the local organisers DURING the conference. This membership list must contain: name, affiliation, electronic contact address, postal contact address
  • If you hire an agent locally to organise the conference, then it must be made clear in the contract that
    • all conference documentation must be delivered no later than 30 days after the end of the conference;
    • membership fees must be transferred abroad (i.e. to the eurosla treasurer) no later than 30 days after the end of the conference;
    • that membership lists must be made available to the treasurer during the conference.
  • Start investigating and applying for additional funding as soon as possible (University funds, Brussels, etc); consider sponsors for material such as pens, writing pads, etc.
  • Specify already in early calls for papers the methods of payment—which kind of credit cards, bank transfer—who pay the bank fees, deadline for possible refunds, etc.

Scientific aspects

  • consult with the Executive committee about plenary speakers before invitations
  • members on the scientific committee
  • careful time schedules for review processes (abstracts as well as the yearbook), notification of acceptance, etc.
  • review procedures – the vetting procedure is in the hands of the local organisers. In addition to the scientific committee, however, the members of the Executive committee are typically also part of the revewing committee.
  • consider the formats and channels for spreading information about the conference and calls for papers: the web (Linguist list, website, etc.) vs. more traditional forms (posters…). Publicity is extremely important and it may be worth thinking creatively about this.

Student stipends
The Eurosla association grants a number of stipends for students attending the conference. Stipends are granted to students who have had papers accepted and who can show that they do not have sufficient funding to attend the conference without the stipend. The details regarding the number of stipends and the sum awarded are negociated between the local organisers and the EC committee depending on the budget situation of the association. Once that is settled, the stipends and calls for applications should be announced at the same time as the call for papers.

Applications should contain:

  1. a CV
  2. Eurosla membership status
  3. Type and title of presentation
  4. An official document confirming student status
  5. A document showing that the student could not receive full funding support for attending the conference
    If applicants had problems producing documents (especially of type 5) before the conference (because they had no scanner, etc.), we accept if they bring the documents to the conference.

The evaluation of the applications involves:
(1) Checking that the applicants fulfill the main criteria for support (being a student, having a presentation accepted, evidence showing that they had no or insufficient support from other parties).
(2) Ranking applications based on (a) type of presentation (paper/poster; first/2nd author), and (b) the rating of the abstract with the aim to identify those 15 students who most need & deserve financial support.
The stipends are handed over at an official ceremony during the conference (part of the Opening ceremony or the AGM) in cash.

The Yearbook

  • A local co-editor should be assigned early after consultation with the Executive Board.
  • Note that, as you invite the plenary speakers, you should mention that the plenaries are expected to be published in the Eurosla Yearbook.

Local organisation

  • Take advice from your University regarding the need for and details for conference insurance (in case of war in Iraq, bird flu in Turkey, broken legs and liability, etc.).
  • assign areas of responsibility and specific tasks to specific individuals or groups in the local organization early on: someone responsible for financial matters, a webmaster, someone in charge of all correspondence, someone in charge of rooms, technical facilities, someone in charge of the reception-help desk, etc.
  • engage the committee members and students helping you right from the beginning, later on it takes too much time to introduce people to the tasks
  • have regular meetings during the preparation year, and make sure updating on the web is regular (the webmaster’s is a tough job as the conference approaches!)
  • organise the conference website and a conference contact email early on (and people responsible for these)
  • make sure that conference information (updated programme, etc.) is disseminated in a straighforward fashion leading up to the conference, preferably on the website.
  • book venues/rooms and staff that comes with venues early
  • contact hotels for pre-reservations very early
  • contact publishers (see separate list) and local bookshops early; do try to convince as many publishers as possible to attend—the Eurosla audience tends to buy a lot of books if given a chance
  • the social programme needs to be planned as early as possible, good places to eat, music, etc. may be booked a year in advance
  • order the credit card terminal, and bank account long beforehand
  • contact teachers and potentially interested participants at surrounding schools, institutions
  • recruit students to work as student guides during the conference (manning the reception, copying handouts, etc.)
  • ask students whether they are willing to host student participants during the conference
  • contact the possible chairs of each session / time slot beforehand
  • contact printers for estimates early (posters, programmes, etc.)
  • programme: As you draw up the conference programme, make sure to schedule meeting time for the Eurosla Executive Committee meeting (between 2 and 3 hours) followed by the Annual General Assembly meeting. The meetings should occur in that order.

Practical things

  • In order to keep correspondence tidy
  • collect all the email and snailmail addresses + phone numbers from the start
  • set up individual folders (one correspondence folder per person) as well as folders organised by topic (e.g. submissions, rejections, lunch, publishers, hotels, etc). This will facilitate keeping track of things.
  • archive your own outgoing correspondence too and file it in the appropriate folders
  •  keep a detailed payment file (participants pay the whole sum of money but you need to list what the money is paid for: conference fee, membership fee, lunch, etc.) otherwise you’ll lose track
  •  ask participants to send a hardcopy + electronic version of the abstract both with and without affiliation (for the reviewers) to avoid becoming a copy shop
  •  inform the applicants about the hotel reservations and the deadlines, inform them about the necessity to check the website regularly
    backup all computer files!

Closer to D-day

  • organise the registration (sufficient number of people to avoid queues), conference bag/maps (staff, contents)
  • organise the reception-help desk and think about
  • staff, hours
  • the services you will offer, e.g. computer and internet access, phone, credit card terminal, copying machine, fax, projectors, bus timetable to venue, taxi phone number, city map, how to find your way, places of interest on a welcome leaflet for participants upon arrival…
  • name tags, lunch/dinner tickets, drinks, poster boards, prepare the official receipts and confirmation of participation for participants
  • make sure there are technical back-up facilities, someone in each room to cater for emergencies (student guides)
  • consider designing a fedback sheet such that participants can vent their opinions and future conferences can mprove.

Satellite events
In recent years, the journal Language Learning has funded a series of Language Learning Roundtable Conferences as satellite events to the yearly Eurosla conference. These have been very successful small-scale mini-conferences or workshop on particular topics. The local convener will be invited to subsequently publish a position paper in the journal. Local organisers must submit an application to Language Learning a year in advance by January 1. The Call for applications (dated January 2006) is included in the Conference Kit.
The application should include:

  • a description of the proposed project, its rationale, and a brief review of the relevant recent literature
  •  the names of the participants, their curricula vitae, and their agreement to attend the conference
  •  abstracts of presentations and academic titles and institutional affiliation of the presenters and discussants

a budget proposal (in US dollars), covering anticipated travel and accommodation costs. It is worthwhile contacting Alister Cumming ahead of time for budget advice given the fluctation of the dollar.