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Guidelines for those wishing to organise a PALA conference

Timetable

Two and a half years beforehand
  • Contact Pala Chair & Secretary informally and tell them about your wish to organise a conference
  • In the next six months the application will be tested for the seven criteria listed below
Two years beforehand (i.e. during the annual Pala conference)
  • Formal proposal presented to the Pala committee to be discussed during the committee meeting at the start of the conference
  • Proposal put to the membership during the AGM at the end of the conference. If there is more than one proposal, then voting takes place. The membership can also agree to allot the losing bid(s) into slots for later years
In the period 24 months to 12 months before the conference
  • The host university does much of the groundwork in the period between 24 and 12 months before the conference (see the list of seven criteria)
  • The main organiser contacts the Pala Chair/Committee to suggest a list of plenary speakers. The committee gives the organiser input and advice on these choices
  • The main organiser contacts the Pala Chair/Committee to suggest a number of pre-conference workshops. The committee gives the organiser input and advice on these choices
One year beforehand (i.e. during the annual Pala conference)
  • The main organiser updates the Pala Chair confirming that all is going to plan
  • The plenary speakers are confirmed
  • The pre-conference workshops are confirmed
  • The Pala (student) summer school is confirmed: both the topic(s) and teacher(s)
  • The main organiser gives a short presentation of the conference during the AGM
  • The website is also launched at this time, as is the ‘Call for Papers’, so that they can be shown to the membership at the AGM
  • The ‘Call’ must request that abstracts contain the following structural elements (a) a recognisable thesis/statement or research question, (b) an explanation of the methodology, (c) a short reference to emerging results (if applicable), (d) a list of keywords, and (e) a short list of key references (max. 5)
6 months before the conference
  • The abstract deadline closes (If the conference is to take place in July, which is the strong preference of the Pala committee, then January 15 is an appropriate closing date).
In the period 6 months before the conference to the actual conference itself
  • The main organiser keeps the Pala Chair informed of how things are going right up to the start of the conference

The Seven Criteria


The answer to all seven of these conference-organising criteria should be ‘yes’

  1. Is my academic institution willing to back this event and help me organise it (e.g. by giving me a reduced price for renting rooms, accommodation, lecture theatres, security, cleaning, etc)?
  2. Will my institution facilitate website space for the conference webpage?
  3. Will my institution facilitate on-line, credit card, payment facilities (or have I been able to arrange these externally using one of the many ‘conference manager’ websites)?
  4. Do I have a dedicated team of colleagues and graduate students who will help me to plan and run this event efficiently for a two-year period?
  5. Can I get access to subsidies from my department/university or grants at a national level?
  6. Is there a potentially vibrant aspect to the social side of the conference based on its location – and are local businesses and institutions willing to support the event?
  7. Am I prepared to organise a Pala (student) summer school, lasting between 3-5 days that will run either just before or just after the conference?


Publishers

It is very important that as many publishers as possible attend the annual PALA conference. In order to facilitate this, the conference organiser will agree to charge a flat registration fee of 100 pounds per publisher (converted into the local currency). Applying to host a conference means you confirm this agreement. Since the conference organiser has the best overview of the local logistics, he/she will be responsible for publishers attending the conference. Ideally, he/she should appoint someone from within his/her conference team to liaise with the publishers on all conference-related matters. If all publishers know that we have a flat fee to pay each year, then they can take this into account in their annual budgetary planning and will be able to take a quick and simple decision at an early stage to attend the annual PALA conference. This will reduce both their workload and that of the conference organiser by saving a lot of email traffic back and forth.


Financial matters

Please note that it is vital that we keep costs down to enable postgraduates and others to attend, irrespective of their means. For this reason, conferences organised by professional conference companies will probably not be accepted by the committee, and unless local conditions make it an economic choice, nor will conferences at hotels.

Please note that every Pala conference must plan to break even financially. The onus is on the main organizer to facilitate this. Any money left over will be returned to Pala, via the Pala treasurer, for use as student bursaries for the conference the following year. Any deficit in the conference budgetting is the sole responsibility of the conference organiser and should be resolved between him/her and his/her department.

Michael Burke (PALA Chair)