Hosting a Conference

Information for Organizing a New England Renaissance
Conference

 

Each year, New England-area scholars plan a New England Renaissance Conference and host it at a local campus.  By organizing a conference, scholars can develop research and teaching interests and help build community among colleagues in the region.  To learn about how to plan a conference, please review the guidelines below.  For more information, please contact NERC co-presidents Touba Ghadessi (ghadessi_touba@wheatonma.edu and Yuen-Gen Liang (yglhistory@gmail.com).

Guidelines for Conference Organizers

A New England Renaissance Conference should:

  • Address a theme that appeals to a variety of scholars
  • Include presentations from multiple historical regions
  • Include presentations from multiple disciplines
  • Open the opportunity to present to New England-area scholars

Organizers of a New England Renaissance Conference are encouraged to:

  • Circulate calls for papers via the NERC listserv and other channels
  • Include graduate student presenters and consider graduate student panels
  • Consult the NERC’s archive of programs to learn about recent themes and formats
  • Consult with past organizers regarding budgeting and other organizational matters
  • Explore alternative session formats such as workshops, roundtables, etc.

Practical logistics

  • Conference organizers should submit a proposal including an abstract describing the theme, its contribution to the field, its impact on the New England scholarly community, and a timeline for organizing
  • The president or appropriate dean of the host institution should issue a formal invitation to the NERC president(s) to hold a conference on their campus
  • Organizers create their own organizing structure (formal, informal, one-person, committee, etc.). The organizers accept responsibility for producing the conference
  • Organizers should recruit speakers.  A keynote may also be invited if desired.
  • In addition to scholarly sessions, the conference should also include: A) staffed desk for registration, name tags, programs, etc.  B) One meal (whether dinner or luncheon) for those who have made reservations.  C) For a Friday afternoon through Saturday conference, some provision should be made for entertainment (e.g., music or theater) on Friday evening.  For a Saturday-only conference, there should be an opportunity for informal conversation over refreshments following the last formal event.
  • The organizers should seek institutional support to help underwrite the conference.  The organizers may include the cost of dinner or luncheon as part of a modest registration fee (preferably discounted for students).  Please note that NERC has no operating budget and therefore cannot contribute to any cost of the conference.

Suggested timeline:

  • At least nine months before the conference: establish a weekend date for the conference and publish the date in appropriate listservs, newsletters, and websites of learned societies
  • At least four months before: circulate a CFP
  • At least two months before: publicly announce the date and place of the conference
  • At least three weeks before: publicly distribute program information including: A) information on conference sessions; B) registration form including line-items to pre-pay for optional meals or entertainment; C) travel instructions; D) information on local options for overnight lodging.
  • Following the conference, the program director will forward to the NERC President a file (electronic, paper, or both) of the NERC program.

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