Time estimate: 10-50 hours during 15-25 weeks
This is a step by step guide with some customer support (we'll help you set it up) for booking a venue and inviting some local EA researchers or academics in related fields to hold lectures for example half a day between 12 and 17. In short, the steps are: finding a venue, applying for funding from CEA, fixing lecturers, fixing food and refreshments and marketing. Of course, one could also just invite one lecturer to a university and call it that. There are different difficulty levels.
A caveat beforehand is that I haven't done a smaller conference myself and I'm currently in the planning phase but I hope to get some feedback if there are any other tips or if any of the steps are wrong. Also if anyone who's reading this has organised a conference it would be great if you could put your name down as a reference for people who want to host a conference in the comments.
Step by step guide
- Contact the local university and ask if you can use their locations to host a conference. This is going to take some work and probably involve talking to some event coordinator if successful. Don't finalise the deal here however as you still need to make sure you get funding.
- Time estimate: 3-20 hours over 3-10 weeks
- (Optional on failing with 1): Find a local venue that is used to having conferences and work out a deal with them. This will most likely cost more money but it will also most likely be easier to arrange than with a university.
- Time estimate: 2-10 hours over 2-8 weeks
- Apply for funding from EA funds or CEA. A recommendation is to apply for about 50% more than you think you will need, if you spend less, then you can give it back and it gives you a good margin of error as you're probably inexperienced with hosting a conference. The time cost here is dependent on what urgency you put to EA funds. We will provide a link to a spreadsheet here in the future.
- Time estimate: 2-6 hours over 3-12 weeks
- Finalise the deals and times with either the venue or the university.
- Time estimate: 1-3 hours over 1-3 weeks
- Invite researchers within EA fields (field is of course dependent on the conference field) to the conference and ask them to speak. Make sure you can pay for their travel and also living if you want to invite someone from further away.
- Time estimate 3-15 hours over 2-4 weeks
- Buy food and refreshments for the event and ensure that you have a good amount of volunteers. Consider using a catering service if you are uncertain whether you can handle it yourself. If you don't have enough volunteers then ask around for help from EAs in your area.
- Time estimate: 2-8 hours over 1-3 weeks
- Market the event using whatever marketing device you found most successful so far. If you're uncertain we recommend tabling, which is setting up a table and giving people free coffee or snacks for you to introduce them to the conference and EA in general. We also recommend ordering an EA banner for this, a good place to find one is the EA student groups handbook This is of course dependent on your audience. It might be a good idea to have some introductory lectures before the event as well.