Everything you always wanted to know about organising a conference but were afraid to ask
On the night before our End of Award Event festivities kick off, I’m haunted by the fear that I’ve forgotten something crucial. Now seems a timely moment to blog our ‘to do’ list…
The four of us have already (in no particular order):
Registered the event with Brunel University; Booked Brunel’s photographer and communications coverage; Booked audio recording of the three sessions to turn into a podcast; Prepared a programme for the event; Selected and briefed chairs for the three sessions; Asked someone to turn up early to book people in and ask them to write not just their own name but their favourite celebrity’s name on their badges (#celebbadges); Booked and confirmed all the speakers; Organised overnight accommodation for those speakers who need it; Invited someone to open the event and someone to sum up over drinks; Secured large flat rooms with wheelchair access for the main events and separate friendlier spaces for food and drinks (not easy when you’re competing with graduations and language schools): Advertised the events like crazy using eventbrite, the website and any other lovely people willing to help; Send out emails to participants giving directions, details etc; Organised parking permits for all participants who need them; Found an amazing caterer; Ordered equipment (lots of post-it notes and blu tac, 20 sheets of colour paper, 20 thick colour marker pens, 10 felt tip pens, 100 large white stickers for DIY name badges); Secured use of all available fridges to keep the fruit juice and white wine chilled; Booked a lapel microphone, PA system, theatrical lighting and backdrop for our performance element; Bought a CelebYouth chocolate cake from Ms Cupcake; Prepared materials for participant packs (flyer for project, programme for the day, Telegraph article, participant list, talks/publicity list) and designed a pull-up banner and sent these all to the printroom; Purchased folders for participant packs and celebrity posters to decorate the spaces; Sent one of our mobile numbers to all speakers and to our caterer; Asked for speakers’ permission to record them; Liaised with Brunel press office over a press release; Arranged for signage to help people find the event; Bought plastic cups, plates etc; Dug out the project’s Beyoncé CDs for entertainment; Found someone who’s not at the event to check the caterer has everything he needs; Got a little help from our friends in the shape of a quiz with prizes (#celebquiz); Tried to get a bit of buzz going on Twitter with our hashtag (#celebyouth)
And now for the academic bit – prepare written papers to send in advance to participants and respondents and turn these into spoken presentations with associated activities
So what does tomorrow hold?
Hopefully, it’ll be not too frantic – we just have to arrange guest logins, move furniture around, buy an insane amount of food and drink from Marks and Spencers, make up participant packs, decorate rooms…
And finally, let it all happen, hope it all works and try to relax long enough to enjoy it
Tags: academia, catering, Conference, organisation
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I love the way you use your blog! Good luck!
This event is a master class in organisation. Well done celebyouth team!