When you’re sitting at a conference, listening to the chair give his or her spiel about who they’d like to thank and why and how the committee was great, you’re probably like me….wishing they’d finish up rapido and let us all get on with the business at hand, namely the sharing of ideas and delivering of papers. Its like at the cinema, the trailers might be interesting, but they’re not the real reason you went there in the first place!
However after a few months working with the committee in Galway 2016, I have to admit, the credits have their place in the shake-up too. A competent team behind/beside you will save your bacon and sanity in one fell swoop! A team comprised of solid, dependable, innovative and hard workers might even allow you to enjoy the process! In Galway I would like to think we have that combination well mixed in. Its important to enjoy life, sure even the Big Fella kicked back as well…
Now wouldn’t THAT make for an interesting paper!
Since we last spoke, the committee and myself have all been hard at work on IHSA 2016. Documents, updates and a seemingly endless supply of pedantic edits (my own pedanticism) have been flying across the net and people have been expressing opinions, choosing menu options, wandering corridors looking at rooms, pricing suppliers and determining which coffee is best! Ask anyone, I’m an awful coffee snob; if I have to drink it on the 19-21 February 2016, then it will at least be decent swill! We’re working on hotels and other accommodation options to try and get the best deal for attendees and to get as much bang for your hard earned bucks as possible!
I am becoming convinced that it is the nuts and bolts, the unseen spade work, that can make or break a conference. You can have a Nobel Laureate give you keynote, you can have the most amazing dinner and lunches, but if your budget is blown sky-high, if your hot beverages are well, not hot, or if your attendees have no idea what’s going on, then your perfect 10 will be heading in the opposite direction! And despite what anyone tells me (or you too), it does take a full year to do it properly. Now I’m not saying you’ll be at it 24/7, but you will give it a few hours every week in some capacity, even if its writing a blog like this, or emailing caterers, or sorting out a workshop. To approach matters in any other fashion would be to invite a downward spiral which could be hard to pull out of. To quote the late, great George Harrison, ‘It takes time/a whole lot of precious time/it takes patience and time/to do it, to do it right!’
And with all this behind-the-scenes activity, I feel that it is vitally important to keep in touch with you, the public and potential attendees, to let you know that we’re working away and that if you give us your weekend in February next year, then we’ll give you a truly great, memorable experience with some lasting memories and positive outcomes! This year we hope to have even better outcomes than previously, with greatly expanded media of presentation, legacy plans and greater than ever avenues of participation.
So keep the faith and we hope to have some great testimonials coming out in the next few weeks or so! As usual if you’ve any questions please feel free to email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or leave us a comment below.
The conference should prove to be a roaring success with the ideas we have coming on stream, the advances in technology and research that makes them possible and as always with the fantastic standard of research evident in the 3rd Level Institutions both in and outside the island of Ireland. Last year’s conference organisers in the University of Limerick did a fine job in showcasing some of the best papers to date and a hearty congratulations must go to them for their efforts in that regard!
This blog will serve as a medium not only for us to communicate with you regarding the Call for Papers and other official matters, but it is envisaged will also allow for a less formal, more collegial conversation to emerge. To that end I am delighted to announce that our Vice-Chair, Martin O’Donoghue, has agreed to write a blog on this page. Martin’s work will cover not only the planning and running of the conference behind the scenes, but will also touch on aspects of writing abstracts and papers, research difficulties, thoughts and opinions on events of historical significance as well as a wide variety of other related matters. I also hope to make contributions here and there and would hope too that our other committee members would contribute to the conversation; this year’s committee has both Undergraduates and Postgraduates as well as non-History students considering presenting a paper for the first time. I’m sure you’ll agree that this will provide us with a rich seam of insight.
That’s all I have for the moment folks. Please be sure to follow our progress on Twitter, Facebook and here. If you would like to subscribe to our email, then please just email email@example.com