Planning and Conference Documentation
"Process: In Medias Res" (2014)
We sent our Call for Papers out in early December, 2013. External list-serves included the Film Studies Association of Canada list and Penn's English Department Conference listing.
Upon the deadline for submission, we met as a group having read the abstracts and worked to divide the submissions into Accepted, Maybe, and Rejected groups. Obviously, not everyone agreed immediately on who should be accepted. At this point, using tape and paper, we started building the Preliminary Panel Organization on the walls of the conference room. Knowing how many spaces we had for presentations, and seeing which presenters made the most sense together as panelists, we were able to determine our final accepted speakers. The rejected speakers received this very nice letter.
Throughout the year leading up to the conference, we worked from this Overall Tasklist. This document breaks everything down into groups of related jobs, for which 1-2 people volunteered. These tasks were also all given schedules and dates of completion. It is really important that one person (or a small group) coordinate the schedules in this document early on, as many tasks are dependent on the completion of other areas, and one person setting up all the schedules is crucial as a result.
The Final Program for the conference included sections written by different contributors, like the acknowledgements, the introduction, the description of the speaker's remarks and the HFA program description.
We also had a beautiful poster made for us: