Conference Hosting

Handbook for organizers of SEALS conferences (May, 2015):   pdf  docx
SEALS takes great pride in the informal atmosphere - and equally professional management - of its yearly conference.
Every yearly conference ends with a business meeting, open to all attendees.  Issues discussed include the editorial policy of the SEALS Journal, and the location of the next year's conference.

Bids to host future conferences should be presented at this time, although early discusion is also encouraged.  A successful bid will usually follow the guidelines given below.

Coordination:  Be aware of other conferences in the same region and time-frame, and attempt to coordinate for the convenience of scholars who wish to attend both meetings.

Website:  Arrange a conference website as soon as you can.  It should give the conference date, submission deadlines, and contact person.  JSEALS will permanently archive this site after the conference.  Note that free sites (e.g. geocities.com) and advice or assistance from past hosts (e.g. MPI Jakarta Field Station) are readily available. 

Venue:  The SEALS venue may be either formal (e.g. a hotel) or informal (e.g. university meeting rooms).  People often prefer university venues because it gives them the chance to meet local faculty and students.  What's important to the attendees is that it be easy to get to, and relatively close to affordable hotels.  Please remember that conference participants may be coming from around the world - provide assistance or confirmation in making housing and transportation arrangements if you can.

Call for papers:  Publicize the conference to professional groups, including the Linguist List, the SEALANG-L list, and others.  Make sure the call is in plain text format - not PDF or DOC (some mailing lists will not distribute these). 

Deadlines:  The abstract submission deadline should be about four months before the conference.  Be sure to issue a final reminder / last call about two weeks before the deadline. 

Selection committee:  To keep the quality of the SEALS conferences high, it is a good idea to invite past hosts to participate in screening and accepting presentation abstracts.  People will come to the conference - there is no need to encourage (and accept) papers from every student at the host institution! 

Agenda:  In planning the agenda, try to ensure that parallel sessions will attract difference audiences.  Arranging sessions by topic (rather than language) is a good approach.  Try to make sure that each session chair knows something about the subject area of the papers in that session.  Ask first before appointing session chairs - there may be a conflict with another session. 

Preliminary and final schedule:  Please send a preliminary schedule to all presenters and session chairs about six weeks before the conference.  This gives people time to request schedule changes if necesssary.  Try to post the final schedule about one month before the conference date. 

Breaks:  The most interesting discussions at any conference take place during coffee and meal breaks!  Be sure that there are frequent breaks, and a good variety of refreshments (including tea and coffee).  About 30 minutes each for mid-morning and mid-afternoon breaks is good.  Allow 60 minutes for an on-site lunch, and 90 minutes if people have to find lunch on their own.

Printed materials:  Please make every effort to prepare a printed program, a booklet of abstracts, and a map of the meeting location. 

Fees:  Conference fees should be reasonable; e.g. less than US $100.  Discounted rates for students and/or scholars who do not have conference support are encouraged.


The JSEALS website is maintained by the Center for Research in Computational Linguistics.  Please send requests for additions, corrections, or information to doug.cooper.thailand at gmail.com.  Editorial queries should be directed to paulsidwell at yahoo.com