The MeCCSA Executive Committee welcomes a detailed proposal including a provisional budget for running the annual conference. The proposal should be based on the following general guidelines.
Guideline delegate numbers
200-250 delegates, including postgraduates. Given that it is difficult to predict with any accuracy the number of delegates, it is advisable that the provisional budget includes several different projections corresponding to different figures of attendance. You should assume that 10-15% of delegates would be postgraduates.
Provision should be made for up to four or five invited speakers whose costs would be met by the conference. For international speakers, you could try to find external funding for their attendance but, in this case, you’d have to plan considerably ahead because of the time lag for funding decisions.
All arrangements on the ground, including registration of delegates are made by host institution. We expect to see realistic administration costs in the budget which take account of costs for technical support (including web support if you intend to have an online registration facility, including payment) and all conference administration.
Conferences are normally held in second/third week of January so we need an indication of the planned dates.
The MeCCSA Annual Conference is a 3-day event commencing on the afternoon of day 1, with a full day 2 and a half or full day on day 3. The conference normally starts with a prestigious keynote speaker or plenary session. The second (full) day also generally includes a keynote speaker or plenary session and closes with a speaker or panel. The rest of the conference is organised in simultaneous parallel thematic panels in break-out rooms. Sufficient time should be provided between sessions for proper breaks as well as for lunch in order to facilitate contacts and exchange among participants.
We welcome ideas for the screening etc. of examples of practice and for extra optional conference social events. There is normally a conference dinner or event on the second evening.
The conference site will be a university or HE institution. It is possible for a university to host the conference at a cultural institution with sufficient capacity but this should be carefully costed into the budget. The venue should include a large room (for keynotes and plenaries) along with up to six breakout rooms with appropriate screening facilities. A central area is required for lunch and other breaks. This area should also be used by or be very accessible to publishers’ stalls. The conference also requires space for the running of MeCCSA’s AGM (held on the second day of the conference) and the running of MeCCSA associated network meetings. Appropriate areas for social events such as venue for the conference dinner and for the exhibition of conference poster submissions should be considered. While the panels and keynotes should take place at the conference site, a limited number of sessions and events can be organised in another site or location if absolutely necessary.
The conference can be residential or non-residential. In both cases, we need an indication of what the in-house accommodation contains as well as suitable hotel accommodation nearby, together with the a note of costs and any special offers. The conference venue should be close to a varied choice of accommodation (hotels, university rooms etc.) with sufficient capacity for all participants and within easy travelling distance from the conference site. The area should also be easy to reach by public transport.
Conference delegate prices
The registration rates need to be indicated with provision of reductions for postgraduates. It is advisable that a day rate be kept relatively high to encourage full attendance. Conference dinner is often separately charged. Pricing will be confirmed before advertising the event but needs to be planned in the provisional budget. You should include fee options for attendance on the full day only (day 2) as well as the conference as a whole.
There should be a designated conference leader and organising team. The MeCCSA Executive Committee includes an experienced conference organising team who will provide support to the conference host but will not be involved in day-to-day operations and decisions. However, as this is a MeCCSA badged event, we need to be involved in discussions about processes such as criteria for paper acceptance, potential keynote speakers, plenary topics and so on. Such decisions are therefore discussed regularly at the Executive Committee meetings and managed by the MeCCSA conference committee which includes representatives from the host institution as well as MeCCSA Executive members. The Executive Committee will regularly require a timetable of the entire project, a full budget plan, which should be kept up to date and accessible to the MeCCSA Executive Treasurer if required.
The conference should ideally make a profit so that the initial budget should be based on at least a breakeven position. MeCCSA policy is that all profits (and losses) are allocated 50%/50% between MeCCSA and the host institution.
MeCCSA has a website, association online newsletter and mailing lists but we welcome other costed ideas for publicising the conference.
The conference should appeal to the full range of academic interests of MeCCSA members across the fields of media, cultural and communication studies, so we would not agree to those which are too narrowly themed. However, we welcome input from the hosts about distinctive events within the conference which relate to their expertise and research interests e.g. guest speakers, screenings, identification of particular topics or strands.
Do list any particular attractions of your area including any cultural institutions associated with film, television or the media. Past conferences have featured receptions in film theatres, museums or other such venues.
Year of event and planning
We like to identify hosts as far in advance as possible. Planning generally starts at least a year in advance of the conference. We invite proposals to host the annual conference two years ahead of the event, so you should indicate whether you are interested in a specific year or could be flexible.
Please keep in mind costs when selecting keynote and plenary speakers. If you are planning international speakers, please bear in mind applying for external research funding and plan this into your schedule, Events usually generate modest income from publishers’ stalls. Some conference organisers have secured modest funding from local cultural bodies but all ideas for income-generation are welcome.
Expressing interest in hosting the conference
To conclude, our annual conference is a major national event that attracts international delegates, providing a significant opportunity for scholars in our field to share research, debate, network and socialise.
Any expression of interest should be framed in a proposal sent to Professor Natalie Fenton, Chair of MeCCSA, (firstname.lastname@example.org), copied to Professor Anita Biressi, Chair of MeCCSA Activities Sub-Committee, (email@example.com).
The Executive Committee will keep in touch with you about when your proposal will be discussed and advise you as soon as possible of our decision.
Thank you on behalf of the MeCCSA Executive Committee for your interest and we look forward to your proposal.