I’ve been a bit of a stranger this week because I’ve been one of the coordinators (well, probably fair to say the main coordinator/organizer) for a conference we have here in the English department at EMU, “Extending Conversations.” This year, the theme was “multimedia,” though we meant that in the broadest possible sense– we had panels on sound poetry, “low tech” multimedia, children’s books, video games, etc., etc. The keynote speaker was none other than Dan Anderson. He gave a very thought-provoking speech (he’ll have to remind me of the link at some point), and was just an all-around good egg/good sport about the thing.
From my point of view, it was fun, kinda, I guess. A number of things happened in the last week or so that threatened to derail planned panels, promised helpers, finances and food supplies, etc., etc. I suspect this is par for the course for conference planning. I’m happy that it seemed to have come off relatively well, and that I was able to escape from the event with what I perceived as a majority of attendees being pleased with it all.
It’s not the kind of event that makes me think about ever hosting a much larger conference in my field, though. Though, oddly, the larger scale of that event might make it easier only because (I am only imagining here) there isn’t quite as much of a shoe-string budget and the way that the panels end up getting organized makes it easier to a) pull it all off in general terms, and b) less troublesome to get individual panels to run. Presenting at C&W is somewhat competitive, so, since you have more folks who want to present than can present, you don’t have to worry about panels not “making,” about twisting arms, etc., etc.
But hey, like I said, relatively speaking, I think it went off well. I’ll wish next year’s coordinator all the luck I can and I’ll pass along my wisdom.
And now, I think I’ll probably go to sleep for a while….