EAA-Guidelines No. 4.10
Last updated: 17 October 2016
Guidelines for organisers of sessions and discussion sessions at the 23rd Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists 2017, Maastricht
Proposing a session or discussion session
1. When considering a proposal for a session or discussion session (see below (ad 3) for the distinction between both formats), please evaluate carefully what the issue is you want to address and its relevance to colleagues at a European level.
2. Mono-national (discussion) sessions of any sort are discouraged and disapproved of by the Scientific Committee. Individual papers in languages other than English will be accepted but must be comprehensible to an English-speaking audience; the abstract and PPT presentation must be in English.
3. Please consider the format best suited for your purpose. The Maastricht meeting allows experimentation with regard to session formats. This is to give more room to discussion and dialogue. Session organisers are invited to think about this explicitly. Sessions will be labelled as either (A) ‘Session’ or (B) ‘Discussion session’:
A session lasts a half day (4.15 hours, including two 15 minutes breaks) and normally consists of a maximum of 14 15-minute presentations (although flexibility should be given to individual session organisers to reduce the length of time allowed for each paper in order to include more papers), including discussion, introductory and closing comments. These concern a well-defined theme and may be submitted together by the organiser.
In cases where sessions are partly open when submitted, additional papers can be proposed after the session has been accepted. Where insufficient papers have been proposed a session may be cancelled or merged with another one by the Scientific Committee after the deadline for abstract submissions. It is possible to extend a session to one day (9.45 hours, including four 15 minutes breaks and one 1.15 hours lunch break) including up to a maximum of 28 15-minute presentations. All other rules for a half-day session apply. While session organisers can apply for a one day session, the final decision on the format allocated is with the Scientific Committee.
Additional Sessions are created either top down or bottom up. They are ‘top down’ when a specific theme is proposed by the Scientific Committee and members are invited to contribute papers in the first call for papers. They are ‘bottom up’ when a theme is identified by the Scientific Committee among papers proposed by members outside the context of a regular session. These are then grouped into a session and the Scientific Committee appoints a suitable chairperson. The task of instructing presenters in a general session is also a duty of the Scientific Committee.
B. Discussion session.
The format of a ‘Discussion session’ is not fixed. Organisers are invited to create sessions with a key-note speaker with contributions from discussants and discussion; sessions with pre-circulated papers (with the sessions focussing on discussion only); sessions with presentations of six minutes and 40 seconds and twenty slides (so-called PechaKucha); (thematic) poster sessions; round tables; or field sessions. Organisers have also the opportunity to define a format of their own. Within ‘discussion sessions’ new roles should be explicitly identified: session organiser, key-note speaker and discussant. Abstracts of all presentations and contributions will be published in the abstract book.
A session with a key-note speaker lasts a quarter or half day. Please be sure the key-note speaker is an outstanding researcher within the field or theme addressed. Ideally the key-note paper is available a month before the beginning of the meeting so discussants can prepare beforehand. The contributions of discussants should not exceed 5 to 10 minutes. Ample time should be given to a general discussion.
A session with pre-circulated papers lasts half a day. Papers should circulate amongst presenters a least one month beforehand. The session organiser is responsible for the circulation of papers amongst presenters (in pdf format). Participants to the conference will be able to download papers from a secured part of the website of the EAA meeting. Sessions focus on discussion only.
A session with papers of six minutes and 40 seconds and twenty slides (PechaKucha) lasts half a day and focuses on an extended discussion. A PechaKucha is a presentation style in which 20 slides are shown for 20 seconds each; 6 minutes and 40 seconds in total. A PechaKucha session includes 8 to 14 presentations. Sessions focus on discussion.
A poster session consists of a group of posters organised around a specific theme and submitted together by a poster session organiser. Posters will normally be displayed for the duration of the meeting, but there will be a specific time slot in the program for specially prepared sessions in front of the posters if wished for. Poster sessions focus on the dialogue between author and his/her audience.
A round table is an interactive event organised around a specific and tightly focused theme. Formal presentations are kept to a minimum and normally consist only of opening and closing remarks so that an open discussion is encouraged. Round tables are to be held in small rooms, with a maximum number of 30 participants and a seating arrangement suitable for general participation in the discussion.
A closed round table differs from a round table in that participation is by invitation only. A maximum of two closed round tables can be accommodated per annual meeting. If need be, this type of event can be held in addition to the maximum number of parallel events.
A field session provides the opportunity for archaeologist from the vicinity of Maastricht – Aachen – Liège to discuss research issues on site. Please make sure that the issue you want to address is relevant to colleagues at a European level. Sessions should include particpants from more than one country. A field session lasts a half day or a day depending on distance and the number of presenters. Organisers are asked to raise funds for travel and lunch. Please contact the local organisers for the organisation of field sessions.
Other formats. Organisers of discussion sessions are free to adopt any other format. The format should be described in the registration of the session. The suggested format is subject to the approval of the Scientific Committee.
Committee and Working Party meeting.
EAA Working Parties and Committees are invited to hold committee meetings during the EAA Annual Meeting, as long as suitable rooms are available; these should preferably be held on the Wednesday, before the Opening Session in order to reduce the pressure on rooms. Those EAA Working Parties and Committees that wish to hold such a meeting should contact the Secretariat at least 2 months before the Annual Meeting, specifying the requested time and room capacity, in order that suitable arrangements may be made.
EAA Working Parties and Committees are also invited to organise academic Sessions and Round Tables; these are subject to the normal refereeing process but will be explicitly labelled as having been organised by the relevant EAA Working Party and Committee.
4. Also consider the appropriate balance, whether you want all papers chosen by you, all papers found by a call or something in between.
5. Approach colleagues interested in the theme, ascertain their willingness to contribute a paper and do not forget to verify their membership status. Do remember that (discussion) sessions should have contributors from at least two different countries. Please note that the EAA Secretariat is not normally capable of assisting you in finding suitable persons, but you may use other means of communication such as TEA or the EAA-website. If you do not intend to take the chair yourself, invite a chairperson. (Discussion) sessions, in general, cannot be repeated or continued from one meeting to another. Only in rare cases, when the Scientific Committee is made aware of a strong interest amongst members, can exceptions be made.
6. Please note that the EAA does not normally allow one person to organise more than one (discussion) session or round table. Organisers may, however, be involved with another event as co-organiser(s).
7. Submit a proposal to the Annual Meeting Organisers explaining the theme and goals and your preferred format (session, discussion session, or working party meeting, see above). You may choose to include all or just some of the presenters but please remember that well-focused themes with a complete set of speakers will be preferred. Make sure you observe all deadlines set by the organisers.
8. If your (discussion) session did not have all the speakers when submitted, co-operate with the Scientific Committee in completing it. You may yourself propose additional presenters and the Committee may propose some from among the papers offered by members.
9. (Discussion) session organisers are responsible for preparing the complete programme of their session and for sending the abstracts of all presentations to the local organisers for inclusion in the conference abstracts book.
10. Please note that as organiser it is your responsibility – and yours alone – to ascertain that all presenters are registered and have fully paid for the meeting by deadlines set by the organisers. Failure to do so may result in the removal of a presenter or even in the cancellation of your session.
Planning the session or discussion session
11. (Discussion) session organisers should stay in contact with the local organisers for any changes to the programme, equipment needed, consultations on the size of room where the session will be held, potential dates, etc. Session organisers should respect the deadlines provided by the local organisers.
12. Communicate with the speakers about the way you intend your session to run, give them any necessary instructions, and in any case make sure all your presenters have read the ‘Notes for speakers’ (EAA-Guideline No. 4.9) which will be circulated by the organisers before the conference. Ask about desired equipment.
13. When programming your session and allotting times to papers, bear in mind that although 14 / 28 papers are the average number allowed, you need time for an introduction, changeover between speakers, and discussion.
14. Prepare an introduction to the session or discussion session that sets the papers into context, explaining where the (discussion) session will lead and why the papers are set in the order they are. Also prepare some links to go between the papers to lead the audience through the (discussion) session rather than be confronted with a series of apparently disjointed presentations.
15. Be prepared for the discussion element of the (discussion) session. Have a series of themes and points that you can draw on to direct the discussion rather than just expect it to take off of its own accord. It is also useful to be able to call on specific members of the audience to contribute if the discussion is a bit slow or needs moving on to another topic. Such people need to be warned in advance that you might call on them for a comment; do not call on people you have not consulted.
16. When relevant (when the format is that of a working party meeting, usually when it is a round table and in exceptional cases for a (discussion) session) ensure that you have someone to take notes and prepare a report or proposal for the Annual Business Meeting.
17. There is the possibility that papers from (discussion) sessions may be suitable for publication in the EAA’s European Journal of Archaeology (EJA) or that the whole session may be published in the THEMES monograph series. Please contact the Editor of the EJA or the Editors of the THEMS in advance of the conference, or as soon as possible after it, if you are considering this option (see http://www.e-a-a.org/eja.htm; http://www.e-a-a.org/themes.htm). Any conference papers submitted for publication by EAA will be subject to the normal editorial conditions, including external peer review.
Before the session or discussion session
18. Make sure you check with the Registration Office to verify that all presenters have indeed arrived at the Meeting. If you have speakers you do not know in person, please make sure you meet them well before your (discussion) session is scheduled, preferably on a previous day.
19. Familiarise yourself with the room your session will be held in and the equipment available. There will be a technician on hand through the session to assist with visual aids.
20. If possible, arrange a meeting of all presenters beforehand to go through the schedule and any other relevant items.
21. Brief speakers on how you will indicate to them that their allotted time has expired, and how you will be handling questions and discussion.
22. Ensure speakers have given their PowerPoint presentations to the technician. These should be loaded in due time before the (discussion) session begins.
23. Make sure all your speakers are present before the (discussion) session starts and that they know the ‘running order’ of speakers and for how long they are expected to speak.
During the session or discussion session
24. Remember that it takes several minutes for the change-over between papers; during this time the chairperson is the link, thanking the previous speaker and introducing the next.
25. Remember that participants at the Meeting are there as individuals, not as spokespersons for the organisations that employ them (unless they specifically indicate to the contrary). Be prepared to divert pointed questions from participants should they attempt to solicit views about the policies of particular organisations from individuals.
26. During the discussion/question element of the (discussion) session, request that those asking questions or making points introduce themselves to the audience – this helps people make contact with one another. Make sure that those participating in the discussion address and are audible to the whole audience and wait for the microphone to arrive if there is one. A private discussion between the speaker and someone in the front row helps nobody!
27. Remember to thank all contributors in an appropriate way.
After the session or discussion session
28. Prepare a report on the results of a round table or working party meeting and ensure that any proposals to be put before the AMBM are submitted in writing to the Vice-President or Secretary of the EAA at the earliest possible moment; in any case, such material has to be delivered by 12.00 on the day of the AMBM.
29. In case of a report and/or proposal resulting from your (discussion) session, your presence at the AMBM is required. If you are prevented from attending, make sure a colleague will be present who is fully aware of all aspects and notify the Vice-President of this. Also, consult with the President about the eventual need for an additional, oral explanation. If so, prepare an oral presentation for the AMBM that is as short and to the point as possible.
30. Session organisers are responsible to summarize (discussion) sessions as well as to draw and communicate conclusions from their (discussion) sessions. The appointment of a secretary could be helpful in this regard. Communication of conclusions shall be done by publishing a report on the session in TEA, by offering recommendations to the EAA Executive Board or by publishing a selection of contributions in a refereed journal or an edited volume. Please alert all presenters in your session that EAA will keep the presentations’ abstracts on file / in a repository.