Sharing best practices approaches to organising a conference

By Anne Hallinan, UCD School of Music

A key achievement as the sole administrator in the UCD School of Music in 2014 was my central role in the successful organising of a national conference (Society for Musicology of Ireland), and an international conference (Music, Marxism and the Frankfurt School). I was the primary facilitator between the conference organisations/organisers and conference venues and I ensured that all the key steps and protocols to be implemented at pre-conference setup, planning stage, delivery and post-conference were carried out, and that the conference ran efficiently on the day. The feedback received from national and international delegates, and staff was very positive.

An opportunity arose to apply for an Staff Erasmus Exchange and I proposed to develop a package on ‘Best Practice Approaches to Conferencing’ that could be shared with administrative staff. I was successful in being awarded a Universitas 21 travelling fellowship and headed off for one month to the Centre for the Performing Arts, University of the Western Cape (UWC), Cape Town in July 2015. This was truly a great opportunity to represent UCD School of Music and it allowed me to initiate collaborative links between both universities that explored future exchange opportunities for students and staff. This experience provided me with a unique skill set and helped improve and strengthen my capacity to work effectively and professionally with students, and staff in academic and administrative units within UCD. 

Recently, I attended an Agile Community of Practice workshop on the Lean approach to problem solving. A staff member in my group presented a problem where she had to organise a conference for the first time. She asked if anyone was familiar with a How to Organise a Conference guide for staff. I was able to share my approaches to conferencing and as a team we designed a process map that highlighted the process steps, outputs, requirements, customers, inputs and suppliers. My Best-Practice Approaches to Conferencing was the solution and I would like to share this as a template and make it available to all UCD staff. You can download it here (log in via UCD).