EAA-Guidelines No. 4.8
Last updated: November 2011
Guidelines for organisers of sessions and round tables
Proposing a session or round table
1. When considering a proposal for a session, please evaluate carefully what the issue is you want to address and its relevance to colleagues at a European level.
2. Mono-national sessions are discouraged and disapproved of by the Scientific Committee. The session should normally have organisers from at least two countries and speakers should normally be from at least three countries. Individual papers in languages other than English will be accepted but must be comprehensible to an English-speaking audience; an abstract in English must be provided.
3. Please consider the format best suited for your purpose: a (regular or general) session or a round table (see the EAA Annual Meeting Guidelines on ‘Sessions and formats’).
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 sessions should normally have contributors from at least three 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. Sessions should not normally 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 session or round table. Organisers may, however, be involved with one other session as chair or discussant.
7. Submit a proposal to the Annual Meeting Organisers explaining the theme and goals and your preferred format (regular session, general session, round table, working party meeting or poster session). 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 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. 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 deadline. Failure to do so may result in the removal of a presenter or even in the cancellation of your session.
11. Be aware that in the event that an insufficient number of papers are proposed or accepted for your session, it may be cancelled.
Planning the session
12. 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.
13. 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. 4.8) which will be circulated by the organisers before the conference. Ask about desired equipment.
14. When programming your session and allotting times to papers, bear in mind that although 10 papers are the maximum number allowed, you need time for an introduction, changeover between speakers, and discussion.
15. Prepare an introduction to the session that sets the papers into context, explaining where the 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 session rather than be confronted with a series of apparently disjointed presentations.
16. Be prepared for the discussion element of the 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.
17. 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 session) ensure that you have someone to take notes and prepare a report or proposal for the Annual Business Meeting.
18. There is the possibility that papers from sessions or round tables may be suitable for publication in the EAA’s European Journal of Archaeology (EJA) in whole or part. Please contact the Editor of the EJA 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). Any conference papers submitted for publication in the EJA will be subject to the normal editorial conditions, including external peer review.
Before the session or round table
19. 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 session is scheduled, preferably on a previous day.
20. 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.
21. If possible, arrange a meeting of all presenters beforehand to go through the schedule and any other relevant items.
22. Brief speakers on how you will indicate to them that their allotted time has expired, and how you will be handling questions and discussion.
23. Ensure speakers have given their PowerPoint presentations to the technician as specified by the local organisers. These must be loaded in due time before the session begins.
24. Make sure all your speakers are present before the session starts and that they know the ‘running order’ of speakers and for how long they are allowed to speak.
During the session or round table
25. 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.
26. 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.
27. During the discussion/question element of the 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!
28. Remember to thank all contributors in an appropriate way.
After the session or round table
29. Prepare a report on the results of a round table or working party meeting and ensure that any proposals to be put before the ABM 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 ABM.
30. In case of a report and/or proposal resulting from your session, your presence at the ABM 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 ABM that is as short and to the point as possible.
31. You will be asked to prepare a short written report on the session for publication in TEA.