The LCCT is run by volunteers. There are, broadly defined, three primary roles played by people involved in the conference: conference organisers, stream coordinators, and conference participants.
Many people choose to take on more than one role, or elements from roles other than their primary one. Stream coordinators, for example, are encouraged to help with aspects of the conference’s organisation; and many have become involved with the year-to-year organisation of LCCT through doing so.
The following summarises how we work toward the annual conference. For any prospective conference organisers and participants, it also helps to clarify what is involved, the responsibilities that they would adopt, and what distinguishes the organisation of this conference from others.
Conference organisers – The LCCT Collective
The LCCT Collective is the primary organising and decision-making body of the conference as a whole. It is comprised of a diverse group of academics (primarily based in London) who volunteer to oversee the maintenance and development of the conference from each year to the next. The Collective drafts the initial call for streams and make the selection from those proposals that will form the call for papers. The Collective also: maintain the conference email account and website; liaise with the institutions which host the conference; organise meetings; fundraise; write documents such as the one that you’re reading, and so on!
The LCCT Collective meet regularly in central London throughout the year and we encourage people to get in touch if they would like to be involved with this level of the conference organising.
Stream coordinators play a key role in both organisational elements of the conference as well as shaping the overall academic content of the conference.
Streams are proposed in response to the Call for Streams, which are released before Christmas and reviewed by the conference organisers. Those which are accepted are included in a later Call for Papers (CFP). Potential conference participants (see below) respond to the CFP by proposing papers, presentations, and talks for inclusion in one of the streams. A stream is often made up of multiple conference sessions, each of which includes a small number of papers, presentations, or a roundtable discussion coalescing around a central topic or question.
Coordinating a stream involves some vital administrative responsibilities. The conference emerges through collaborative processes and evolving discussions. Stream coordinators will be in regular contact with the conference organisers and ready to keep the organisers up to date with their stream’s progress. They will also be in contact with those presenting as part of their stream. Stream coordinators will meet one another at the ‘Big Meeting’ (described below). Where possible, the conference organisers look forward to meeting the stream coordinators informally ahead of this.
Proposing a Stream and the Paper Selection Process
Once a stream has been proposed it is common for the Collective to get in touch with those who have proposed it to discuss possible alterations or minor edits.
An effective stream proposal enables conversations and discussions to emerge organically. This means it should engage people working from a number of disciplines/traditions. In the past, conference sessions included speakers from various disciplinary backgrounds. Because potential participants propose papers in response to the stream proposal, the stream’s final form often differs slightly from how it was originally envisaged.
Hence, stream coordinators do not need to propose an already complete selection of presentations or speakers for their stream, although they may of course have some names in mind already. As part of our commitment to providing a conference that is accessible and open to emergent thought it is important that the organisation of the stream and the paper selection process encourages submissions and responds to those submissions without privileging speakers an organiser may already have in mind. The stream proposal should be written so that it can be included as a page in the Call for Papers. Some sample stream proposals are included at the end of this document.
In the run up to the conference, alongside the organisers, the stream coordinators should also be prepared to solve any practical issues that arise with their stream or with their participants. On the days of the conference itself, stream organisers are strongly encouraged to help with a few practical tasks, such as helping to man the front desk where conference registration takes place.
One of the most important dates in the preparation of the conference has become known as the ‘Big Meeting’. All stream coordinators (or at least one representative from each stream) should be present at this meeting, which is normally held in late March or early April in central London. This meeting allows all the organisers and coordinators to meet each other in person. As a face-to-face meeting, it also gives stream coordinators an opportunity to get more involved in wider aspects of conference organisation.
At this meeting, stream coordinators, having reviewed all the paper proposals they have received in response to the call for papers, outline which proposals they’d like to accept and reject. Based on these proposals, they then outline how they’d like their stream to appear at the conference: how these papers would fit together into coherent conference sessions. They will have to prepare this outline ahead of the meeting so that everyone present has a chance to consider it. From these outlines statistics are generated indicating the acceptance/rejection rate for each stream, to allow for a comparison between streams and highlight any anomalies.
This meeting gives other stream coordinators the chance to take up any papers initially rejected from any other – someone may think that a proposal fits better into their stream than it might elsewhere. The meeting also helps to affect a peer-review process; the quality of the proposals received by all the streams is made transparent. The final form of the conference streams is not confirmed until this meeting has taken place.
Given the significance of this meeting, it is vital that prospective stream coordinators indicate in their initial proposals any potential difficulties they may have in attending the ‘Big Meeting’ (for example, if the coordinator is based abroad). The coordinator’s involvement would then be discussed with the conference organisers on an individual basis.
“Conference participants” describes those who give papers, present their research, and/or are involved in roundtable discussions (etc.). This is very familiar conference role.
However, with LCCT’s emphasis on speaking across established disciplinary boundaries something additional should be said. The conference organisers try to schedule conference sessions with plenty of time for discussion after the papers (sometimes 2, though normally 3 or 4 papers). It is hoped that this helps foster a collaborative ethos, in which conversations develop between participants and between their respective disciplines.
For this reason, ahead of the conference some stream coordinators like to discuss with their participants the rationale behind their session (why a particular participant’s paper has been scheduled as part of a specific session). Some coordinators even get their participants into discussions with one another via email before the conference gets underway.
Conference participants propose to speak as part of one of the streams or, alternatively, they are welcome to propose a paper without any stream being specified, as part of a “general stream”. The Call for Papers is normally released in late January/early February.
The organisers often aim to record some of the conference sessions so that these presentations can be made available on the conference website. Being recorded is opt-in; we won’t make anything available without your explicit permission being given.
Given the scope and ethos of the conference there are no keynote speakers.