Guidelines for Session Organisers

Session Design

  • Title: make clear and short.
    • TAG Deva is a conference dedicated to archaeological theory, but that is no excuse for unnecessary and obscure jargon, lack of clarity and integrity in the session’s focus and parameters.
    • Humour, political references and quotes are encouraged, but they must not be tasteless or offensive. Likewise, they must not detract or obscure what the session is about. Popular cultural references might be appropriate to the argument/focus of the session and the Organising Committee will attempt to offer advice on anything that might be problematic.
  • Abstract: 250 words maximum. This also needs to be short and simple and make clear to potential speakers what the session might address in terms of succinct and unambiguous problems/questions to be tackled.
    • Remember you are trying to set up a stall for a debate, not evangelise a narrow perspective;
    • Remember the abstract is there to explain and justify your session AND to attract potential speakers;
    • Avoid citations unless absolutely necessary (your session is a response to a particular strand of literature) or for direct quotes. If you do need to cite, arrange in-text citations in Harvard-style with author-date-pg included. Bibliographic references need to be in Harvard-style following the Antiquity style guide.
  • Parameters and Focus of Sessions: TAG Deva is a multi-period and interdisciplinary conference yet it has a long history of lazily and unhelpfully misusing ‘prehistory’ as a default for cross-period debates. In recent years, there have been justified and relevant period-specific and geographically focused sessions in regions within Britain, Ireland and Europe. However, these need to be strongly justified in each individual case. Session themes should avoid overt disciplinary, chronological and geographical parameters unless absolutely necessary.
  • Format: Identify the format of your session (options 1–4): you are not tied to a standard 20-minute paper format: we are giving you a range of options and the opportunity to augment your session with digital space.
    • Standard format. Half-day session comprising Intro + between 8 and 10 papers, each lasting 15 minutes  + 5 minutes Q&A. Specify Chair and Discussant as required and any differences in duration of talks required;
    • Half-day debate sessions of a series of short talks followed by a General Discussion led by a Discussant. Specify Chair and Discussant as required;
    • Round Table. Precise format is fluid, to be arranged in a small seminar room anticipating an audience of 20 people. Specify Chair and Discussant as required;
    • PechaKucha sessions (between 15 and 25 papers comprised of 20 slides are shown for 20 seconds each. Presentations therefore last 6 minutes and 40 seconds in total). Specify Chair and Discussant as required;
    • Digital Presentations/Posters– instead of a poster session, for TAG Deva there will be the option of digital presentations and posters. Following the format of the 2 successful #PATC Public Archaeology Twitter Conferences, we welcome proposals for half-day and evening Twitter sessions, either on stand-alone themes or ones connected to half-day sessions (options 1-4). Individual digital posters can also be presented and will also be disseminated by Twitter and archived on our website.
  • Applied Archaeological Theory Strand: Please note that we have an explicit strand identified on the website. Please highlight if you wish your session to be included in this strand.

 

Promoting your Session and Inviting Speakers

  • TAG Deva encourages open and inclusive practices in promoting your session;
  • It is your responsibility as session organiser to advertise and promote your session;
  • Do not simply ‘ask mates’ or ‘ask greats’ – this fosters overt biases in age, gender, seniority, ethnicity and the profile of elite institutions;
  • We encourage an open call for papers disseminated via social media;
  • Field enquiries positively: if someone gets in touch with you regarding an idea, if it isn’t what you are looking for, always be polite and courteous and suggest alternative foci for their talk, or alternative sessions;
  • TAG Deva organising committee will not serve as arbiter in disputes between session organisers and potential speakers: session organisers have the final say regarding the composition of their sessions.

 

Accepting and Declining Submissions

  • It is your responsibility to communicate decisions to the individuals;
  • It is best not to accept proposed papers on a first-come, first-served basis. Wait until the deadline has passed and then make a decision regarding which papers you are accepting and which you are declining;
  • Check back to your own session abstract and make sure the proposed titles and abstracts are appropriate;
  • Feel free to ask proposed speakers to clarify/revise their title/abstract if you feel the topic is relevant but requires a shift in focus or content;
  • TAG Deva strongly encourages sessions containing a range of viewpoints and perspectives. Please avoid where possible:
    • ‘mates-only’ sessions of like-minded people you already know;
    • ‘greats-only’ sessions dominated by big names and senior scholars;
    • one-period only sessions – dominated by specialists in a particular period (TAG traditionally suffers from late prehistory dominated sessions);
    • ‘manels’ – male-only panels;
  • Usually we will leave it to your choice who you accept or decline, but it will help assure transparency if you were to send in to TAG Deva a spreadsheet with the names and titles of proposed papers marked with a single-sentence explanation as to why they are being accepted or declined;
  • TAG Deva is not accepting full-day sessions, so plan for a maximum of half-day sessions and craft the format to suit the number of speakers you wish to accept.

 

Crafting and Submitting Your Session Details

  • Ensure all titles and abstracts are appropriate for the session and, clear, concise and grammatically correct;
  • Identify a running order that neither valorises senior academics nor diminishes particular social groups, as well as making sense in terms of the rationale and aims of your session;
  • Identify a Session Chair. Consider choosing a student or early career researcher for this task;
  • Identify a Discussant if required: a final commentator who will identify linked themes between papers to prompt a concluding Q&A session. Consider choosing a student or early career researcher and/or offering a contrasting perspective to that of the Chair;
  • Encourage speakers to register in good time.

 

The Session

  • Ensure you have communicated to speakers the option (if available) to have their presentation recorded on video;
  • Ensure that speakers identify themselves on arrival and (where appropriate) presentations are uploaded to the desktop ahead of the session’s start in order to keep to time;
  • Ensure speakers do not over-run;
  • Ensure the audience has a chance to ask questions, whatever their age, gender, ethnicity, seniority or spatial location in the room;
  • Ensure Q&A does not get dominated by particular individuals and their agendas. In particular, ensure questions are short and clear and do not lead to a lengthy conversation between speakers and audience members that will, in turn, restrict opportunities for others to ask questions;
  • All sessions will have to conform to the TAG Deva social media policy and codes of conduct and language use, as available on our website: https://tagdeva.wordpress.com/.