During Michaelmas term new scholars, and also many continuing scholars, had a great opportunity to learn from some of the alumni scholars about organising events at the Ertegun House. Organised by the Ertegun Administrator, who coordinated the session, two alumni scholars, Michele Bianconi and Karolina Watroba, and one continuing scholar, Andrew Sanchez, spoke to us about their experiences of organising different types of academic events in a panel discussion. Michele gave us a thorough presentation (complete with a handout checklist!) of the practicalities and issues to consider when organising a large conference over two or three days. Karolina and Andrew presented their experience of approaching well-known academics whom they had never met and inviting them to Oxford and Ertegun House for one-day seminars. After these presentations, the Ertegun Administrator gave us a brief rundown of the various procedures and considerations with regard to the implementation of any ideas we have about events. She then arranged us into three smaller working groups with each of the three scholars presenting taking the lead. This was extremely useful to us as we could discuss some of our budding ideas and ask questions. Both the current Director, Ed Herzig, and the incoming Director, Gervase Rosser, attended the evening.
Panel Participants (from l to r): Karolina Watroba, Andrew Sanchez, Michele Bianconi
We finished this informative evening with a glass of wine and dinner at a local restaurant in true Ertegun fashion (as I am discovering!). All of us who attended found the event illuminating as it brought to the forefront different perspectives and allowed us to think about the broad range of intricacies involved in organising an academic event, big or small. I was so inspired that I have already planned my own two-day conference for late Trinity Term and I am very grateful to the Ertegun Programme for the generous financial and practical support it offers which allows us these unique opportunities.