Future Conferences Task Force

CAA’s conference, the organisation’s primary activity, is a vital part of its mission, bringing together those engaged with computational archaeology from around the world for the exchange of research and ideas as well as making connections. The annual meeting is also essential for growing and maintaining a vibrant community of members. The pandemic, as well as conversations about accessibility, diversity, inclusivity, as well as the environmental impact and financial costs of travel, have brought to the forefront conversations in the academic world about the role and structure of conferences. Thus, this seems like a fitting time to consider how to evolve the CAA conference format, to ensure that the organisation remains well-positioned to support the discipline while leveraging new approaches. 

What is the purpose of the Task Force?

The CAA Executive Steering Committee (ESC) is forming a Task Force comprised of officers, local conference organisers, and members to work together to develop a model for the CAA conference of the future. Building on the input received through the recent membership surveys, the task force will engage in more in-depth conversations about the issues, challenges, and ideas around the annual conference. The goal will be to develop a financially-viable model that balances the needs of the members, local organisers, and the organisation itself.

How will the Task Force work?

The exact structure will depend upon how many interested participants there are. We are hoping to recruit a group of at least 12-15 members willing to roll up their sleeves, to engage in a series of discussions about these complex issues and to think both practically as well as creatively about how to run an international conference in the 21st century. We aim to convene 4-6 hour-long online meetings to discuss different topics and issues as well as to brainstorm ideas. The meetings will be held between mid-May and the end of November. The starting times will be varied to accommodate different time zones, so not everyone may be able to attend every discussion. If we receive significantly more interest, then we will assemble a group representing diverse viewpoints from within the membership to form the core task force. However, all applicants will be invited to participate in at least one online focus-group meeting as well as to contribute ideas and input through an online channel (the exact platform will be determined shortly). 

What is the Timeline for the Task Force?

  • 15 May 2023: Deadline to apply to participate
  • By 23 May: Applicants will be contacted with additional information about the process and the online meeting schedule
  • Late-May through the end of June: We will hold several online meetings to discuss different facets and ideas for organising and running an academic conference. If we receive significantly more than 12-15 participants, then we will convene additional focus-group meetings, in smaller cohorts, during this period.
  • July and August: We do not expect too much activity over the summer when folks may be in the field or on holiday. However, the online communication platform will be open, so discussions may continue amongst those who remain connected
  • September through November: Several more online meetings will be scheduled as we transition from discussing the issues and challenges to brainstorming ideas and developing a plan.
  • By the middle of January 2024: Task force members will be asked to provide input on preliminary recommendations
  • By early March: Final recommendations will be prepared for presentation at the 2024 AGM and publication on CAA’s website

Who may participate in the Task Force?

We are looking to assemble a task force that represents diverse voices in the CAA membership. Thus, pretty much any recent CAA member is invited to participate. The only three requirements are:

  • Participants must have been a member of CAA International in 2022 or 2023
  • Participants must have attended at least one CAA International conference, either in-person or online
  • Participants must be interested in engaging with discussions about the future model of a CAA conference as well as willing to provide feedback and ideas as part of these conversations.

How do I apply to participate in the Task Force?

All 2022 and 2023 members should have received an email with a link to an online form. The form asks for a brief explanation as to why you would like to participate as well as some basic information about who you are to help us assemble a diverse and representative group. Applications must be submitted by 15 May 2023.

If you were a 2022 and/or 2023 CAA International member, and you did not receive the email with the link to apply, please check your spam folder and then contact Membership Secretary, Emma Slayton, at membership@caa-international.org.