About organising an International Conference

Here is a re-post of a text that Ana Vila-Concejo wrote and that was originally published in the blog of the Geocoastal Research Group which is her research group in the University of Sydney.

The last few months have been extremely busy for our member Ana Vila-Concejo as she was the chair of the International Coastal Symposium which was held in Sydney earlier this month. This was an enormous effort that has taken 3 years of work. Luckily, everything went well and the conference was a great success!

Click here for some photos of the event!


Organising #ICS2016

Organising ICS2016 was tough and challenging at times and it required quite a lot of time; it was also fun and exciting. The entire process is enormous and without the help of my favourite conference organizer, Lee Devereux, I couldn’t have done it. It was a team effort with many members and students of the Geocoastal Research Group getting deeply involved with the conference; we also had great support from the School of Geosciences and from Prof Charlie Finkl and Dr Chris Makowski from CERF and The Journal of Coastal Research. The effort and challenges came in waves, abstract revision and acceptance and paper review and publication were moments of stress. And the programme was the final one. The programme changes every day as delegates that were coming and have registered already e-mail us to let us know that they cannot longer make it. Simultaneously, every time we removed someone from the programme thinking that they weren’t coming, they would register on the following day… we had speakers registering during the conference! (in fact, the only reason I was registered is because Lee did it for me).

ICS2016 was a success and it felt really good having so many delegates letting me know how much they had enjoyed the conference. The keynotes were all excellent with Andy Short, Janice Lough, Giovanni Coco and Bruce Thom taking us to different paths within coastal geoscience and engineering. Andy told us about his life-time achievements in studying beach morphodynamics; Janice told us about the latest climate science results and how they affect the Great Barrier Reef; Giovanni told us about biomorphodynamics and how vegetation is more than a roughness coefficient; and, finally Bruce, told us about coastal management in Australia. The four speakers were passionate and professional and they captivated the audience of the plenary sessions.

We also launched an international network for Women in Coastal Geosciences and Engineering (WICGE) with the objective of making gender inequity a thing of the past. The launch was well-attended and we received lots of great feedback and ideas. Not everyone agrees that WICGE is necessary but the data shown by Julie Cairney at the launch speaks by itself; the panel, composed by Robin Davidson-Arnott, Luciana Esteves and Shari Gallop commented on the data from their particular point of view. Watch this space, WICGE is coming!

The venue, the Crowne Plaza at Coogee was great. The food was awesome and varied and the staff were truly helpful and accommodating… they even let us make a demonstration of an unmanned vehicle in their swimming pool because the waves were too rough at the beach!

The cocktail at the Opera House was lots of fun, and what to say of the dancing!??! Crazy, crazy, crazy! There were a few people looking tired in the fieldtrips, which, by the way were really good.

And what to say about our great volunteers! They worked hard and kept a smile while tracking the Dolphin!

See some pictures below- there are more in the ICS2016 Facebook page and we will publish some more shortly!

Thanks everyone! it was great!