Call for Unconference Sessions

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IFLA Evidence for Global and Disaster Health (E4GDH) Satellite Meeting


The Satellite meeting agenda is a mixed format, including keynote plenary sessions, panel conversations and unconference sessions. 

If you are unfamiliar with the unconference format, these guidelines will give you an idea of what to expect.

Definition of unconference:

  • Unlike traditional conference timetabled sessions, unconference sessions are participant-oriented, where the participants decide on the topics to be discussed. This informal and flexible approach allows participants to suggest topics of their own interest and choose sessions to attend accordingly.
  • Unconferences typically feature open discussions and workshops rather than lectures, as these open formats work best to engage the audience.  
  • A common approach is to present for up to a third of the time, and hold a discussion for the other two-thirds. The aim is to take advantage of the range of people attending the session. That said, any format is permitted and it is up to the session organiser.
  • Sessions run in parallel in separate meeting rooms with a collaborative set up.
  • Collaboration among participants who convene sessions and merging of sessions on similar topics are both common practice.

Before the Satellite Meeting:

  • Once you have completed your registration to attend the Satellite meeting, please submit your unconference session ideas via the form.
  • Provide your session title, a brief description and format, as well as name, email address, country and affiliation of the session leader(s).
  • If there is a specific audience or group of people that you'd particularly like to attend your session, identify this in the form.
  • If you have, say, three great ideas, please submit your favourite one, to allow other participants a chance to submit their ideas and ensure you are available to facilitate your session.
  • If you suggest a session, the organisers may approach you to consider collaborating with another participant who has suggested a similar session and merge them into one single session; the decision to merge with another session will be yours to make.
  • When preparing to convene your session, please ensure you make it engaging to the participants and appoint a note taker (or take notes yourself) to capture key outcomes and ensure these are fed back to the wider audience at the final session, disseminated after the event, and acted-upon wherever possible.
  • One hour has been allocated on the programme  - you are encouraged to prepare for a 50 minute session to allow setup time and attendees’ movement at the end of the session.

During the Satellite Meeting:

  • On arrival, participants will find the most popular sessions up on physical whiteboards near the registration desk; take time to check these out and consider which session(s) peak your interest.  
  • The organisers will keep some empty conference slots to leave space for ideas that emerge during the course of the morning; everyone is encouraged to enter new session ideas on the empty slots during the morning breaks.
  • Organisers will keep an eye on the topics and, where appropriate, suggest merging sessions that cover similar areas.
  • Before you start your lunch, please indicate which session you would particularly like to join by adding coloured stickers to your 1st and 2nd session choices. This will give the organisers an idea of the most popular sessions and likely numbers for room allocation purposes.
  • After lunch, please check the shortlisted sessions and room allocation, decide which session you will join and proceed to the allocated room on time so the session can start promptly.
  • Don't forget that, as well as the designated unconference time, the Satellite Meeting is designed to encourage networking and ad hoc discussions throughout the event.

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