Hosting a Galaxy Community Conference (GCC)
Thanks for considering hosting a GCC. These events are vital to the success of the community, and success of these events is driven by GCC hosts.
In the past it's been entirely ad hoc (2010-2015), or rigorous, with a call for proposals and formal evaluation of proposals (2016-2018). Starting with GCC2019, we moved to something in between. If you are interested, then please contact the project and we will get back to you (immediately!).
There are many things that go into a productive, collaborative, and memorable GCC. It's always a trade-off and no site has ever been able to offer everything. Don't worry if your site can't meet all of the desired characteristics.
Here's what matters for hosting GCC:
Having local people who are committed to the success of the event is absolutely key. It is essential to have several people from the host organization on the event organizing committee. It is also very helpful to have local admin support for things like managing paperwork and catering. Finally, having buy-in (even enthusiasm) from senior administration at the host organization can go a long way towards smoothing bumps.
Affordable registration is very high priority. One way to achieve that is with low expenses. Another is by getting lots of sponsorships.
The ability to host Training, Conference, and Collaborative (hackathon) events is key. All of these are events are key components of GCC. It helps if all events can be within walking distance of each other. It is a requirement that facilities be within walking distance of lodging, or easily reached via public transit.
- A large meeting space for all attendees
- Smaller spaces for training, parallel tracks, birds-of-a-feather, CoFests, and informal gatherings
- Robust WiFi in all spaces is essential - expect everyone to be connected simultaneously
- High foot traffic areas for vendors/sponsors to have exhibits
- Space for posters and/or demos
- Space for catering
Affordable (think dorm) housing is a big plus and goes a long way towards lowering attendees costs. The conference can also have official hotels, or just list ones that the organizers recommend.
Ideally, the event will be within 2 hours of a major airport, and lodging and event facilities will be within easy walking (or rapid transit) distance of each other.
We meet in North America in even years, and not-in-North-America in odd years. (So far not-in-North-America has always meant Europe, but we are open to other continents.) We'd like to keep that pattern going.
We think GCC is already a great meeting, and that it always has been! Despite that, the meetings keep getting better, and that's largely due to fresh ideas from each new conference's organizers. An inclination to propose new ideas is welcomed.
We've been trying for years to co-locate with BOSC, and we finally pulled it off in 2018. GCCBOSC 2018 was an experiment and it went so well that we are planning on doing it again, every few years. This adds some uncertainty for anyone interested in hosting GCC because it may also involve hosting BOSC too. We are thinking we will co-locate every 2 or 3 years, so the next joint meeting will be in 2020 or 2021
GCCs are big, with over 200 participants, running over 6 days, and featuring a lot of different events and formats. It takes a while to get everything lined up. Given that we need a large room and several little ones, it is best to get those reserved at least 18 months in advance, and more if possible. Ideally, the best time to start talking is at least 20 months before the conference.
Send your interest and/or questions to Galaxy Outreach. We'll talk.