By Bea Caballero • • 14 Sep 2012

WISPS Conference Host Guidelines

Women in Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies welcomes proposals from institutions to host our annual conference.  These guidelines are intended to give those willing to host the conference a sense of what responsibilities are taken on by the local organisers and how the Association assists in the organization. Please take these into account when submitting your proposal.

Guideline delegate numbers

Normally there are 35-55 delegates, including postgraduates.  Given that it is difficult to predict with any accuracy the number of delegates, it is advisable that the provisional budget includes several different projections corresponding to different figures of attendance. You should assume that 15-20% of delegates would be PGs.


All arrangements on the ground, including registration of delegates are made by host institution. In your budget estimates you need to take into account the costs for technical support, room booking (if local charges are made) and all conference administration.


Conferences are normally held during October or November, Friday to Saturday.  We need an indication of the planned dates. This may vary from year to year and institution to institution, therefore, there may be some need to negotiate these dates. We also try to avoid overlap with the Anglo-Catalan Society Annual Conference, which is usually held on the last weekend of November. Such discussions take place between the local organisers and the Executive committee.

Conference Format

The WISPS Annual Conference is a 2-day event commencing on the morning of day 1 for a full day, and a half-day or full day on day 2. The plenaries normally take place on days 1 and 2.  The rest of the conference is organised in simultaneous parallel thematic panels in break-out rooms. Sufficient time should be provided between sessions for proper breaks (30 minutes for tea/coffee) as well as for lunch in order to facilitate contacts and exchange among participants. Meals may vary in duration depending on the location of the conference and the requirements of local organisation/logistics. There is normally a conference dinner on the first evening and the AGM is usually held on the second day after lunch.

Conference Venue

The conference site will be a university or HE institution.  It is possible for a university to host the conference at a cultural institution with sufficient capacity, but this should be carefully costed into the budget. The venue should include a large room (for plenaries and the AGM) with one breakout room. A central area is required for lunch and other breaks. This area should also be used by or be very accessible to publishers’ stalls.  The conference also requires space for the running of the AGM. Appropriate areas for social events such as venue for the conference dinner should be considered.


The conference can be residential or non-residential. The conference venue should be close to a varied choice of accommodation (hotels, university rooms etc.) with sufficient capacity for all participants and within easy travelling distance from the conference site. The area should also be easy to reach by public transport.

Conference delegate prices

The registration rates need to be indicated with provision of reductions for postgraduates. Conference dinner is often separately charged. Pricing will be confirmed before advertising the event but needs to be planned in the provisional budget.

Academic arrangements

There should be a designated conference leader and organising team.  The WISPS conference secretary will provide support to the conference host but will not be involved in day-to-day operations and decisions.

The maximum number of parallel sessions to ensure good attendance at all sessions and to minimise clashes of interest is 3.  These are normally made up of 3 papers of 25 minutes or 4 papers of 20 minutes, with a further 15 minutes for questions.  There should be no more than three 2-hour sessions on any one day, ie a maximum of 12 papers. This does not preclude other activities such as the AGM or plenaries taking place on such day.

The Conference Secretary is responsible for the intellectual organisation of the conference, this shall be done in consultation with the Executive and the local organisers.

Themed conferences are held every other year and panels should be designated on the basis of theme/genre, and include/mix-and-match papers relating to any of the Hispanic languages and cultures. Responsibility resides with the selection committee, led by the conference secretary.

Pre-constituted panels: These should be submitted to the selection committee.

Plenaries: There will be a maximum of two plenaries.

  • Host institutions should be encouraged to vary the format of their invitation plenary, so that the non-presidential plenary is not always a traditional lecture, while maintaining international standards of scholarship.
  • Former presidents of WISPS should be considered, in agreement with the Executive committee, for one plenary session.

Quality/timetable control:

  • A small selection panel, consisting each year of the conference secretary, the association secretary, the in-coming and out-going local secretaries, the president and the PG Officer, should be in place to run the selection and organisation process for generic and pre-constituted panels.


WISPS has a website and mailing lists where information will be distributed, and you may wish to host some of the local information on your university site, such as travel arrangements, accommodation details and local information.

Year of event and planning

We like to identify hosts as far in advance as possible. Planning generally starts at least a year in advance of the conference.  There is often considerable interest from a wide range of institutions, and we like to ensure that there is a geographic spread across both islands, therefore please ensure that you contact us well in advance and we would encourage you to be flexible in your dates.


Please keep in mind costs when selecting plenary speakers.  If you are planning international speakers, please bear in mind applying for external research funding and plan this into your schedule. Events usually generate modest income from publishers’ stalls. Some conference organisers have secured modest funding from local cultural bodies but all ideas for income-generation should be considered.

Expressing interest in hosting the conference

To conclude, our annual conference provides a significant opportunity for scholars in our field to share research, debate, network and socialise.

If you are interested in hosting a future WISPS conference, please send your initial proposal to the President of the Association, the Association secretary and the Conference secretary.  Contact details can be found on the website.

The Executive Committee will keep in touch with you about when your proposal will be discussed and advise you as soon as possible of our decision.

Thank you on behalf of the WISPS Executive Committee for your interest and we look forward to your proposal.

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