Putting on a Conference: An Interview with the IADMS Program Committee Chair Alexander McKinven
Posted by: IADMS Program Committee
Alexander McKinven is the IADMS Program Committee Chair and works year-round to prepare for the IADMS Conference. Here are his answers to a few questions we had about what goes into planning a conference.
1) How do you go about producing a conference that is both educational and appealing?
As a multi-profession organization, it is so important that the conference is relevant to all members. We are relatively guided by the abstracts submitted each year but do balance this with clinical symposia choices.
The program committee has continued to develop our selection process to ensure the highest quality of presenters are selected for conference and want to ensure that the association is at the forefront of dance medicine and dance science development.
As this is our second time in Asia, we have tried to harness the expertise from Australasia and the Indian subcontinent.
2) Who is involved in putting together the conference program?
It truly is a combined effort from SO many people. The program committee are responsible for the scientific content of the program but behind the scenes we have the blinded reviewers for the abstract selection, the IADMS IT personnel, the local host committee and the education committee of IADMS who specifically help develop the special interest group day. This year, the work of IADMS member Brenton Surgenor and Hong Kong Doctor Jason Brockwell have been instrumental in these SIG days.
3) What timeline do you have to work to leading up to the conference?
The conference work is ongoing throughout the year.
After each conference we review the delegates’ feedback and see how we can implement the members’ views to improve the next conference.
At the start of the year we ensure that all the systems are in place for when the call for abstracts goes out. Once all the abstracts are submitted the program committee work exceptionally hard to review and select the very best for conference. I am excited for our members to see the Hong Kong schedule once it is released and am so proud and thankful to the team that I have lead this year.
4) Every annual meeting is different so what do you think is different or special about this year’s?
The IADMS conference is three and half days long this year, with the special interest group days called A day for Teachers and A day for Medics, running concurrently within the main program. This decision was taken in line with IADMS mission statement, to raise the standard of the SIG days and to work with the local community where the conference is taking place. China is such a vibrant country and the opportunity to learn and work with the local community of Hong Kong is exciting. I am very much looking forward to seeing some of the performances that have been lined up and exploring the wonderful culture of the East.
5) What do you think you are most looking forward to about the conference?
There are some fantastic presentations this year. What I look forward to most is attending a talk or movement session on a topic I know relatively little about. I really believe that this cross collaboration is what makes the IADMS conferences unique and would urge delegates to expand their knowledge and challenge their benefits by trying something beyond their professional norms.