Conferences. Love them or not, a lot of people are involved in the planning and execution of them.
Conferences - no matter the topic - are fraught with details. Lots and lots of details. It is the managing of those details that make the experience good - or not - for the instructor, the participants and the planners.
So this week I have spent another several hours, combing through submissions, making sure I have good topics, trying to sort out the details revolving around those topics, then sending emails off to the instructors to review (and revise/correct/add).
All of this sorting out of details is done by the planners as volunteers (as in not paid) and for the instructors as part of the administrivia that goes into setting up an event (hopefully covered in some part by the fee they will receive as part of the event).
So when people wonder why I am being more generous to instructors in the budget than some previous conferences, it is because I have been an instructor and I know how much work goes into crafting the topic in the first place, then all the myriad details that take up time - maybe 20 minutes here, 40 minutes there, a couple of days once the event is given the go-ahead. All long before the instructor will be paid for their efforts.
Even when they do get paid, I can attest that many times they are working for 'free' to insure that the event goes as smoothly as possible.
There will always be glitches. Flights are delayed. Suitcases get lost. Vehicles break down. Equipment either breaks - or was forgotten.
Most participants are not privy to these things because usually the instructor just makes do and/or the planners scramble behind the scenes to get things sorted.
So why did I agree to chair this conference? (And yes, I ask myself that question on a regular basis!)
I agreed because conferences are great meeting grounds for fibre artists to gather, in real life. We get to actually touch each others textiles, not just see a picture. We get to share ideas. We get to know each other better. We get to exchange knowledge and information. We get to thank those who have inspired us, even at a distance. We get to see exhibits. We get to shop! And not from a sample card, from from actual vendors selling things right into our hot little hands. We get to have conversations.
By the end of the conference friends may have been made, which can continue via the internet (rather than the snail mail that we had previous to the internet). Connections will have been made. Minds may have been opened to new ideas, new concepts. Horizons may have been broadened. Knowledge expanded.
17 months...and counting...