The SAMBa Summer Conference: A Dramatic Diary

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The following is an over-dramatic recollection from organising the SAMBa Summer Conference in 2018. Events have been exaggerated but do resemble some form of thoughts that I had at the time.

Monday 16th October 2017

The team is back together! It’s taken six months, but despite *that* picture, the mighty Camzabeth have been reunited to reign terror on SAMBa. Or we could just organise a conference like we are meant to. After all, how hard could it be?

Tuesday 24th October 2017

We have our first meeting today about organising the conference. It should be quick as it is still over seven months away. Oh, and we should send one of our now famous emails to let everyone know when it is? This can only mean one thing, what can you replace the words in SAMBa with? Spooky Armageddon Maps of Bangladesh?

Wednesday 15th November 2017

Why did we agree to this again? I just thought it would be sending a few funny emails, find a couple of speakers and the jobs a good’un. I didn’t even consider we would need sponsors and money. We’ll have to set up a webpage, Google forms and Doodle polls. And people need to eat, preferably without poisoning them – I think that might put a bit of a dampener on proceedings!

Wednesday 13th December 2017

Well, it’s nearly Christmas, but I’m not feeling very festive. We have had replies from two potential speakers, each are busy at the time of the conference. At this rate, I’ll have to learn to tap dance to fill the gaps in the schedule. At least everyone will get a good laugh, but I won’t be able to be seen here afterwards. I’ll file that under possible alternatives…

Thursday 9th January 2018

Susie has suggested that we get in touch with CSCT, the Chemistry CDT at the university, to explore the possibility of a cross-over session between the conference and their Summer Showcase. An interesting idea that, on the surface, could work really well. Meeting scheduled for next week with members of their organising committee.

Monday 22nd January 2018

We have our first speaker! The conference isn’t going to be a total disaster. Maybe just a partial one instead.

Friday 3rd February 2018

Had a very busy ITT week this week, but more than that, we now have all our speakers. I suppose I should cancel those tap-dancing lessons, and I don’t need to move to the cave in the north east. Happy days! It’s far too cold up there anyway.

Tuesday 15th May 2018

It’s been a while since the last entry, but truth be told, not an awful lot has happened. We have a webpage and a timetable, students are assigned to talk, people are making some posters and we have sent out invites to other institutions. Now we need to keep everyone happy with some coffee. Maybe we can enquire about draining the lake and filling that with coffee. That might just about hold enough for the couple of days?

Thursday 31st May 2018

We have everything under control now. We have some money from Syngenta, and people have said they are going to turn up. Which is a miracle. People are coming to an event I have helped organise. In other news, Elizabeth is away from next week. Luckily everything is done, so that won’t be a problem.

Monday 18th June 2018

Once again, we have forgotten so many of the little details that are needed for the conference. We need to write name tags and a programme of events. The website also needs updating with abstracts, titles and a map of campus with directions. Plus, we now need to collect pre-orders for the conference dinner. So much for having everything done, eh?

Friday 22nd June 2018

One more working day until the big day, and I have just realised that the name badges that I have made contain the wrong web address for the conference webpage. This really doesn’t bode well for the rest of the conference, does it? Still, at least it’s been spotted now. It would have been a lot worse if it hadn’t had been.

Monday 25th June 2018, 08:30

So, I haven’t printed the name badges for our external speakers, because they aren’t on the registered list. They have been printed now though, because that would have been very embarrassing! But the room is set up, our opening speech and slides are ready to go. What is it that they say, it’s showtime! Fingers crossed for the day.

Monday 25th June 2018, 22:00

Day 1 successfully negotiated, and nobody has been killed. Better than that, people seemed to enjoy themselves too! Now just need to get through the next 24 hours and hope that the same is true this time tomorrow. Well I guess I’d better get to sleep, but first I’ll pack a bag just in case I have to run away!

Tuesday 26th June 2018

And its done! A two-day conference, successfully completed, and while deep down I care how other people have found it, right now, just making it through in one piece is enough!

Friday 29th June 2018

A few days after the end of the conference, and having caught up on sleep and de-stressed, I feel I can reflect a little on it. If anyone wants an easy method to raise their blood pressure, then organise a conference, because it’ll certainly do it. But alas, I won’t be doing it again any time soon. Now I need to try and fill my new-found free time. I wonder if I still have that website for the tap-dancing lessons?


I would like to thank everyone associated with the conference who made it such a success, from those who turned up, the presenters (students and external), to Jess and Susie who were both brilliant. It wouldn’t have gone as well as it did if it wasn’t for them. And finally to Elizabeth, who made the whole process a lot more bearable. I’m not sure I can say the same was true the other way round!

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