Our selection process has evolved over the years as the conference has grown, and it’s something we’re continuing to improve. Here’s how it will work for 2020:
Option One: Open submission
Members of the IA community are invited to propose a talk, lecture, workshop or interactive session on their own.
Option Two: Scouting
The 2020 IA Conference co-chairs will select and invite a small number of contributors who best exemplify the vision of the event. The co-chairs may also reach out to speakers from other conferences, meetups, or events like World IA Day and ask them to submit their talks to participate in the program.
Each year, the IA Conference receives many more session proposals than there are slots available. This is awesome. It means that our community is full of ideas and ready to share them. But one way or another, the curation committee — this year made up of the three co-chairs plus curators and a curation manager — must narrow the pool from hundreds of submissions to dozens of sessions. How? With the help of hundreds of volunteers who provide the thousand eyes we need for peer review.
Every main conference submission is assigned randomly to peer review. These are volunteers from the IA community who have agreed to give their time to offer feedback on your proposal. What does it do well and where it could be improved? Peers are there to review only. They don’t determine who gets accepted or rejected. To aid their objectivity, we will remove your name, identifying details, and other potentially biasing language from your submission.
Curation teams made up of pairs of volunteer experts work together to identify the emerging themes amongst the submissions. They then rank the submissions based on guidelines from the chairs. Using the first round feedback as a guide, they complete their task from all available submissions, making their assessments based on:
- Quality (is the talk thorough, accurate, valid, rigorous, well-sourced, etc.?)
- Clear and concise presentation of material
- Topic or angle feels new to the IAC
- Connection to the field of information architecture is clear
- Likely to engage audience by being challenging or entertaining
- Provides actionable takeaways for attendees with varying levels of experience
- If a curator is unsure about a session, they’re able to reach out to the submitter for clarification before making a final recommendation.
The final program is compiled from curators’ selections by the co-chairs. We take several factors into account – promoting new voices, ensuring topics are aligned with our theme – when creating a schedule that will be compelling for the community.
Please remember, everyone involved in putting the program together is volunteering their time, and we’re so grateful for their help. Most of all, we’re grateful to the IA community members who volunteer their time and expertise to prepare, submit, and deliver the sessions that make the IAC such an informative, educational, and inspiring event. If you would like to sign up to review proposals, we will be eternally grateful.