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Pre-conference Symposia Policy
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Pre-conference symposia are special events typically held on the Wednesday before the SEM annual meeting begins on Thursday. Traditionally, the pre-conference symposia were a way for the host institution to showcase the research specialties of their faculty since the program committee is usually not academically or geographically connected to the host institution. Because a host institution may opt not to hold a pre-conference, a policy was instituted by the Board to handle the organization of pre-conference symposia and open them up to other groups if a host opts not to hold one themselves.

Pre-conference symposia are intended to accommodate specific topics, issues, and/or formats that interest SEM members but that differ from conference events or do not fit conference regulations. They may, for example, involve presenters who are not SEM members or depart from the format of short formal papers. They are organized independently of the SEM conference per se, although coordinated in consultation with Local Arrangement and Program Committees to occur one day prior and use the conference hotel facilities. The Society for Ethnomusicology provides no funding for pre-conference symposia.

In a given year, a Local Arrangements Committee has the right to say that they are not able to hold a pre-conference symposium. Furthermore, in consultation with the Chair of the Program Committee, they may elect to organize one themselves. In either case, the Local Arrangements Committee must notify the SEM Board by January 1 of the year prior to the conference (i.e. approximately 22 months before the conference). If the Local Arrangements Committee is willing to host a pre-conference symposium but does not wish to organize it, other SEM members will be invited to propose a symposium in accordance with the guidelines outlined below. When SEM is meeting jointly with one or more other societies, the Local Arrangements Committee must consult with their peers in the other organizations about proposed pre-conference topics and formats.

The following Call for Pre-conference Symposium Proposals will be mailed to Committee Chairs and Chapter Presidents in February of the year prior to the target symposium date (i.e. 21 months prior). The call will also be sent by the SEM Executive Director for publication in the May issue of the SEM Newsletter (19 months prior).

Call for Pre-Conference Symposium Proposals
Proposals for a pre-conference symposium are invited for the (year) SEM conference in (city). Proposals must be submitted to the SEM Business office by August 1, (year prior to the conference year). The Society for Ethnomusicology encourages either ad hoc or established groups of the SEM to submit proposals. A proposal must provide the following information:

  1. A rationale outlining objectives and issues to be addressed.
  2. Format of events.
  3. Anticipated speakers, performers, or other presenters.
  4. Prospective target audience.
  5. Funding plan.
  6. Facilities and equipment needs.

Proposals will be appraised by the Program Chair (conference year), Local Arrangements Chair (conference year), and Second Vice-President of the SEM Board.

Once a pre-conference symposium proposal has been accepted, the Second Vice-President will invite the organizer(s) to attend the joint meeting of the Program and Local Arrangement Committees at the (year prior to the conference year) SEM Conference, one year prior to the symposium date. Although it would be exceptional and rarely advisable, two symposium proposals could be accepted in a given year if the Local Arrangements Committee thought they could be accommodated. It is understood that, in addition to the soundness of the plans put forward, consideration will also be given to the diversity of topics, areas, and sponsors from one year to another.

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