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Types of conferences

There are many types of academic gatherings. Listed here are a few commonly used terms to describe them:

  • Conference is a large official meeting, usually lasting over a few days with a formal agenda, at which people come together to discuss their views on a topic. Conferences often feature keynote presentations as well as break-out sessions.
  • Congress would typically be held at regular intervals (for example, annually or every two years), often featuring a series of invited talks or keynotes.
  • Meeting is often used interchangeably with Conference or Congress.
  • Symposium is a smaller conference, often featuring more narrow topics than a Conference, Congress or Meeting, and usually runs over one day with multiple expert speakers.
  • Summit is often considered a decision-makers meeting, where experts may be invited to contribute.
  • Seminar is a lecture or presentation with a discussion delivered to a small audience on a particular topic or set of educational topics.
  • Forum aims to encourage discussion and sharing of ideas, often in a round-table format.
  • Workshop is similar to a Seminar but emphasises “hands-on-practice” or laboratory work, where participants expect to practice new skills under an expert instructor.

'Conferences' is a Western Sydney University Library adaptation of Conferences, created by the University of Queensland, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. [This CC Licence attribution takes precedence over the CC Licence attribution in the footer]

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Library guide created by Western Sydney University Library staff is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY)