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Satellite meetings


If you are reading this, it is likely you have attended the YRM workshop on `How to run a satellite meeting', and are keen to get involved. If you missed the workshop, or want reminding, the sheets from it are duplicated below.


Current Workshops:

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The information below duplicates a sheet handed out at the workshop. The sheet on `How to run a Satelite workshop' is here.


The concept:

YRM satellite workshops are small regularly meeting subject specific
seminars run by students and for students, to allow those who have enjoyed working
together at the YRM conference to continue their discussions throughout the year.


The model:

The format of these is taken from my experience running recurring workshops
on supermanifolds early in my career, and from the student led return workshops which
were the predecessors for YRM. The critical properties seem to be the following.
1.Small group - 5 - 12 people. It can work well with more, but then it is difficult to
allow everyone to talk and allow sufficient time in between talks for discussion.
2.Everyone speaks, everyone listens to all the other talks.
3.Talks are on current research, not on completed work. The reason for this is that
it is difficult to respond with positive suggestions to completed work (“Have you
thought about trying this?” is a more welcome question than “Why did you do it that
way, this way is so much easier?).


What is needed to run a satellite workshop:


1.Two or three "directors" - students who are willing to take responsibility for the
organisation of the workshop. These people should be in regular contact with each
other and enjoy working together.
2. A core of 5 - 12 members willing to commit to coming to 2 or 3 meetings in the
coming year. These should be from two or more institutions.
3. A method of communication: a website where plans can be discussed and
posted. It is important that the latest version of arrangements are available to all for
comment, and not hidden in someoneʼs e-mail inbox.
4. For each meeting, there should be a local student director responsible for the
meeting at the institution where the meeting is to be held. The meetings could be
always at the same institution if there is one central location that makes travel easy,
or it could rotate round the home institutions of the participants. The local student
director does not necessarily need to be one of the workshop directors in 1, but
communication will obviously be easier if this is the case.
5. For each meeting of the workshop, there must be an established academic in the
department willing to act as local advisor. The responsibilities of this position
should not be onerous:
1. He or she will need to confirm that the department is willing to host the
meeting.
2. He or she will need to arrange how funds should be handled.
3. It will be helpful if he or she is enthusiastic about the problem and is
available to encourage and advise the student director.


Funds.


There is a very limited amount of money (£2,000) available to help with running these
workshops this year. Our experience is that thanks to the ingenuity and frugality that is the
finest tradition of student enterprises; even small sums are very useful. I would like to get
three workshops started with this; that means a budget of approximately £300 per
meeting, assuming that each group meets twice before the next YRM, and a small amount
which could be allocated as seems best.
This money can be used for travel, overnight accommodation or to subsidise a meal (up to
£10 each for those who give talks) at the local directorʼs discretion. Permission to use the
money for other purposes should be sought.
While £300 is definitely a small amount of money, our experience with the return
conferences has shown that it is a significant contribution: the cost of the return
conferences ranged between £60 (four people, one day) and £600 (about 25 people, three
days).


Instructions for setting up a satellite workshop.


1. Get a group together (5 - 12 people) who would like to take part in such a workshop.
1. Choose two or three people who are happy to act as directors.
2. Choose provisional dates, and decide where the meetings might be held.
3. Choose a local student director for each meeting.
This much is more easily done now at the YRM meeting than later.
4. Agree on a website (wiki or similar) on which the plans for each meeting can be
discussed and posted.
5. Inform us that you would like to set up such a group.
2. Find an established mathematician at (each of) the institutions at which meetings will
be held to act as local advisor.
3. Two months before the meeting:
1. Confirm with the institution that they are happy to host the workshop. An e-mail
from the local advisor saying that the department is happy to host the event, and
advising us how best to transfer the money will enable us to release the money.
1. Arrange timetable, allowing group members to speak, and reserving some time
slots for those who are not signed up members of the group to speak.
2. Advertise the meeting. The obvious purpose of including all who are interested in
the workshop is not the only point. If these workshops work well we will be asking
for more serious money. It is important that established mathematicians become
aware of what you are doing.
2. Feedback will be required, so the directors must take notes. Particularly in this first
year, in order to make a case for more serious funding in subsequent years if these
meetings prove to be effective, it will be essential to have accurate documentation of each
meeting. The web pages used to organise the events will be useful evidence; preserve
them.



(Marj Batchelor wrote this, and I put it here)