Workshop Guidelines

Looking to organize a special session or workshop? First, select your workshop structure:

Challenge Sessions start with one or more speakers who challenge members of the audience to question their assumptions and/or approaches.  These sessions ask attendees to reconsider everything they think they know about the session topic and/or consider different solutions and strategies.  The outcome is that attendees emerge from the session with their critical thinking faculties fully engaged and some ideas on how to better manage or improve practices dealing with the topic.

Compass Sessions ask two questions: “Where are we?” and, “Where do we want to go?”  These sessions start with a state-of-knowledge summary of a particular topic, and then asks the audience to reflect on where we should go from here.  The outcome is a range of possible directions with respect to the session topic that attendees can share with colleagues.

Collaborate and Create Sessions bring attendees together to work on or provide input into a pending project or product—it could be a plan, a set of guidelines, a survey, a story map, object lesson, etc.  This session can allow time to ‘create’ the project/plan/product and collaborate with others in that process OR at the end of the session, the organizers can give attendees the opportunity to help complete or continue working on the project/product.

Update Sessions bring attendees together to fill them in on the latest developments with regard to an project, program, or issue.  The outcome is that attendees emerge from the session fully up-to-date on the topic.

Stumped on which type of session works best for your topic or workshop idea? Don’t let these descriptions limit you! Contact us with questions at

Second, select the workshop format:

Invited Speakers. This workshop format involves oral presentations around a common theme and delivered by speakers that you invite and organize. These sessions can be structured in several different ways: for example, the invited presentations might be preceded by an overview from the session organizer and followed by a response from a discussant, formal break-out group activities, and/or a led discussion by a facilitator. The length allotted to each presentation is up to the session organizer. The proposal must include a session overview abstract that describes the session’s theme and its importance, as well as its structure (e.g., who will chair the session, how long each presentation will be, whether there will be discussants and/or a Q&A session with the audience following the presentations, etc.); Titles and speaker information for each of the oral presentations must be confirmed by March 1, 2020.

Panel Discussion. A Panel Discussion is an audience-interactive format in which invited panelists make short, relatively informal presentations that serve as a springboard for extended discussion among panelists, between panelists, and the audience. In proposing a Panel Discussion, your abstract must indicate who will chair the session (if that person is someone other than you) and how long each panelist will speak.  Panelists must confirm attendance by March 1, 2020.

Café Conversation. A Café Conversation is an alternative meeting format that is rapidly gaining popularity.  In a Café Conversation, participants gather at round tables set around the room like a sidewalk café.  The organizers present a topic (or topics) to be discussed, and then each table of participants talks among themselves for 20 minutes, taking notes.  After 20 minutes, one person remains at the table as “host” and the others disperse to different tables.  The table host summarizes the previous conversation to the newcomers, and then a second 20-minute round of discussion takes place.  The process is repeated for a third 20-minute round, followed by full-group conversation.  The website of  World Café, a nonprofit devoted to promoting Café Conversations, has an easy-to-follow explanation of how to design one.

Guided Tour. This proposal option is mostly for local practitioners but open to anyone and would include short forays into the Bowling Green area to visit research sites, museum exhibits, community programs, and/or sustainable development projects. Be mindful that these are 1.5 hour sessions, scheduling may allow for two hours depending on proposals. We foresee this option being offered on Thursday afternoon, May 21. Destinations within walking distance or less than a 15-minute drive from WKU are recommended. Local transport for up to 36 people can be provided.

Lastly, submit your proposal!

Please read the instructions for session organizers, presenters, and authors before submission.

The George Wright Society is managing abstract/proposal submission and receipt, please follow this link: to proceed. 

The deadline for proposals is November 30, 2019.