Wonder what’s going on with the our Annual Meeting planning? Read on to find answers to your questions. Have additional questions? Contact us.

This FAQ is a work in progress. We will continue to update it as our planning evolves.

Last updated: 2/3/22

Planning Process Questions

What will the program be like?

We are planning a full-scale in-person meeting in Tulsa, but we are investigating options to support a limited virtual program for those who are unable to travel. See Will there be a virtual program in 2022?

As usual, the lion’s share of the program depends on the proposals or presentations and events that are submitted by participants. If there is something you’d like to see, help us make it happen! Contact us at [email protected] if you’d like to discuss options.

Important Note: To create an opportunity for greater flexibility in scheduling, sessions will be limited to 90 minutes by default, but we will accommodate 120-minute sessions as necessary. Contact us at [email protected] to request a 120-minute session.

When will the program be released?

The preliminary program will be posted in June. Presenters will have two weeks from the day the preliminary program is posted to request corrections or changes. A revised schedule of concurrent sessions should be available by the end of July, though additional information about events may continue to emerge through August and September.

Why will the sessions be scheduled for 90 minutes by default? Can I organize a 120-minute session?

We found that 90-minute session blocks worked well in 2021, when we introduced them to reduce Zoom fatigue in virtual sessions, and to allow more time for sanitizing and ventilating rooms in the conference hotel.

This year, we’re shifting to 90-minute sessions as the default, because the shorter session block will give us much greater flexibility in scheduling our long conference days. We may be able to avoid scheduling so many sessions at one time, or even find a way to start later than 8:00 am — both are dreams that are hard to realize given our usual scheduling pressures.

Yes, we will accommodate pre-organized panels that require 120 minutes. The session proposal form will include a tick box that you may use to indicate your need for the longer block.

Will there be a virtual program in 2022?

We are planning a full-scale in-person meeting in Tulsa, but we are investigating options to support a limited virtual program for those who are unable to travel. For instance, we may provide live streaming or asynchronous access to some conference proceedings, including plenary events, professional development sessions, and other sponsored events. We also hope to support some integration of virtual presentations in in-person panels during the conference, though our staff and financial capacity will limit the number of sessions that can be managed in this way.

To keep the option open and to learn more about the scale of the demand in 2022, we will take proposals for virtual paper presentations from those who cannot travel. We are still investigating how exactly to accommodate virtual presentations in a mostly in-person meeting and will release more information as it becomes available.

In the meantime, we will continue to explore how virtual events can complement in-person meetings this year and in the future.

I would be interested in hearing about the breakdown of costs of a hybrid or virtual conference. Is a virtual meeting cheaper than an in-person meeting?

We know many of you are curious about costs and the meeting planning process. We could talk about this for hours.

For now, in short and generally speaking, virtual meetings are not necessarily cheaper, and we are finding that they can cost as much or more for AFS than our typical in-person meeting. As we explore our options, we are focused on producing the most engaging virtual meeting possible while keeping costs similar to meetings in previous years.

Virtual meeting costs include remote meeting software licenses to meet the number of sessions needed, a platform (website and backend) to run the meeting, and considerable staff time (with additional tech staff support) in planning, production, and attendee support (more than for an in-person meeting). Other important add-ons include networking, on-demand access of videos, processes to make signing-in to the platform easier for attendees, and tech support. Some features, like an event platform with networking, tend to have a significant fixed cost as an entry point; then, in general, the variable that affects pricing more than most is the number of sessions and the labor needed to prepare and execute the meeting.

AFS in-person meeting costs include AV equipment and production (the single biggest price tag is internet, projectors, and screens in each meeting room), food and beverage, honoraria, travel support, and staff time. In-person meetings have a lower threshold for fixed costs, but higher variable costs and higher potential liabilities to the conference venue if meeting attendees can’t participate. (We urge all attendees who can afford to stay at the meeting hotel to do so, since this will help us meet our contractual obligation.) As in the case of virtual meetings, the variable that has the biggest impact on cost is the number of sessions.

A true “hybrid” meeting, which aims to deliver an in-person meeting and a virtual meeting simultaneously, with live broadcasts of local content and virtual participation in local sessions, is the most expensive option, since it essentially adds all the basic costs of one mode to all the costs of the other. There are additional AV costs to integrate the two modes, as well, and industry experts agree that hybrid meetings require roughly 3-4 times the number of staff hours of a conventional meeting.

Our 2021 commitment to both in-person meeting and virtual components exceeded the costs of either an in-person meeting or virtual meeting taken individually, but they did not rise to the level of a true hybrid model, as we reined in costs by limiting the scale of each.

We’re pleased to report that we built our virtual meeting hub ourselves, saving approximately $30,000 in third-party vendor fees in the process last year. This infrastructure project was also an investment in the future, since any use of proprietary platforms would be an annual cost. More than that, doing it ourselves allowed us to build a platform customized to our present needs that is also flexible and robust enough to be refined and rescaled for the future. We’re now not only less dependent on service providers, but also more capable of shaping the tool to emerging needs. 

What plans are in place to deal with COVID-19?

Our answer to this question will evolve throughout our planning process as more information becomes available. See our most recent status update at Covid Update.

We will also continually update the section on “COVID-19 Risk” in our Annual Meeting Policies. Contact us at [email protected] for questions.

Registration and Fees

Where do I register?

What are the registration rates?

We have discounted our 2022 meeting fees by offering the member-discounted rates to all, without the requirement that attendees have an active AFS membership. 

Registration revenue is essential but not sufficient to cover the cost of our 2022 annual meeting, just as membership revenue is necessary but not enough to cover our wide range of activities throughout the year. 

We are grateful to all those who can support AFS at one of our membership and registration tiers.

I’m currently facing financial difficulties. Is there a source for financial assistance?

Yes, the American Folklore Society is committed to making participation in AFS and the AFS annual meeting as widely accessible as possible.

If financial hardship will prevent you from participating in this year’s meeting, we invite you to apply for financial support, like a registration discount or fee waiver.

Submitting a Proposal

What is the timeline for submitting proposals?

The call for proposals will be posted by early February. The proposal submission portal will be open March 1 to March 31, 2022.

Instructions about how to submit proposals will be added to the 2022 Annual Meeting page when they are available.

How do I submit a proposal?

Can I present virtually in 2022?

Maybe. The cost of a truly hybrid meeting is beyond our budget, but we hope to support virtual access for those who are not able to attend in person.

If you can present in-person, please plan to do so. But if you can’t travel to Tulsa, you may still submit a proposal for a virtual presentation; we hope to support some number of virtual presentations in the context of in-person panels. We are not yet sure of our capacity to do so, however.

If you plan to submit a proposal for a pre-organized panel and one of your panelists cannot attend in person, please contact us at [email protected] so that we can discuss how to accommodate your needs.

See Will there be a virtual program in 2022? above for more information about our plans.

I deferred my 2020 proposal to 2022. What should I do?

You must register for this year’s meeting and resubmit your proposal in 2022. Use the Notes field on the proposal form to remind us that your proposal has been accepted; if it hasn’t changed substantially, there will be no need for further review. AFS staff has archived your past proposal data; contact us if you need it at [email protected].

Exhibiting and Sponsoring

How do I sponsor registration scholarships for the AFS Annual Meeting?

Thanks for considering this! Donations to the Sustainers’ Fund will help subsidize participation in the 2022 meeting by those who would otherwise not be able to attend.

I want to sponsor an event. What steps should I take?

Contact us at [email protected] for more information.