International Council for Traditional Music

A Non-Governmental Organization in Formal Consultative Relations with UNESCO

Memorandum on the organization of ICTM World Conferences

This Memorandum is intended to guide those who propose to host an ICTM World Conference. To be considered by the Executive Board, a formal letter of invitation from an institution or organization will be needed, generally at least three years before the conference date. Constant consultation with the ICTM Secretariat is strongly advised.

Once a formal invitation is received and accepted by the ICTM, the provisions of this Memorandum shall constitute a formal agreement between the prospective host and ICTM.

1. General conditions

1.1. World Conferences must be open to delegates from all nations and regions.

1.2. Duration is normally six to eight days.

1.3. Executive Board meetings take place during the two days preceding the opening of the conference and on the day after the closing of the conference.

1.4. Online registration should be available several months before the conference. Early registration is required for all paper presenters, and to avoid last-minute cancellations and changes in the Programme, this should be strictly enforced.

1.5. On-site registration of participants will normally begin on the day preceding the formal opening of the conference.

1.6. The official conference languages should include English and the local or national language(s).

1.7. Simultaneous translation should be provided for keynote and plenary lectures in languages other than English. In some cases, translation of these major presentations from English to the local language and translation of non-English paper sessions may also be appropriate.

2. Programme Committee

2.1. At the first opportunity after acceptance of the invitation, the Executive Board of the ICTM appoints a Programme Committee (including a Programme Chair), which proposes the main themes of the conference to the Executive Board at least two years prior to the conference. The Programme Committee is responsible for the scholarly content of the conference, including the programme of papers, round tables, workshops, etc.

* Please also refer to the Guidelines for the Programme Committee of ICTM World Conferences.

3. Local Arrangements Committee

3.1. A Local Arrangements Committee (LAC) will be established within 6 months of the acceptance of the invitation by the Executive Board. The name of the LAC Chair will be conveyed to the Secretary General as soon as possible. Normally the Chair will be the main contact with the Secretariat. In addition to any professional conference organizing body, a conference administrator should be appointed by the LAC six months before the conference.

3.2. The LAC will arrange performances of traditional music and dance, receptions, and ceremonial and recreational events after consultation with and approval of the Secretary General, scheduling them in consultation with the ICTM Programme Committee. The Official Opening and Closing of the Conference is a prerogative of the ICTM President.

3.3. The LAC will establish a conference website to make available all relevant conference documentation, including registration details, the call for papers and a regularly updated conference programme.

3.4. As a general principle, the Programme and the Local Arrangements chairs shall be different persons. 

4. Timetables, announcements, publicity

4.1. The timetable for the conference is established in consultation among the LAC, the Programme Committee, and the Secretary General. The Council will print two announcements of the conference, normally in the two Bulletins preceding the deadline for submission of paper proposals. The preliminary conference programme will be published in the Bulletin immediately preceding the conference. These announcements (“First/Second Notice” and preliminary programme) will be in English. Translations into other languages, if required, and their circulation are the responsibility of the local organization. The LAC will make the conference known in its own country. The Secretariat will use whatever practical means can be devised to provide international publicity.

5. Conference publications

5.1. Publication of official conference documents, such as the official programme, abstracts, and key papers, is planned in mutual consultation by the LAC, the Programme Committee, and the Secretariat, under the financial responsibility of the local organization. Official conference documents are published under ICTM's imprint after approval by the Secretary General of ICTM.

6. Other requirements to be fulfilled by the local organization

6.1. Conference accommodation

6.1.1. Main conference hall with seating for not less than 700. This hall must be fitted with the equipment necessary for PowerPoint and audiovisual presentations.

6.1.2. Not less than fourteen smaller rooms, to accommodate parallel paper sessions, and two additional rooms for dance and other workshops, film and audio presentations, and all manner of smaller meetings, all in reasonable proximity to each other. All rooms should have wireless access to the Internet.

6.1.3. A publication/exhibition space for books, CDs, DVDs and other items of interest to members (e.g., musical instruments).

6.1.4. A reception area, including space for the Secretariat and the registration desk.

6.1.5. An office for the Secretariat.

6.1.6. A lounge area for participants, preferably with refreshments available.

6.1.7. A room for delegates' use with wireless access to the Internet.

6.1.8. Meals available at the conference venue should include vegetarian and other dietary options. Other than during the Executive Board meetings, meal arrangements for Executive Board members should not be different from those of other conference participants. 

6.2. Staff, at all times

6.2.1. At least two people at the registration desk.

6.2.2. A conference administrator.

6.2.3. An audiovisual technician.

6.2.4. Students or staff who can provide audiovisual assistance in all rooms for conference presentations.

6.3. Equipment

6.3.1. The Programme Committee will establish in detail what equipment will be needed for presentations during the conference. This includes appropriate amplification and current presentation facilities in each room, including wireless Internet access, to be provided by the local organization.

6.4. Living accommodations

6.4.1. A range of accommodation options for participants should be made available. Most delegates prefer moderately priced accommodation where participants can maintain contact with each other. Meals should be arranged so that the members of the conference can be together.

6.5. Hospitality

6.5.1. The LAC is asked to provide as part of its budgetary responsibility board and lodging for members of the Executive Board during the days of the Executive Board meetings. It is usual for the local organization to arrange an official reception for the conference, and to arrange for the provision of refreshments during the sessions of the Executive Board.

6.5.2. It is customary for one day during the conference to be set aside for local excursions. Excursions are to be arranged by the LAC in consultation with the Secretary General. A representative of the LAC must accompany delegates on all excursions.

6.5.3. The LAC is asked to ensure that the conference will be equally welcoming for all participants, where feasible, irrespective of their state of mobility, vision, hearing, or similar potential challenges to participation.

7. UNESCO Participation Programme

7.1. The ICTM is an NGO in formal consultative relations with UNESCO, and both the LAC and ICTM are entitled to request from UNESCO through its Participation Programme a grant in support of the conference. Applications require the endorsement of the National Commission for UNESCO of the host country and of two other National Commissions.

7.2. Application for this grant should reach UNESCO at the earliest possible moment. The LAC is strongly advised to consult from the outset with the ICTM Secretariat on application procedures.

8. Registration fee

8.1 A schedule of fees for participation in the conference is to be approved by the Executive Board at its meeting in the year prior to the conference, in consultation with the LAC. The ICTM requires a financial contribution from the conference to be negotiated with the Secretariat. Support for the publication of papers from the conference would be one form of contribution.

Ratified in July 1985 (Helsinki); revised in July 1989 (Schladming), 1990, August 1999 (Hiroshima), 2003 (online discussion), August 2005 (Sheffield), September 2006 (Ljubljana), June 2009 (Durban), July 2010 (St. John's), June 2016 (Limerick).