Congress 2016 will take a village: University of Calgary put its hosting skills on display and welcomed team from Ottawa for three days of planning meetings

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Jennifer Robitaille, Communications Specialist, Faculty of Arts, University of Calgary

Planning for the 2016 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences jointly organized by the University of Calgary and the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences officially kicked off on Sept. 28, 2015.

UCalgary hosted 10 members from the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences as they descended on campus to meet and discuss all things logistics and planning with UCalgary colleagues and local representatives from over 70 scholarly associations that will attend the weeklong conference.

Congress 2016 will run from May 28 to June 3, 2016 and is organized around the theme “Energizing Communities”. Congress 2016 will see more than 8,000 attendees visit UCalgary for the largest annual academic gathering in Canada highlighting humanities and social science research.

Hosting that many people will take planning, organization, dedication and cooperation between many of the UCalgary community from IT to food services to the child-minding services and facilities to the bookstore, and campus security, accessibility, waste management and hotel and conference housing.

“Over three days, we held close to 20 meetings and various campus venue tours with the Federation team from Ottawa. We talked about logistical planning from food services with the food service providers and the challenges and best practices in making sure 8,000 attendees are fed to meetings with IT and audio visual to plan for equipment needs and infrastructure requirements for seven days of lectures, presentations and workshops to touring residences and proposed accommodations for attendees,” said University of Calgary’s Anne Jaggard, Logistics Coordinator, Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences 2016.

Jean-Marc Mangin, Executive Director from the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences and Bart Beaty, University of Calgary’s Academic Convenor for Congress 2016 welcomed approximately 90 attendees to present the Congress 2016 Planning Guide to the scholarly association Programs Chairs and Local Arrangement Coordinators who are responsible for managing the programming for events and logistics for each of their associations. Seventy-three scholarly associations will hold their annual conferences during Congress 2016.

“In the eight months before us, we look forward to working together with the University of Calgary and Program Chairs and Local Arrangement Coordinators to plan a fantastic Congress. This is the 85th year of Congress, the 75th anniversary of the Federation, and the University of Calgary’s 50th anniversary and we look forward to commemorating these milestones together,” said Jean-Marc Mangin, Executive Director, Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences.

To put all the planning in perspective, last year’s Congress at the University of Ottawa hosted 5,805 papers, 7,834 accommodation room nights, required 289 volunteers, held 60 on-campus receptions, served 771 catering orders and 36,000 cups of coffee and looked after the care and safety for 80 children with onsite child minding.

Congress 2016 will also be open to the broader university and city of Calgary community hosting the Big Thinking speaker series including keynote addresses by leading scholars and public figures, other special events and book launches, interdisciplinary symposia and performances by the university’s own School of Creative and Performing Arts.

Congress 2016 registration for all attendees will begin in January 2016 along with ongoing announcements of keynote speakers and cultural performances early in the New Year. More information is available at


Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences