Hosting a NACAA

Since 2008, the work of running each NACAA has been split between three committees: a local organising committee (LOC), a programme committee (PC), and the Secretariat (INC).

The Local Organising Committee

The LOC is responsible for hosting the event. This involves organising and executing all of the local arrangements needed to present the technical programme and the associated social functions, and ensure its smooth running. The actions that the LOC needs to perform include:

  • Selecting venues suitable for the programme and social events. NACAAs prior to COVID had around 100-120 attendees, and offered multiple streams of presentations, workshops, etc. over the four day weekend
  • Negotiating contracts with the venue providers and caterers
  • Providing information to be displayed on the NACAA web site on topics such as accommodation, transport options, etc.
  • Organising the social events: the welcome function, convention dinner, closing function, etc.
  • Organising meals and refreshments for the duration of the event
  • Answering email queries regarding local arrangements
  • Provisioning and assisting with the operation of audio/visual/IT facilities* as needed: computers, software, data projectors, microphones, loudspeakers, internet access, etc.
  • Provisioning display boards for poster papers
  • Arranging photographers, particularly for the group photo, and assistants to collate and process images for the convention DVD
  • Organising transport as needed
  • Providing assistants for the registration and help desk, technical assistants in the lecture rooms, and other helpers as needed
  • Making announcements as needed to keep participants informed of the day's activities
  • Liaising on a regular basis with the PC to ensure the smooth running of the programme, and with INC for budgeting, registrations, web site content, key announcements and bulletins, etc.

This is not an exhaustive list. Every NACAA throws up new challenges to make the LOC's job more interesting.

The LOC may also arrange local excursions, public lectures, trade displays, and other activities. As well, the LOC may advertise and promote the event locally, and are encouraged to attract local sponsors to provide prizes, etc, for NACAA attendees, and/or additional income for the hosting organisation, so long as these extra activities complement NACAA's objectives.

Other requirements for an LOC include the ability to meet deadlines, work with minimal supervision, and have members with experience of previous NACAAs and expertise in the increasingly diverse range of technical and organisational skills needed to run a successful NACAA convention.

* INC owns a collection of IT/AV equipment which the LOC is welcome to use. The set up and operation of this equipment is the responsibility of the LOC, though INC will provide advice and assistance.

The Other Committees

The Programme Committee is responsible for organising and scheduling the technical content of the convention, and assists with the production of the DVD of the convention proceedings. It will reach out to the astronomy community to encourage people to present talks and posters, conduct workshops and round-table sessions, and run associated events such as symposia, colloquia, and workshops. The role of the PC is to ensure the highest level of quality and diversity for the technical content of the convention.

The Secretariat supports the operation of the PC and LOC. Full details can be found here.


Running a NACAA is not easy, but it's a lot easier than it was when one committee had to do everything. The INC committee contains members with extensive experience in running previous NACAAs, and is able to provide checklists and schedules to assist the LOC's planning. The previous Convenor is a member of INC, and is there to provide advice to his or her successor as needed.

If you are interested in hosting a future NACAA, please contact the Secretariat to discuss it further. Please note that bids are often already in the queue for the next NACAA, so a potential host may be bidding for an event in four or even six years time.