What is a conference and what is its purpose ?


In the pro­fes­sion­al and aca­dem­ic world, con­fer­ences play an import­ant role in exchan­ging ideas, present­ing research and encour­aging col­lab­or­a­tion. But what exactly is a con­fer­ence? What is its pur­pose and how is it organ­ised? In this art­icle, the events team at the Deau­ville Con­ven­tion Centre give you a full over­view of the subject.

What is a colloquium?

The word “col­loqui­um” comes from the Lat­in “col­loqui­um”, mean­ing “con­ver­sa­tion” or “dis­cus­sion”. A col­loqui­um is there­fore a priv­ileged space where indi­vidu­als with a com­mon interest come togeth­er to engage in dia­logue and cre­ate an envir­on­ment con­du­cive to the exchange of innov­at­ive ideas.

A con­fer­ence is there­fore an event organ­ised by pro­fes­sion­als or aca­dem­ics, bring­ing togeth­er a num­ber of people to dis­cuss a spe­cif­ic theme or issue. Par­ti­cipants may be research­ers, experts, stu­dents or rep­res­ent­at­ives of pub­lic and private organisations.

The main aim of a con­fer­ence is to enable par­ti­cipants to present their research work, exchange ideas, com­pare their points of view and devel­op col­lab­or­a­tions. It also serves to pro­mote sci­entif­ic and tech­nic­al advances in a par­tic­u­lar field, by provid­ing a plat­form for com­mu­nic­a­tion and visibility.


Why organise a conference?

There are many reas­ons why organ­izers choose to set up a symposium:

  • Dis­sem­in­at­ing know­ledge: the main aim of a sym­posi­um is to enable research­ers and spe­cial­ists to share their dis­cov­er­ies and work with oth­er mem­bers of the com­munity, thereby pro­mot­ing the spread of know­ledge. The main aim is to share the res­ults of recent research and help pop­ular­ize them among a wider audience.
  • Strength­en­ing net­works: fos­ter­ing exchanges between research­ers, insti­tu­tions and com­pan­ies, in par­tic­u­lar to ini­ti­ate new col­lab­or­at­ive pro­jects. The sym­posi­um fosters col­lab­or­a­tion by offer­ing par­ti­cipants the oppor­tun­ity to estab­lish con­tacts with oth­er research­ers and pro­fes­sion­als, thus facil­it­at­ing future col­lab­or­a­tions and joint projects.
  • Pro­mot­ing research: provid­ing a for­um for research­ers to present and dis­cuss their work with peers and oth­er experts in the field. By high­light­ing the latest advances in a spe­cif­ic field, the sym­posi­um encour­ages par­ti­cipants to pur­sue their research and explore new aven­ues of study.
  • Con­tinu­ing edu­ca­tion: enabling par­ti­cipants to acquire new skills and know­ledge in their discipline.
Hall 2 du C.I.D Deau­ville ©L.Lebailly

Characteristics of a symposium

Choos­ing a spe­cif­ic theme for the symposium
Each sym­posi­um focuses on a spe­cif­ic, clearly defined theme. The top­ic may be sci­entif­ic, tech­no­lo­gic­al, cul­tur­al, social, eco­nom­ic or any oth­er discipline.

Colloquium presentations

Col­loqui­um par­ti­cipants are invited to sub­mit pro­pos­als for papers in the form of sci­entif­ic art­icles, abstracts or oral present­a­tions. The best papers are selec­ted by a com­mit­tee of experts for present­a­tion at the sym­posi­um sessions.

Guest speakers

Col­loqui­um organ­izers can invite renowned speak­ers and experts in the field to give open­ing or clos­ing addresses, bring­ing addi­tion­al expert­ise and inspir­a­tion to participants.

Debates and discussions

After each present­a­tion, a ques­tion-and-answer peri­od is usu­ally sched­uled to encour­age con­struct­ive exchange and debate. This provides an oppor­tun­ity to com­pare dif­fer­ent per­spect­ives and deep­en reflections.

Publication of proceedings

The work presen­ted at a sym­posi­um is often pub­lished in the form of pro­ceed­ings or col­lec­tions of sci­entif­ic papers. This helps dis­sem­in­ate know­ledge and advances with­in the sci­entif­ic community.


How is a conference organised?

The pro­ced­ure for a con­fer­ence can vary accord­ing to its size, theme and tar­get audi­ence. How­ever, cer­tain stages are gen­er­ally com­mon to all conferences:

Conference: call for papers

The organ­isers issue a call for papers invit­ing research­ers to sub­mit their present­a­tion or poster pro­pos­als. These pro­pos­als are then eval­u­ated by a sci­entif­ic com­mit­tee, which selects the best ones for inclu­sion in the programme.

Registration for the conference

Any­one inter­ested in attend­ing the con­fer­ence must register, often by pay­ing a regis­tra­tion fee, to attend the vari­ous ses­sions and activ­it­ies planned.

Presentations and workshops

Dur­ing the con­fer­ence, speak­ers will present their work in the form of plen­ary lec­tures, par­al­lel ses­sions or posters. Work­shops and round tables may also be organ­ised to explore cer­tain top­ics in great­er depth and encour­age exchanges between participants.

Publication of proceedings

After the con­fer­ence, the organ­isers gen­er­ally pub­lish the pro­ceed­ings, which include abstracts of present­a­tions, posters and work­shop reports. These pro­ceed­ings help to dis­sem­in­ate the res­ults of the con­fer­ence to a wider audience.

cock­tail sund­ance babxiii 

Organizing a symposium: action plan and management

Organ­iz­ing a sym­posi­um requires rig­or­ous plan­ning and effect­ive coordin­a­tion between the vari­ous play­ers involved. The Pal­ais des Con­grès de Deau­ville, the ven­ue for major sym­po­sia in France, presents the main steps to fol­low in organ­iz­ing a suc­cess­ful symposium:

  1. Defin­ing the theme and object­ives: this involves pre­cisely defin­ing the sub­ject of the sym­posi­um, as well as the issues to be addressed and the ques­tions to be tackled.
  2. Set­ting up the organ­iz­ing team: this team must be com­pet­ent and motiv­ated, with mem­bers with com­ple­ment­ary pro­files (research­ers, industry pro­fes­sion­als, com­mu­nic­a­tion spe­cial­ists, etc.).
  3. Draw­ing up a pro­vi­sion­al budget: the costs of organ­iz­ing the sym­posi­um (room hire, audi­ovisu­al equip­ment, cater­ing, speak­ers’ travel expenses, etc.) need to be estim­ated, and pos­sible sources of fund­ing iden­ti­fied (sub­sidies, part­ner­ships, regis­tra­tion fees, etc.).
  4. Choice of ven­ue and date: it’s import­ant to choose a ven­ue that’s suit­able for the size of the sym­posi­um and easy for par­ti­cipants to get to. The date should be chosen tak­ing into account oth­er sim­il­ar events in the field and the avail­ab­il­ity of poten­tial speakers.
  5. Col­loqui­um pro­mo­tion: an effect­ive com­mu­nic­a­tion cam­paign must be put in place, not­ably via social net­works, spe­cial­ized web­sites and news­let­ters from part­ner institutions.

Fol­low-up and eval­u­ation: after the sym­posi­um, it is essen­tial to gath­er feed­back from par­ti­cipants (sat­is­fac­tion, sug­ges­tions for improve­ment) and ana­lyze the res­ults obtained (num­ber of par­ti­cipants, qual­ity of present­a­tions, media impact) in order to draw les­sons for the organ­iz­a­tion of future events.

What’s the difference between a colloquium, a conference and a symposium?

Although often used inter­change­ably, these terms actu­ally refer to slightly dif­fer­ent types of event:

  • Col­loqui­um: as we have seen, a col­loqui­um is a sci­entif­ic or pro­fes­sion­al meet­ing on a spe­cif­ic theme, with present­a­tions of research work and dis­cus­sions between participants.
  • Con­fer­ence: a con­fer­ence is a present­a­tion by an expert on a giv­en sub­ject, gen­er­ally fol­lowed by a ques­tion-and-answer ses­sion with the audi­ence. Unlike a col­loqui­um, a con­fer­ence focuses on the uni­direc­tion­al trans­mis­sion of know­ledge, with no real debate between participants.
  • Sym­posi­um: a sym­posi­um is sim­il­ar to a col­loqui­um, but smal­ler in size and often focused on a very spe­cif­ic issue. It gen­er­ally brings togeth­er recog­nized experts in their field to dis­cuss recent advances and future challenges.
Audi­to­rium du CID ©plan­fo­kal

Why hold a conference at the CID Deauville Convention Center?

Choos­ing the right ven­ue for a sym­posi­um is a cru­cial decision that can greatly influ­ence the suc­cess of the event. The Pal­ais des Con­grès CID Deau­ville, loc­ated on the Nor­mandy coast, offers a num­ber of advant­ages that make it an ideal ven­ue for a large-scale sym­posi­um. Here are just a few here are just some of the reas­ons why the Centre Inter­na­tion­al de Deau­ville is an ideal ven­ue for a sym­posi­um in France.


The Deauville convention center boasts modern, functional facilities

The Pal­ais des Con­grès CID Deau­ville boasts a mod­ern infra­struc­ture with all the amen­it­ies required to host a con­fer­ence. It boasts well-equipped con­fer­ence rooms, advanced audi­ovisu­al tech­no­lo­gies, high-speed Wi-Fi con­nec­tion and all the logist­ic­al equip­ment required to facil­it­ate present­a­tions and exchanges.

Salle gatsby class ebabxiii 
lex­ing­ton — ©gisaac
Audi­to­rium Michel d’Ornano ©J.Basile


The Palais des Congrès CID Deauville has a large capacity

The Pal­ais des Con­grès CID Deau­ville has a large capa­city, mak­ing it an ideal ven­ue for con­fer­ences of all sizes. Wheth­er the pro­fes­sion­al event is large or small, the space can be adap­ted to meet spe­cif­ic needs.

Sund­ance pleniere 

Deau­ville offers an excep­tion­al set­ting for a con­fer­ence in France
Deau­ville is a pres­ti­gi­ous des­tin­a­tion on the Nor­mandy coast, renowned for its eleg­ant beaches, charm­ing archi­tec­ture and refined ambi­ence. Organ­iz­ing a sym­posi­um in this envir­on­ment offers par­ti­cipants a pleas­ant and inspir­ing set­ting, con­du­cive to reflec­tion and creativity.

Deauville is easily accessible

Deau­ville enjoys excel­lent access­ib­il­ity, wheth­er by air, rail or road. The nearest inter­na­tion­al air­port is Deau­ville-Nor­man­die, and the Deau­ville-Trouville train sta­tion is well served by trains from major cit­ies. What’s more, the Pal­ais des Con­grès is eas­ily access­ible by car, with park­ing lots nearby.

Quality services and accommodation for your conference

The Pal­ais des Con­grès CID Deau­ville offers a wide range of ser­vices to facil­it­ate the organ­iz­a­tion of your event, such as cater­ing, exhib­i­tion space, regis­tra­tion and wel­come ser­vices. In addi­tion, Deau­ville offers a vari­ety of accom­mod­a­tion options, from lux­ury hotels to more afford­able estab­lish­ments, to meet the needs of all participants.

Business tourism: activities and entertainment

Deau­ville offers a wide range of activ­it­ies and enter­tain­ment for con­fer­ence par­ti­cipants, from cul­tur­al vis­its and beach walks to relax­ing spa ses­sions, golf ses­sions and gast­ro­nom­ic dis­cov­er­ies. These activ­it­ies enable par­ti­cipants to relax and forge inform­al links out­side the aca­dem­ic sessions.


CID is a prestigious and renowned setting for a successful conference

The Pal­ais des Con­grès CID Deau­ville is renowned for host­ing pres­ti­gi­ous, inter­na­tion­ally renowned events. Organ­iz­ing a sym­posi­um in this emblem­at­ic ven­ue adds a touch of prestige to the event, and can attract a great­er num­ber of par­ti­cipants and high-level speakers.

In short, the col­loqui­um is an essen­tial event for research­ers and pro­fes­sion­als wish­ing to share their work, exchange with their peers and devel­op their net­work. Its organ­iz­a­tion requires metic­u­lous plan­ning and rig­or­ous fol­low-up to ensure its suc­cess. The col­loqui­um plays an essen­tial role in the devel­op­ment of know­ledge and the dynam­ics of sci­entif­ic research, by enabling the shar­ing of inform­a­tion, the dis­cus­sion of innov­at­ive ideas and the bring­ing togeth­er of research­ers and experts from diverse back­grounds. It thus con­trib­utes to the enrich­ment of know­ledge and the advance­ment of know-how in a wide range of fields.

Centre Inter­na­tion­al de Deau­ville Ver­rière © bab13
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