Guidelines for Organizing an ICDAD Annual Conference

ICDAD is an International Committee of ICOM focusing on the research, the conservation and management of decorative art and design. Its name is the abbreviation for “International Committee for Museums and Collections of Decorative Art and Design”.

Members participate in cooperative arrangements, special symposia and annual gatherings during which they may give presentations on proposed themes related to the city and the cultural surrounding where the meeting is being held. These annual visits enable members to participate in organized visits to museums, historic houses and monuments, artists' and designers' workshops, galleries and private collections. Conservation and interpretive issues, the use of technology and the exploration of new directions in research and publishing, as applicable to decorative arts and design, are of vital interest to ICDAD. The time range is from antiquity to our days.

1. Frequency

By ICOM-Statutes every International and National Committee must hold an annual General Assembly. An annual Board Meeting is compulsory to manage the committee just as for financial support by ICOM. ICDAD has chosen to combine the annual General Assembly regularly with a professional conference. Moreover, the conference enables raising and discussing professional issues and is a good platform for Board and host to encourage new membership, especially among local attendants and professionals.

2. Host and Theme of the Annual Conference

In choosing a host the Board of ICDAD should consider, as a priority, the need to address the worldwide reach of ICOM. Over a period, hosts should be seen to accommodate a variety of professional issues as well as geographical, socio-political and cultural settings and locations.

When hosts are proposed as options by ICDAD they should be considered in the light of the above overall commitment to ICDAD and ICOM. They should also accommodate the commitment of ICDAD to attend the triennial General Assembly of ICOM.

The Board should decide three years in advance in favor of a possible host and host country.

The Board can also decide to cooperate with another International Committee for the Annual Conference when the Conference theme is of a common interest.

The Conference theme should be proposed by the host after close consultation with the Board two years in advance; it should be announced at the General Assembly. The theme should encourage a variety of topics in all papers though respecting the theme proposed.

3. Program

The theme should be presented within plenary sessions just as discussed within working groups, the members of the working groups being determined by the profile of Museums and Collections of Decorative Art and Design presented by delegates.

Excursions are an integral component of the annual conference. Proposed tours/visits should have a close relationship to the conference theme. They should take place half way through the conference. The host can offer an additional post-conference tour to be costed separately.

4. Benefits for the Host

The ICDAD Conference provides a focus in the host country (city or region) for a gathering of international experts in the field of Museums and Collections of Decorative Art and Design. Each conference establishes a professional and personal network which will last far beyond the single conference. International experts provide fresh ideas feedback and options on developments in the host country. The conference may raise the international profile of the host’s collection or museum through its participation in worldwide networking from the point of view of business and tourism. The conference provides a platform for VIP or government representatives of the host.

5. Responsibility of Host and Board

The host of a Conference and General Assembly should:

  • define the Conference theme in detail, 

  • develop the Call for Papers, 

  • organize the program in accordance with the procedure detailed below, 

  • provide venues for General Assembly and Conference, and for the Board meeting (including the following dinner of the Board), 

  • provide support facilities for General Assembly and Conference, 

  • propose a variety of suitable accommodation, 

  • send out invitations to the main speakers (enclosing a letter from the Chair),  

  • organize tours appropriate to the theme of the Conference. 

The Board should be only involved in the organization as far as the co-ordination of the conference is concerned.

The host can consult the Chair, but only for feedback about decision making.

6. Organizing an Annual Conference

Call for Paper/Final Program:

The host presents the Call for Paper as just as the Final Program to the Chair who makes the confirmation after consulting the Board.

After reception of all proposals, these should be appreciated by the host together with the Chair. Papers must respect the theme given and be scientifically relevant. A minimum of papers by local professionals is desirable.

Board Meeting:

The Board Meeting is an integral part of the annual conference. A significant portion of time (at least half a day) on the day preceding the conference needs to be set aside for Board business. The host should provide a suitable meeting venue (for 12 people) along with administrative infrastructure. The host should also arrange a joint dinner/lunch as integral part of the Board meeting.

Conference Venue:

Ideally the host organization will be in a position to provide the conference venue (at no/or greatly reduced charge). The venue should be within reasonable access of accommodation and transport. The conference venue should have a suitably large meeting room (for minimum 60-80 people), with all reasonable technical support. In the past, a separate adjoining space for coffee and tea breaks has proved useful. Lunch/dinner should be provided on site or nearby.


ICOM is an international organization and has three official languages, therefore it should be possible to provide all information concerning the conference in English, French and Spanish. This also concerns the abstracts which should be distributed at the beginning of the conference. There should always be provided simultaneous translation from one or two of these languages into/from the local idiom, whenever none of the three is locally adopted.

ICDAD recommends English for lectures. If not, at least the abstract should be provided in English.


The Conference registration fees must cover all costs of the event. The fees must be calculated on a realistic basis; ICDAD will not cover any deficit.

The host is responsible that the registration fee adequately covers all costs and meet the conference requirements, including rent, receptions, coffee/tea breaks, technical support, tours and bank commission fees. [Bank commission fees (currency conversions fees) should not be underestimated. A lot of people subtract the commission from the registration fee and do not pay the full amount, which may leave the host with a loss. The host is advised to consider this possibility when determining the fees].

In general, the host is well advised to seek additional support by sponsors or local authorities (e.g. receptions, tours etc. by local collectors and designers, partner museums or municipalities etc.). Fundraising activities must agree with ICOM rules; ICDAD is glad to assist the host in their fundraising activities.

The host is responsible for administrating the payment of the fee as well as of the expenses for the conference. The host delivers a financial report at least 3 months after the end of the conference

The fees should make a clear distinction between ICDAD and non-ICDAD members and ICOM and non-ICOM members. The following people are exempted from the payment of a registration fee:

  • Host organization/organizer, Chair and Secretary of ICDAD,
  • Key speakers, if specially invited.

Board members pay the regular registration fee but can ask for a subsidy out of the ICDAD budget.  


In general accommodation arrangements should be settled between the participants and hotels directly, to reduce the amount of paperwork and bureaucracy for the host. In advance the host should however arrange for special conditions with a range of three or four hotels at different price levels. In addition, a list of available hotels in the city/region or appropriate website or tourist/accommodation office email address/website should be distributed/sent out as early as possible.


Board and host must be aware, that the participation in the conference may serve primarily to gain entrance visas for host or transit countries. The host should therefore examine participation requests carefully on the grounds of an ICOM-membership or via the diplomatic representatives of the host country. Use common sense! If a letter of invitation is required for the visa, Chair and host should sign the letters of invitation jointly after careful examination of the circumstances.


The Call for Papers should be sent out as soon as possible (preferably straight after the annual conference) via email by the Secretary/Treasurer. The Call for Papers should parallelly be published on the websites of the host, its partner organizations, the organizations of the Board members, the national ICOM-Committees and the ICOM-Bulletin.

An Information Sheet including place, date, theme, provisional program and fees should be sent out in the same way 9-12 months in advance.

The Registration Form should be sent out 6-4 months in advance and include:

  • Final program, 

  • Address of the conference site and associated functions such as reception, starting point of tours etc., 

  • A street map, or simplified street map, of the conference site area and/or additional locations (reception/meetings etc.), 

  • Contact details and contact person for the site (phone, fax, email, etc.), 

  • Airport and indication of buses, taxis to city/venue, 

  • Sea Ferry Port (where applicable) and indication of buses, trains, taxis to city of venue, 

  • Train and Bus stations as appropriate, 

  • Ground Transport arrangements in city/region, 

  • Likely weather conditions for the conference period and associated advice to delegates. 


The summaries and results of the Conference will be published on the ICDAD website. The author is designated by the Board before the Conference begins. Copyright issues should be resolved by every author in advance of the publication.

Every participant should allow ICDAD and ICOM to use all film and photographic materials that show him or her during the conference.

Reporting and Feedback:

After the conference the host should give a written report including names of all participants, sponsors and other institutions/persons involved and any other relevant information.

The conference will be evaluated by the Board together with the host based on a questionnaire filled in by the participants.

7. Annex

Time Table

3 years in advance Nominating the host country and institution, name of the responsible organizer / organizing team
2 years in advance  Announcing of the conference theme (host / ICDAD chair / secretary)
12-9 months in advance  Sending out the Call for Papers (website, fb, email)
9-6 months in advance  Sending out the Letter of Invitation (host / ICDAD chair)  [personally, not published on the ICDAD website, as everyone could print it out]
6 months in advance 
  • Confirmation to the participating speakers (host / ICDAD chair)
  • Publication of the sections of the program
  • Proposing accomodation / special hotel arrangments
2-3 months in advance  Publication of the detailed program
1 day before the conference  Hosting of a Board Meeting
3 months after the end of the conference  Report (financial / general) to the ICDAD chair

Template for the Conference / Structure

1 day before the conference   Board Meeting
3 half days lectures in the morning 
  • Papers of 15 minutes + 5 minutes discussion (eventually at the end of the session/optional) –including one coffee break.
  • Possibility of a Pecha Kucha session for short presentations of
  • 20 slides / 20 seconds each
  • All sessions are to be moderated (introduction, keeping the timetable, preparing and conducting the Q&As.
  • Abstracts have to be provided to the moderator beforehand)
3 half days tours in the afternoon  including one coffee break
3rd day directly after the lectures  General Assembly
3rd day evening Farewell Dinner
4th and 5th day
  • Optional: Post Conference Tours
  • Board Meeting (2 hours) to recapitulate the Conference and General Assembly and to set decisions for the following steps / tasks

Charge of cancellation:

If a registered member has to cancel his/her participation until 30 days before the conference, the registration fee will be refunded, minus a processing fee of 50% of the participation fee. After this time no refund will be given.*

The registration fee includes the participation of the conference, coffee breaks and the social program (i.e. reception and guided tours within the conference). Day tickets cannot / can be issued (to be decided by the host).

The registration fee is to be paid in advance of the event.


ICDAD publishes a list of participants for the conference and makes use of your name and contact data (email and / or postal address). The organizers point out that for the purposes of conference documentation and public relations, film and photo shoots will be taken during the conference. The participants cede all film and photographic rights to ICDAD and ICOM by registering for the conference.

* For the triennial ICOM General Conference, please refer to the correspondent website.