How to Organize a
Log Cabin Workshop
Structure: Log Cabin Workshops have been previously held in scenic areas across the U.S. Participants live in a shared space for 6-8 days to promote camaraderie and intellectual engagement. Living together for the entire time is mandatory. It has been found that more than 16 people tend to overcrowd the space and the meeting loses its intimate quality. The participants all share cooking and cleaning responsibilities.
Venue: A large rental house or cabin is the most suitable for the meeting. Shared beds are not allowed. Find a place with a room large enough to house everyone during the presentations. The organizers should work with the awarding GEAR hub to ensure all rental guidelines are followed at least 3-6 months before the meeting.
Transportation: Lodging should be near an airport or within reasonable driving distance. At least one of the organizers should have access to a car in order to buy food, to pick up participants from the airport, medical emergencies, etc.
Talks: The organizers provide a list of topics beforehand on the website. The participants pick a topic in which to give a 2-3 hour talk. The aim of the talks should be to teach the participants the assigned topic, not to talk about one’s own research. Due to the added responsibilities of being an organizer, it is suggested that organizers do not give talks.
Notes and resources: Each speaker is required to produce notes based on their presentation and to suggest useful background sources. These should be assembled on a workshop website which becomes a permanent resource for the entire GEAR network. Information on past workshops are at Workshop on Sp(4,R)-Anosov representations, Higgs Bundles and Harmonic Maps Workshop, and 2013 Workshop on Higher Teichmuller-Thurston Theory and will give a good idea of how this should be done.
Materials: There should also be space in the venue to tape (gently) whiteboard material to the wall. It is difficult to transport whiteboards, but relatively cheap whiteboard materials can be purchased at any Home Depot.
- Whiteboard material
- Basic first-aid kit
Create an environment where the participants feel comfortable and are excited to ask questions and engage in mathematical discussions. Not every participant has to make a presentation, but everyone should be actively engaged in mathematical discussions. Encourage interaction between participants.
The goal of the talks is for everyone to broaden their knowledge on the topic. Therefore, your talk should present the assigned material with all participants in mind.