Info at a Glance
Concept: Conferences to
Go are packaged "conferences," delivered right to your door via mail or
The ATA is developing
the Conference to Go concept, and is currently recruiting "speakers" for
the first session. Once developed, the Conferences to Go will be offered
to the general public, with discounted memberships for ATA members.
The April 1st issue of Tarot Reflections
carried this announcement: “Portland Conference Cancelled.”
This was one of the hardest decisions we
have had to make, but the volatile world situation and uncertain economy
have taken their toll ... and, sadly, we were unable to obtain the minimum
number of conference registrants by our April 1st deadline.
We do have some good news, though. The
ATA Board is proud to introduce the concept of “Conferences to Go.
In terms of providing a forum for meeting
Tarot authors, artists, professionals, and enthusiasts, national
conferences can be hard to beat. The workshops provide hands-on experience
and great opportunities to interact with the brightest stars of the Tarot
community. The banquets and costume parties offer good food and good fun
(and even, on occasion, glimpses of James Wells in High Priestess drag).
At the same time, large regional and
national conferences pose significant challenges. They're expensive to
host ... and expensive to attend (especially by the time airfare, room
charges, and meals are figured in!). Attending a conference also demands
an investment of personal time (at least an entire weekend) -- and, of
course, whenever a conference is scheduled, there will be some folks who
simply can't attend.
When our members began telling us about
their concerns with both travel and expenses, the ATA began
investigating a number of alternatives to conventional conferences. One
exciting alternative now in development is the "Conference To Go."
"Nothing can ever equal the energy and
excitement of a live conference," says Mark McElroy, VP of Media for the
ATA. "And we expect national and regional conferences, in one form or
another, to always play a role in the Tarot community. That said, with
members uncertain about the economy and travel, we decided it was time
to come up with some alternatives to large conferences ... and the idea
of the Conference To Go was born."
"Instead of you traveling to a
conference, the Conference To Go travels to you," explains Valerie
Sim, VP of Communications for the ATA. "The goal is to deliver the
information, excitement, and even the interactivity of a conference
directly to the attendee's door. Think of it as a way of getting all the
benefits of a conference, without having to rearrange your schedule or
travel ... and without having to eat a single serving of boneless
The concept is simple: conference
"speakers" create presentations in the form of articles, video segments,
slide shows, or audio tapes. This material -- including information and
exercises for both groups and individuals -- is combined in book or CD
format and mailed to attendees (or made available for conference
attendees to download from a web site). After reading or listening to
the presentations, attendees can get together on conference calls or in
online chat rooms for additional presentations, workshops, or Q&A with
"It was important to us to preserve the
spirit of interaction," says Janet Selman, VP of Education for the ATA.
"So many people who work with Tarot live in small towns, or do so in
isolation. Networking and meeting other Tarot enthusiasts is an
important part of what a conference delivers. That's why we want every
Conference To Go to include group activities and exercises, too. We want
to encourage people who live near each other to get together in small
regional groups, work through the exercises, and bring their shared
experiences to the teleconferences and online chats."
Sandra Thompson, President of the ATA,
agrees ... and notes another advantage of the Conference To Go package.
"At almost every conference you attend, you're forced to choose between
one workshop and another. Do you want to hear Mary Greer talk about her
research into emotions and keywords ... or do you want to hear Rachel
Pollack talk about the influences on the Shining Tribe Tarot? It's
agony!" said Sandra Thomson, ATA Chairman. "With Conferences To Go, you
get all the information from all the sessions. If your schedule won't
allow you to attend the teleconferences or chat sessions, you'll be able
to replay them at your convenience later on."
"We'll be exploring a number of
technologies as we continue to develop the Conference To Go solution,"
McElroy notes. "We'll probably start small -- printed materials, a
dedicated website, a teleconference, and an online chat. At the same
time, we're also looking into using software like Microsoft NetMeeting
to bring to the Tarot community the same kind of online conferencing
that corporations have been using for years as an alternative to
McElroy estimates that the ATA will be
able to offer the Conference to Go packages for less than the cost of a
single night's hotel stay at a major conference. "For what attendees
normally pay to sleep in one room for one night, we'll be able to
provide a really exciting package. Attendees will get materials they can
keep and refer to for years ... plus the opportunity to meet and chat
with authors, artists, and other Tarot enthusiasts -- without the time
and expense associated with travel. Best of all, people who would never
be able to attend a large national conference will finally have an
option they can enjoy and afford."
Speakers are now being recruited for the
first Conference To Go, and the first package is expected to be
available by mid-August. As with conventional conferences, attendance
will be open to the general public ... with ATA members enjoying a
members-only discount. "We'll keep everyone posted as our progress
continues," promises Selman. "Watch for more announcements in Tarot
Reflections and at www.ata-tarot.com."