There are many types of academic gatherings, listed here are a few commonly used terms to describe them:
- Conference is a large official meeting, usually lasting over a few days with a formal agenda, at which people come together to discuss their views on a topic. Conferences often feature keynote presentations as well as break-out sessions.
- Congress would typically be held at regular intervals (for example annually or every two years), often featuring a series of invited talks or keynotes.
- Meeting is often used interchangeably with Conference or Congress.
- Symposium is a smaller conference, often featuring more narrow topics than a Conference, Congress or Meeting, usually runs over one day with multiple expert speakers.
- Summit is often considered a meeting of decision-makers, where experts may be invited to contribute to the topic.
- Seminar is a lecture or presentation with discussion delivered to a small audience on a particular topic or set of topics that are educational in nature.
- Forum aims to encourage discussion and sharing of ideas, often in round-table format.
- Workshop is similar to Seminar, but with an emphasis on “hands-on-practice” or laboratory work, where participants expect to practice new skills under an expert instructor.