The IGS host anything from 1 to 5 symposia every year. Our symposia are usually fairly small and focused. We typically have between 100 to 400 delegates with the average somewhere between 150 to 170.
A typical IGS symposium occupies a week, commencing with Registration and an Icebreaker event on the Sunday afternoon/evening followed by five days of scientific presentations, but leaving time for a half-day excursion or activity on the Wednesday afternoon and a symposium banquet on the Thursday evening. Symposia tend to finish late Friday afternoon.
Most often the IGS is approached by a group or individual glaciologist expressing a wish to host an event. Usually, the proposed theme is something the local glaciology group specializes in and it can be anything remotely connected to the study of snow and ice. Symposia are usually initiated 3–4 years in advance. The normal procedure is that someone approaches the IGS and inquires about holding a meeting. The IGS looks at the subject and tries to make certain that there is not a conflict with other proposed symposia and that the subject proposed has not recently been covered.
It is also possible that the IGS feels it is time for a specifically themed symposia or even we feel it is time to have a symposium in a country where there is a good representation of IGS members. The IGS will then approach a group or groups in that country and ask ‘is it not time for an IGS symposium in your country?’.