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FAQs for the 2021 Annual Conference

posted by CAA — Jul 16, 2020

We will update this page frequently. Thanks for your patience and flexibility! 

This information is current as of September 10, 2020.

Why are we changing the conference format? 

As we announced in our letter to CAA members, since the COVID-19 pandemic began, CAA’s prime consideration for planning the 2021 conference has been the health and safety of our membership and our communities. Even as parts of our world begin to “reopen,” we face many unknowns on what the state of health and safety will be in February.   

We had hoped to convene a fully in-person conference in New York this February 10–13, 2021. However, the pandemic and uncertainty of the months ahead—as well as increasing economic pressures on institutions and individuals, leading to diminished funds for professional development and travel—have caused us to rethink our plans.   

How did CAA come to this decision and why decide now?  

Our decision was informed by a robust response (almost 1,200 replies!) to a survey sent to members in May regarding their ideas about CAA hosting an online conference. Exceptionally useful feedback was provided in terms of what types of activities would be appealing to attend online, the value of in-person gatherings, and what price points seem reasonable. We are building on what you shared with us.  

There are many factors in determining the costs and benefits of going online; these are currently being evaluated by CAA staff and will continue to be addressed as we move forward. But making this decision now allows staff and the Annual Conference Committee time to plan for an iteration of the conference that will ensure the core benefits of the event are maintained: opportunities to share new research, listen to esteemed artists, designers, and scholars, and connect with peers.   

What will the conference look like?  

The program will include conference sessions online. We are also looking at ways to present other conference activities in person, depending on the state of the pandemic in early 2021.   

After the Annual Conference Committee selects sessions to be included in the program, we will build a four-day conference with the same basic structure as the usual in-person conference, possibly with fewer sessions per day. We are also considering an extended schedule for sharing virtual sessions; the details of this will be determined in August, after the sessions are selected.  

We are currently exploring options for other aspects of the conference (e.g., the Book and Trade Fair, Workshops, poster sessions, receptions) and will know more once the session content is scheduled.  

We are taking into account the many concerns members have expressed about virtual presentations, such as sharing scholarship online, the challenges of different time zones, and “Zoom fatigue.”   

Lastly, we will be surveying those whose sessions are accepted for the Annual Conference to understand technical and practical preferences for presenting their work so that we can address everyone’s particular needs and concerns.   

We thank you for your patience as we address these issues. Please stay tuned for more details.  

How has this affected the key dates for the conference?   

Our submissions timeline was affected by the spring COVID-19 crisis and pushed back the overall planning process by roughly a month. The updated key dates are posted on the conference website and can be found at the bottom of the proposals page.   

When will I know if my proposal has been accepted?  

The Annual Conference Committee is currently reviewing the 800-plus proposal submissions and is on schedule to select those that will be included in the conference program. This process will be completed by mid– to late August and members whose submissions have been accepted will be notified.   

Can I still submit a proposal/paper?   

Yes. While the portal has closed for session submissions for CAA 2021, there are still ways to submit.  

  1. Sessions inviting a call for participation (CFP) will be open from August 12 to September 16, 2020. A list of accepted sessions that are soliciting contributors and their abstracts will be posted at the beginning of August on the CAA website. VISIT HERE for more information. The chairs of accepted sessions that are soliciting contributors will accept proposals directly from submitters by September 23.  
  1. Visit Call for Proposals for posters sessions and Workshops and related deadlines and participation requirements.   

How will papers be delivered during CAA2021?  

Session presenters will upload their prerecorded presentations, which conference registrants may access online shortly before and through the conference dates. Live Q&A will be scheduled for each session between February 10 and 13, providing the collegial, interactive, and accountable engagement created by attending sessions as a community. Questions about session presentations may be submitted to session chairs after viewing a session in advance of the scheduled live Q&A. Uploaded content will be accessible to registrants for a limited time after the conference dates. We will provide detailed information for presenters and attendees closer to the conference. 

I have questions and concerns about presenting virtually and sharing my work. If I’m accepted, what can I do to prepare?  

CAA and our technical support team will share guidelines for preparing for virtual sessions, including preconference webinars to walk both presenters and audience members through the technology of participation.  

CAA’s Annual Conference Committee, legal counsel, and staff are working on protocols and guidelines regarding best practices to protect the intellectual property of participants. This information will be made available on the CAA website in early fall.  

When will the conference website open and registration begin?  

The Annual Conference website will go live in November 2020. At that time, you will see the session listings and details on other conference programming. You may also register for the conference at that time.  

Will conference registration and fees change?  

Registration options and fees will be posted in early November 2020. Information provided by the conference survey will help determine the fee structure.   

In order to present at the Annual Conference, you must be a current CAA member and also registered for the conference.  

What will be free and open to the public for CAA2021?   

Programming by the Services to Artists Committee and the Student and Emerging Professionals Committee will be free and open to the public. A full list of free and open programming will be noted on the Annual Conference website when it opens in November 2020.  


For FAQs about Annual Conference Logistics, Submissions, Conference Registration, Membership, and Calls for Participation, VISIT HERE. 


We know we may not have answered all of your questionsPlease let us know! Email questions to  

We will update this page frequently. Thanks for your patience and flexibility! 

Filed under: Annual Conference