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Chair a Chicago Conference Session

posted by Emmanuel Lemakis — Aug 01, 2008

CAA holds its 98th Annual Conference in Chicago, Illinois, from Wednesday, February 10, to Saturday, February 13, 2010. The Annual Conference Committee invites session proposals that cover the breadth of current thought and research in art, art and architectural history, theory and criticism, pedagogical issues, museum and curatorial practice, conservation, and developments in technology. Session proposals are accepted through an online submission process at

The process of fashioning the conference program is a delicate balancing act. The 2010 program is shaped by four broad submission categories: Historical Studies, Contemporary Issues/Studio Art, Educational and Professional Practices, and Open Forms.

Also included in the mix are sessions presented by affiliated societies, CAA committees, and, for balance and programmatic equity, open sessions (which have a broad, inclusive topic or theme). Most program sessions, however, are drawn from submissions by individual members; the committee greatly depends on the participation of the CAA membership in forming the conference.

The Annual Conference Committee welcomes session proposals that include the work of established artists and scholars, along with that of younger scholars, emerging and midcareer artists, and graduate students. Particularly welcome are those sessions that highlight interdisciplinary work. Artists are especially encouraged to propose sessions appropriate to dialogue and information exchange relevant to artists.

The committee considers proposals from CAA members only. Once selected, session chairs must remain current members through 2010. No one may chair a session more than once in a three-year period. (That is, individuals who chaired sessions in 2008 or 2009 may not chair a session in 2010.)

Sessions may bring together scholars and participants in a wide range of fields, including but not limited to: anthropology, history, economics, philosophy, religion, literary theory, and new media. In addition, the committee seeks topics that have not been addressed in recent conferences or areas that have traditionally been underrepresented.

Proposals need not conform to traditional panel formats; indeed, experimentation is highly desirable. To this end, CAA presents Open Forms, a session category that encourages the submission of experimental and nontraditional formats (e.g., roundtables, performances, forums, conversations, multimedia presentations, and workshops). Open Forms sessions may be preformed, with participants chosen in advance by session chairs. Please note that these sessions require advance planning by the session chair; apply only if you have the time required to attend to such tasks.

Sessions selected by the Annual Conference Committee for the 2010 conference are considered regular program sessions; that is, they are 2½-hours long, are scheduled during the eight regular program time slots during the four days of the conference, and require a conference badge for admission. With the exception of the Open Forms category, CAA session proposals may not be submitted as preformed panels with a list of speakers. Proposals for papers for the 2010 sessions are solicited through the 2010 Call for Participation, published in February 2009.

Each CAA affiliated society and CAA committee may submit one proposal that follows the guidelines outlined above. A letter of support from the society or committee must accompany the submission. The Annual Conference Committee considers it, along with the other submissions, on the basis of merit.

Session Categories
Below are descriptions of the four general submission categories.

  • Historical Studies: This category broadly embraces all art-historical proposals up to the third quarter of the twentieth century
  • Contemporary Issues/Studio Art: This category is intended for studio-art proposals, as well as those concerned with contemporary art and theory, criticism, and visual culture
  • Educational and Professional Practices: This category pertains to session proposals that develop along more practical lines and address the educational and professional concerns of CAA members as teachers, practicing artists and critics, or museum curators
  • Open Forms: This category encourages experimental and alternative formats that transcend the traditional panel, with presentations whose content extends to serve the areas of contemporary issues, studio art, historical studies, and educational and professional practices

Proposal Submission Guidelines
For the 2010 conference, all session proposals are completed online. Please visit to begin your application. Prospective chairs must include the following in their proposal:

  • Top sheet: a completed session-proposal form, which must be filled out online and then printed. Please size your hard copy to fit an 8½ x 11 inch sheet of paper
  • Second sheet: if you have prior approval of one of CAA’s affiliated societies or a CAA committee to submit an application for a sponsored session, you must include an official letter of support from the society or committee. If you are not submitting an application for a sponsored session, please skip this step
  • Third sheet: your CV and, if applicable, the CV of your cochair; no more than two pages in length each

Please mail eighteen (18) collated and stapled copies of your entire session-proposal application to the CAA manager of programs (mailing address appears at the end of the article). Do not use paper clips.

The Annual Conference Committee makes its selection solely on the basis of merit. Where proposals overlap, CAA reserves the right to select the most considered version or, in some cases, to suggest a fusion of two or more versions from among the proposals submitted.

The submission process must be completed online. Eighteen printed, stapled, and collated copies of your completed application must be sent by mail to: Manager of Programs, Sessions 2010, CAA, 275 Seventh Ave., 18th Floor, New York, NY 10001. Deadline: September 1, 2008; no late applications are accepted.

For questions, please contact Susan DeSeyn-Lodise, CAA sessions coordinator.

Filed under: Annual Conference