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Improvements to CAA’s Annual Conference

posted by Linda Downs — Jul 16, 2015

CAA’s Annual Conference provides an important platform for the dissemination of new research and creative work. It also provides opportunities for networking, hosts workshops on crucial career topics, tackles pressing issues in the field, and provides an opportunity for institutions to interview candidates for open positions. In an effort to serve its members more effectively, CAA has established a Task Force on the Annual Conference to address ways of providing more occasions for members to exchange work and scholarship. The task force will also investigate greater uses of technology to extend the conference beyond its physical location and increased networking opportunities for professionals in the visual arts. The changes announced below are only the first round of a more thorough redesign of the conference, a very much renewed and improved version of which will be introduced in the coming years.

In preparation for the next Annual Conference, to be held February 3–6, 2016, in Washington, DC, and in an effort to strengthen the Annual Conference while providing an even greater value to the membership and our profession, members of the CAA Board of Directors and the Task Force on the Annual Conference have recommended and approved the following changes:

  • Allowing members to present papers and chair sessions in consecutive years at the Annual Conference
  • Extending the Annual Conference through low-cost webinars to accommodate those affected by reductions in funds for professional travel. CAA will offer webinars on a regular basis that will highlight the content generated by members
  • Conference registration, opening in early October 2015, will have only one advance registration period that will end on December 21, 2015
  • A new discounted registration fee for CAA members who are part-time faculty or are independent artists and scholars
  • Institutional members may purchase specially discounted student memberships and register their students for the conference at deeper discounts during the advance registration period. These discounts will not be available onsite
  • CAA members will be hired to be room monitors and to work at CAA’s registration area for a stipend and free conference registration rather than hiring temporary staff to fill these roles
  • Providing a conference that serves members. Everyone who participates (i.e., presenter, speaker, chair) must be a current CAA member at the time of the conference
  • All participants will need to either register for the entire conference or purchase a single-time-slot ticket for the session in which they are participating. This change applies to sessions led by all CAA affiliated societies and special-interest groups

CAA must proactively respond to the escalating costs of producing the Annual Conference. Ever-increasing expenses include staffing the conference, union rates at hotels, guaranteeing minimum numbers of attendees, and providing audiovisual equipment and WiFi. In the past, many sessions were offered without requiring CAA membership or conference registration. CAA can no longer subsidize the attendance and participation of nonmembers and nonregistrants. In order for CAA to maintain the high quality of the conference and to meet the needs of its members, we ask for your support as we introduce these changes to improve the conference experience.

The 2016 Annual Conference in Washington, DC, will be outstanding. The keynote speaker will be David Adjaye, architect of the Smithsonian Institution’s new National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall and newly designated architect of the Studio Museum in Harlem. Richard J. Powell is CAA’s Distinguished Scholar, and Joyce Scott is the Distinguished Artist who will be interviewed. CAA will sponsor an MFA exhibition with student artists from around the region and host a reception for all CAA members at the Katzen Art Center at American University. In addition, the Annual Conference Committee for the DC meeting is preparing special tours to artists’ studios and museums and organizing special events.

Washington is home to a host of outstanding museums and other cultural institutions, and CAA has not held a conference there since 1991. We are very pleased to bring the conference to Washington, DC, and grateful for the support of our membership and institutions in that region. You will not want to miss this exciting event! Please refer to for ongoing updates and news about the 2016 Annual Conference.

Filed under: Annual Conference, Membership