Sunday, April 21, 2024

ASTC 2022 Call for Proposals deadline approaches; seeks to diversify conference with interactive engagement

The Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC) Annual Conference is one of the premier annual events for science-engagement professionals across North America and around the world. Each year, this event brings together thousands of science and technology center and museum and allied professionals working in science communication, STEM learning, and the broader intersections between science, technology and society.

This Year’s Conference

2022 marks the return to an in-person convening after two years of virtual conferences. ASTC will focus its Call for Proposals and the conference program on interactive sessions and events that maximize the ability to be together safely in the same physical space.

Opportunities for virtual engagement with the Annual Conference will be announced at a later date. The current Call for Proposals focuses on the in-person conference.

The overall conference experience includes Concurrent Sessions, Plenary Sessions, Posters, Exhibit Hall, Networking and Social Events, Museum Experiences, and more.

Proposals that emphasize interactivity and active engagement of the audience will be prioritized.

Image courtesy of the Association of Science and Technology Centers.
Conference Theme

The theme for the ASTC 2022 Annual Conference is “Traversing Tomorrow Together.” As emergence from the pandemic continues with a refined vision of the future, ASTC hopes to come together to chart a path forward for its organizations, its communities, and the world.

The Carnegie Science Center, a co-host for ASTC 2022. Photo courtesy of Carnegie Science Center.
In-Person Location

This year’s conference will be held September 12-15, 2022, with Preconference Intensives on September 11, 2022.

The meeting will be held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a city that has reinvented itself as a hub for science and technology, creativity, and culture.

ASTC 2022 will be co-hosted by the Carnegie Science Center and the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh and its MuseumLab.

2022 Proposals

The ASTC Conference Program Planning Committee (CPPC) will develop a program based upon proposals submitted in response to this call and additional topical and timely content curated by the CPPC and ASTC.

New pathways for submission have been established, and wthe opportunity to suggest an idea, rather than a full-fledged session proposal, has been added.

Proposal Types:
Concurrent Session

Full Concurrent Session, including a diverse collection of presenters. Two different session lengths are available: 45 minutes and 90 minutes. Concurrent Sessions should generally have no more than 5 presenters.

Preconference Intensive

Participatory and highly-interactive workshops on a single topic, including a diverse collection of presenters and facilitators. May be half-day (up to 4 hours) or full day (up to 8 hours). Preconference Intensives are expected to be scheduled on Sunday, September 11, 2022. These sessions will generally require advance registration and an additional fee for the facility and catering.

Lightning Proposal

Short oral presentation or discussion (about 10 minutes). This format is most appropriate those that have something to share but may not be in a position to put together a full session proposal. Lightning proposals are limited to 1 or 2 presenters or facilitators. Accepted lightning proposals will be combined with other lightning presentations as a Concurrent Session to be scheduled September 12–15, 2022.

Poster Proposal

Present work graphically on a poster board and engage with conference participants individually and in small groups throughout conference, including during the designated time for Poster Palooza. At least one poster author is expected to register and attend ASTC 2022 in person. Additional authors who will not be present may also be included.

Inspiration Spark

Think of this as crowdsourcing the sessions that ASTC may curate or helping match audiences with other like-minded individuals. Submitters can just give ASTC a suggestion or offer to work with others to pull the idea together into a session.

Photo courtesy of the Association of Science and Technology Centers.
Topical Areas

Submissions may address any topic relevant to science and technology centers and museums and the broader fields of informal science learning and public engagement with science. However, ASTC especially encourages applicants to think about current circumstances, capabilities and priorities in the field, including consideration of one or more of the following topics:

  • Addressing Inequities – including those related to race, gender, disability or wealth
  • Confronting Climate – including the opportunities for and responsibilities of science centers
  • Future Forward – planning for the future
  • Evolving our Organizations – continuing to evolve our organizations as we reflect current priorities and realities
  • Informal Learning – creative approaches to learning, including partnerships with schools and school systems
Making Sessions Interactive

Concurrent sessions are expected to take advantage of the in-person nature of the conference. Formats that could just as well be presented online or asynchronously — such as panels and one-on-one fireside chats — are highly discouraged. Rather, we encourage presenters to think creatively about ways to involve and engage all of the participants in the room with full- or small-group discussion, workshops, brainstorming, charrette and more — as well as interactive methods like game shows, PechaKucha and more.

Commitment to Engaging Diverse Perspectives

ASTC is committed to incorporating diverse perspectives within each session and across the entire conference. Presenters will be asked to provide two short statements as a part of their proposal that describe how your session represents diverse perspectives, individually and organizationally. There is no single way to address this requirement, but consider the following dimensions of diversity:

The proposal should clearly describe how the presenters are well-positioned to facilitate the session topic. Affiliation with an ASTC-member organization is not required to submit a session proposal nor to be a presenter. We especially welcome first-time submissions and proposals who have not previously attended an ASTC conference.

  • Range of personal identities (e.g., age, ethnicity, race, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, ability, nationality)
  • Variety of career stages and job roles
  • Organizations of all types, sizes and geographies
  • Variety of perspectives and topical viewpoints
  • Content explicitly focused on diversity, accessibility, inclusion and equity

Please note that the submission form will also ask for presenters to optionally self-identify on several demographic questions that will be used by ASTC, in aggregate, to assess performance against their stated values. These additional questions are optional and will not be used in the review of proposals.


Proposals must be submitted via the portals found on the ASTC Call for Proposals page by January 24, 2022. Click on the session type links to begin a submission. A sample proposal form is available for each session type.

A myASTC account is required to submit a session proposal. If applicants do not already have a myASTC profile, they may create one at

Please note, due to the limited number of concurrent sessions, speakers are generally limited to presenting at up to two Concurrent Sessions during the 2022 Annual Conference. In addition, each concurrent session proposal should have a maximum of five presenters.

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