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Past SPE Annual Conferences

2025 SPE Annual Conference Overview

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When March 06-08, 2025
Where Peppermill Reno Resort, Reno, Nevada

We are living in a time of enormous upheaval. Nearly all aspects of our lives and cultures are undergoing sweeping changes at a pace few of us have experienced before. As we confront these new realities, adaptation will be essential if we are to grow, to succeed and to survive. 

As photographers, we are no strangers to adaptation. The history of our medium has been a tale of continual reinvention. Today, the editing of our photographs, our projects, and our ideas is increasingly driven by algorithms, while the very concept of creativity has been shaken by the rapid growth of generative artificial intelligence. Change continues to be the only constant in photography. 

Technological, economic, and social revolutions are similarly transforming the landscape of academia. New opportunities abound for expanding our notions of what a classroom looks like, and who we find there. But navigating these new models requires reimagining what it means to teach and to learn. We are adapting. 

In 2025, our community will gather in Reno, Nevada, to consider how we can adapt to our moment – as photographers and as individuals. Reno is a city with a rich history of reinvention. Located at the junction of the majestic Sierra Nevada mountains and the vast expanses of the Great Basin, the city has repeatedly adapted itself to changing times. Born as an entrepreneurial hub for mining, in subsequent years Reno recast itself as a mecca for early gambling, easy divorces, world-class ski resorts, and summer recreation. More recently, it has evolved into a hub for creative arts, including the Sierra Arts Foundation; the Nevada Museum of Art and its Center for Art + Environment; and the annual launch pad for Burning Man, in the nearby Black Rock Desert. 

SPE encourages members and non-members to submit proposals for presentations that will advance this discussion


• How is this moment different from previous cycles of upheaval? 

• How do we understand and respond to radical changes in so many facets of our lives? 

• What do our times ask of us as creatives and as educators? 

• How are you responding to shifting dynamics of power, wealth, and privilege? 

• How are you planning for a changed environment, and an uncertain ecological future? 

• How can we leverage new creative technologies with ethics and social justice in mind? 

• How are educational expectations and institutions evolving, and how are you navigating these changes? 

• Can confusion, anxiety, and grief be recast to fuel hopeful creativity and action? 

• How do you prioritize self-care and care for others when your time and energy are limited. 

• How are you adapting? How can we help each other to adapt? 

Share your ideas, images, strategies, and visions. Be bold. Be creative. Be generous. We are seeking a diverse array of approaches. If the categories feel too constraining, submit to the closest fit, and we can discuss your presentation format upon acceptance. 

Submission Categories 

Pedagogy: a 40-minute presentation on teaching and/ or educational strategies. Emphasis for 2025: How do we adapt our teaching to rapidly changing academic structures and technological opportunities? 

Imagemaker: a 40-minute presentation by the artist about their own work. 

History / Theory: a 40-minute presentation on a historical topic, theoretical concern, or another artist's work. 

Panel: a 90-minute presentation by up to three panelists and a moderator. 

Workshop: a 90-120 minute session for hands-on technical or pedagogical workshops. Examples might include AI or VR software/hardware, or alternative processes. 

Professional Development / Career Mentorship: a 40–90 minute session to assist members with career advancement or creative practice expansion. Examples might include preparing a teaching dossier, approaching galleries, etc. 

Immersive Experiences: a 90-120 minute open session to demonstrate creative uses of interactive or immersive media. 

Snapshots: Great ideas in 20 minutes (think Ted Talk). Give us a big picture in a concise format or a compelling peak into a new project. 

Student Presentations: a 20-minute presentation on the student-artist's work, with a brief introduction to their educational program. Open to currently enrolled students. 


SPE members and nonmembers are eligible to submit one (1) proposal for consideration. If you presented in both 2023 and 2024 (Denver and St. Louis), you are not eligible for this submission cycle. Current SPE membership is required for all presenters of accepted proposals. All presenters, co-presenters, panelists, and moderators will have 10 days to join SPE or renew their membership once they are notified of acceptance. 

How to Submit:

SPE conference proposal submissions are conducted using SlideRoom, an online review system. A $10 application fee is required. 

Visit for details. 

Selection Process: 

All submissions are reviewed by a peer review panel recruited from SPE Caucuses and Chapters on a rotating basis, as well as at-large members, in a manner meant to ensure representation of all the major disciplines and demographics of SPE. The 2025 Conference Proposal Call for Entry will be open from April 15 to June 1, 2024. Submission Deadline: June 1, 2024, 11:59 PM EDT . 

Visit for more information. Please direct any inquiries to Toni Roberts, SPE Interim Executive Director, at or our 2025 Conference Committee, 

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