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2020 Annual Conference


March 05-08, 2020

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2020 SPE Annual Conference: Hosted by The University of Houston | Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts | School of Art

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SPE 2020 Annual Conference Call for Proposals

March 5-8, 2020

Society for Photographic Education   /   Deadline: 06/01/19

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20/20 Vision
Hosted by The University of Houston | Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts | School of Art
Organized in cooperation with FotoFest and the FotoFest 2020 Biennial

2020 is fast approaching, but the futuristic dreams long associated with such a date have yet to be delivered; instead, it looms full of conflict, crisis, and deep political division. This moment demands that we see the world unflinchingly and draw on the clarity of hindsight and the perspectives that lenses can bring to the world. What is photography's role at this turning point in history? How might it best respond to this moment?

20/20 Vision invites us, as artists, critics, curators, image-makers, historians, theorists, writers, and educators to define the state of contemporary photography. It challenges us to expand our vision of photography to be inclusive of adjacent modes; to promote an expanded canon that accurately reflects our community and its diverse range of contributors; and to see what is known to us with greater criticality, more probing analysis, and what is unknown with greater empathy and understanding.

The metaphor of 20/20 vision might be a starting point for presentations: the place of lenses in photography (or their absence), the idea of perfect vision, hindsight, foresight, nearsightedness, farsightedness, site-seeing, voyeurism, surveillance, blindness, mirroring, being seen.

Especially relevant are projects and papers that deal directly with the conference's theme of the future, including and certainly not limited to: alternative histories of the medium or possible futures; futurisms, utopias, and dystopias; major cultural and environmental changes; the changing role of photography.

As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Exposure, SPE's flagship publication, proposals could consider the role of text in photographic media and the expression of visual histories. 2020 is also the 25th anniversary of the Women's Caucus Film Festival and the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, and presentations could address these milestones.

We hope to increase the presence and role of high school educators and high school students at the conference, and we welcome proposals from and directed toward this audience.

Presentation lengths will vary between 15 and 45 minutes. This will be determined based on the chosen proposals and conference schedule.

Graduate Student – short presentation of your own artistic work and a brief introduction to your graduate program (must be enrolled in graduate program at time of submission)
Imagemaker – presentation on your own artistic work
Lecture – presentation on historical topic, theory, or another artist's work
Teaching & Learning – presentations, workshops, demos that addresses educational issues, including teaching resources and strategies (syllabi, videos, assignments, readings, class prep/setup, and PowerPoint presentations); curricula to serve diverse artists and changing student populations; seeking promotion and tenure; avoiding burnout; and professional exchange
Panel Discussion – active discussion among panelists (max: 3), moderator, and audience to discuss a chosen topic


The Westin Galleria, Houston, TX




SPE members and nonmembers are eligible to submit one (1) proposal for consideration. Individuals who have presented at two SPE annual conferences since 2017 (Orlando) are not eligible. This also applies to co-presenters and/or panelists.


SPE conference proposal submissions are conducted using SlideRoom, an online review system. Applicants must register and submit all required proposal materials on the SlideRoom website using SPE's portal.
• Visit and follow the instructions provided.
• Complete the submission form, including presenter(s), a 3,000-character
(about 500 words) abstract (precise summary of presentation content), and a biographical summary for each intended presenter (max: 750 characters each).
• Upload media (max of 20 files) – this may include images, video, and audio.


Accepted presenters are eligible to receive a 50% discounted rate on conference registration. (Co-presenters/panelists for graduate, dialogic, imagemaker, lecture, and teaching & learning presentations are NOT eligible for discounted rates). Panel discussion format presentations are eligible for up to four discounted registrations (one moderator and up to three panelists).

Applicants to the Imagemaker track will be considered for the SPE Imagemaker Award, a cash award granted to a first-time imagemaker presenter who demonstrates outstanding achievement as determined by the peer review committee. Additionally, Imagemaker Award recipients will be given the opportunity for a one-month residency at PLAYA, in southern Oregon, within the calendar year.

The International Conference Grant is awarded to three of the highest-ranked international proposal submissions selected to present at the conference. This prize offers a full conference waiver and complimentary one-year membership.


We would like to remind everyone that SPE's 57th Annual Conference is organized in cooperation with the FotoFest 2020 Biennial, and that portfolio reviews at the FotoFest Meeting Place begin Sunday, March 8, 2020. Registration for the Meeting Place 2020 begins in summer 2019. Visit FotoFest website for details.

Evaluation Criteria

All submissions are reviewed by a 10-member peer review panel, which forwards recommendations to the 2020 Conference Committee. The Board of Director's Executive Committee approves the final conference program to ensure the broadest representation of concerns in the field. You will be notified by September 1, 2019 on the status of your submission.

Contact Information

Ginenne Clark
2530 Superior Ave Suite 407
Cleveland, OH 44114

P: 216-622-2733

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