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CFP: Museum Anthropology Futures

On behalf of the Council for Museum Anthropology, I am happy to pass along the call for proposals for the Museum Anthropology Futures conference in Montreal this May. Find details below. (Quoted material follows, contact the organizers with questions or concerns.)

Call for Session Proposals: “Museum Anthropology Futures” Conference (due March 1)
Council for Museum Anthropology Inaugural Conference

May 25-27, 2017 at Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

The Council for Museum Anthropology is seeking submissions for its inaugural conference taking place in Montreal from May 25-27, 2017. This will not be your traditional conference experience! “Museum Anthropology Futures” seeks to spark critical reflection and discussion on (1) the state of museum anthropology as an academic discipline; (2) innovative methods for the use of collections; (3) exhibition experiments that engage with anthropological research; and (4) museums as significant sites for grappling with pressing social concerns such as immigration, inequality, racism, colonial legacies, heritage preservation, cultural identities, representation, and creativity as productive responses to these.

The conference will have several sessions each day that all participants will attend, as well as one period each day with breakout sessions like workshops and formats that would benefit from a more intimate setting for dialogue and collaboration.
We are seeking session proposals that are different than the usual call for papers – see session descriptions below. Feel free to email us with questions at

Updates available at our Facebook page,

Email your session proposal to by March 1, 2017

Please provide the following information in your email text, no attachment:

1) Your name, title, home institution (if applicable), and email address
2) Your proposed session format (see below)
3) The title of your session
4) Additional session participants if a group submission (title and email address)
5) A description of your session (max 150 words) Specific requirements for each format below.
6) What you hope to achieve in presenting/participating in this session (1-3 sentences)
7) What you believe this session can contribute to museum futures (1-3 sentences)
***Please note: Some Workshops and Pre-circulated Paper sessions will be by registration only due to limited capacity. All other sessions are open to all conference participants. For example, Roundtable or PechaKucha sessions will have several presenters who discuss their work, and the audience attending the session is invited to listen and ask questions or give feedback.***


Roundtable – Group submission
Description: Each person presents for 5 to 7 minutes about a common topic related to the conference themes. Often there is a moderator who provides questions for the panel to respond to. Audience engagement is encouraged. Example topics include: decolonizing museology, learning from mistakes, digital museology, teaching museum anthropology, emergent media, rethinking collections, artists in museums, curatorial brainstorming, etc.
Best for: Engaging discussion around a theme or topic.
Submission requirement: Describe your topic and a list of two to five panelists.

Pecha-Kucha Presentation – Individual Submission
Description:  A talk that is based on 20 slides, 20 seconds per slide, no text (about 7 minutes). Lightning rounds of 4 or 5 PechaKucha presentations will be grouped thematically with plenty of time for discussion. (For more information on this style of presentation, visit
Best for: Getting feedback or sparking discussion about a project, idea, or research.
Submission requirement: Describe the content of your presentation.

Pre-Circulated Papers Session – Group or individual submission
Description: Closed session to presenters. 5 to 8 participants. All participants will circulate and read each other’s papers prior to the conference and bring comments and feedback to the session. During the session, each participant will make a two to five minute presentation related to their paper and invite group discussion. Individual submissions will be grouped together by conference organizers.
Best for: Preparing a written work for publication. Individuals who may want to publish together or get extended feedback on their written work from others in their field.
Submission requirement: Group submission: include a brief description of the content of each paper and current status towards completion. Individual submission: 100-150 word description and current status towards completion. Include intended publication venue, if known.

Workshop – Group or Individual Submission
Description: An open or closed session, depending on capacity. There should be a product at the end (an exhibit proposal, sample labels, a grant proposal, an outline of a white paper, a syllabi or reading list, compiled feedback, etc.). Presentation format is open and can include small-group work, materials (presenter must provide), etc.
Best for: Building skills, sharing knowledge, working closely with colleagues, producing something you can walk away with.
Submission requirement: Explain the content and aim of the workshop, how you will organize the time, how you will present to or teach the participants, the minimum and maximum number of participants possible for the workshop, and what will be produced in the end.  Be sure to include what kind of space and technology do you need for your workshop.

Problem Solving Session – Group or Individual Submission
Description: The session starts with a presentation about the problem, and invites participants to weigh in. This session is aimed to bring people together around a particular problem or challenge that you seek to address. As a group, you provide discussion and models for an audience. As an individual submission, you seek an audience/practitioners who can think through the issue with you. The aim is to produce a list of action items at the close of the session. This can be achieved in the group as a whole or through small group work.
Best for: Brainstorming solutions or approaches to a problem in curating, teaching, scholarship, research, etc. You can use this kind of session to refine position papers into manifestos, tool-kits, action plans, etc.
Submission requirement: The session title should be the problem or question that you would like to tackle. Describe how you will present the problem, how you will organize the time, and how you will structure the participation of audience. If an individual submission, include in your description what category of specialist you believe would be helpful to address it (for example, curators who have worked with Oceanic collections, anthropologists who have experience in teaching material culture in the classroom, etc.).

Pop Up Exhibit/Poster/Digital Project/Multimedia Presentation– Individual Submission
Description: A poster or multimedia projection that presents a proposed display, exhibit, or existing project, or sparks a themed conversation, etc. If an exhibit, for example, consider including a clear thesis, target audience identification, exhibit goals, main points around the theme, supporting images, proposed programming associated with the exhibition, and/or proposed forms of visitor engagement. Space for these projects will be allotted based on availability and need. For a technology-rich space available for use see:
Best for: Presenting an exhibit, draft exhibit, project, or other visual material for feedback.
Submission requirement: Describe the title and content of the work. Indicate physical space and technological requirements. For example, if a projection does it need audio speakers? If a poster, what are the dimensions?

Birds of a Feather/Themed Lunch Table – Individual Submission
Description: There will be some tables marked with identified themes when we gather to eat to encourage informal talks around a common topic of interest. There is no presentation, simply a facilitator who will lead introductions and offer some prepared questions to help move the conversation forward.
Best for: Brainstorming, introductions, meeting new people in the field, networking. Please note: a “career advice” themed table(s) is already scheduled.
Submission requirement: Describe your proposed theme.

Film Screening – Group or Individual submission
Description: Film screening and moderated Q&A. The subject of the film should relate in some way to museums and the other themes of conference. Film shorts are encouraged.
Best for: Getting feedback and sharing your or others’ work.
Submission requirement: Describe the film, including length, genre, and content, as well as your role in making the film (if applicable), and how it fits into the conference themes. If additional people involved in making the film will attend, explain their roles and how they will participate in the session.
Submissions are due March 1; we will contact you by March 31 regarding the status of your submission.

We look forward to receiving your submissions and seeing in what new directions you will lead our field during our first conference.  We couldn’t do this without your support and participation. Thank you!

CMA Conference Committee
Erica Lehrer (Concordia University)
Jen Shannon (University of Colorado Museum of Natural History)
Joshua A. Bell (National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution)
John P. Lukavic (Denver Art Museum)

Support for the Museum Anthropology Futures Conference comes from the
Council for Museum Anthropology and the Social Science and Humanities Council of Canada.

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