Annual Meetings

The Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present holds an annual conference in North America that brings together scholars and artists from institutions all over the globe to share research, debate trends, and generate new projects concerning the “arts of the contemporary.” 

The ASAP also supports an annual symposium at a host institution outside of North America. Both the conferences and the symposia are collaborations between ASAP and individual institutions–for instance, universities, institutes, museums. While the conferences are large gatherings of scholars and practitioners participating in seminars, roundtables, and panels, the symposia are meant to develop specific themes in contemporary arts research intensely, with a small and highly select group of scholars.

Our next conference will be virtual, from October 4-7, 2023. The theme is “Arts of Fugitivity,” and the deadlines for submissions are in March 31, 2023. See the submissions portal for further details.

ASAP’s conferences and symposia do not endorse any one critical methodology, political orientation toward the arts, or aesthetic criterion of evaluation. We welcome all forms of innovative or established scholarship that have as their primary purpose the advancement of humanistic learning and creative innovation. Because the contemporary arts operate globally and often across disciplines, the conference encourages groundbreaking comparative scholarship that promotes fellowship and scholarly interaction among its various constituents.  A host institution is fully responsible for running the physical aspects of the conference and receives no monies from the Association toward these costs, though it can generate some revenue from conference registrations to offset some of these costs. The conference organizer for the host institution organizes the conference program with assistance from The ASAP Conference Program Committee. Hosting an ASAP conference or symposium offers many opportunities for institutions and groups to publicize their activities, broadcast their corporate identities to an international audience, and host an international and disciplinarily diverse group of world-renowned scholars and practitioners of the contemporary arts. If you’re interested in hosting an annual meeting of ASAP, just let us know at!

ASAP conferences offer three types of sessions: panels, roundtables, and seminars. Speakers can give a paper on only one panel or roundtable, but they can speak on both a panel and a seminar (or a roundtable and a seminar) and be a moderator on as many panels as they choose. Panels and roundtables generally run 1.5 hours (60 minutes for papers, 30 minutes for Q&A), while seminars run in one 2-hour session.

    • Seminars can be hybrid (i.e. with participants virtual and in-person), and this is at the discretion of the seminar organizer.
      • Panels: A participant can submit a paper proposal independently to be included on a panel put together by the ASAP Program Committee. Participants also may propose fully staffed panels featuring 3-4 papers or presentations and a panel moderator. Panels with an interdisciplinary focus are more likely to be considered for inclusion in the program, and we particularly welcome panels featuring participants from multiple arts disciplines. Panel organizers and moderators need not give a paper on panels they organize/moderate.
      • Roundtables: Roundtables run similarly to panels in regular session formats but feature 5-7 speakers who give short presentations concerning a specific discussion topic. Roundtables are good formats to introduce diverse disciplinary views about a single topic or to generate audience-presenter discussion concerning a specific topic. Roundtables with an interdisciplinary focus are more likely to be considered for inclusion in the program, and we particularly welcome roundtables featuring participants from multiple arts disciplines. Roundtable organizers can serve as roundtable moderators and need not give a paper on panels they organize. Roundtable organizers submit a full slate of speakers when submitting a roundtable proposal.
      • Artist Talk, Studio Visit, Performance:  Artist Talks, Studio Visits, and Performances are new formats for ASAP conference sessions. ASAP welcomes suggestions and innovative ideas for incorporating these formats. Currently, “artist talk” sessions are grouped into topical panels. Each artist has the opportunity to present their work and participate in the panel Q&A. Studio visits are opportunities for local artists who want to invite ASAP members for a short (1 hour or so) studio visit. This could also be virtual with a creative Zoom format. Performances should relate to the core values and interests of ASAP, and do not necessarily need to conform to the conference theme. We will do our best to accommodate performances by providing a space, although we cannot guarantee recording the session.
      • Workshops:  Workshops are another new format for ASAP conference sessions. ASAP welcomes suggestions and innovative ideas for incorporating this format. Workshops could be a space to craft or build, a laboratory, a pedagogy investigation, a medium exploration, and more.
      • Seminars:  The seminars at ASAP foster a wider conversation than a panel or roundtable allows. Seminars are scheduled for two-hour intervals. Seminar leaders may define the goal—and, subsequently, the structure—of their meeting in a variety of ways, so ASAP offers these guidelines.
      Every seminar will:
        • Raise a coherent topic or question for discussion that has broad appeal across the contemporary arts.
        • Advance the interdisciplinarity, diversity, and internationalism that are central to the ASAP’s mission (
        • Enroll up to fifteen participants who bring different kinds of knowledge and expertise to the discussion.
        • Have a structure that suits the specific goals of the seminar.
        • Communicate its structure clearly to other members who may want to attend.
      • Seminar organizers submit a full slate of speakers by June 1. 
      • Be open to all conference participants.
    To meet those goals, seminar leaders may decide whether or not they want their seminar to include:
    • Precirculated papers
    • Prerecorded presentations
    • A formal presentation of papers
    • A roundtable discussion
    • An open-ended discussion of the topic
    • Another format of their choice
    ASAP does not standardize seminar formats. We would like you to feel free to use the time in the best way you see fit. Here are some considerations and approaches.
    • Think about how best you might spend your allotted time, and what you would like the conversation to be like.
    • Be strategic with your time. If you have 15 participants, for example, you probably don’t want to begin with extensive summaries of all of the papers, because that will leave you with little time for anything else.
    • Think about the best way to include your audience in the discussion. You might, for example, put the papers into clusters, organized around common themes, key terms, or points of agreement/disagreement. Or you might have each person recap their thesis quickly, and then provide a provocation or raise a question for the group.
    • If you have personal or institutional space to do it, you might consider a website for your seminar. ASAP can link to it (though unfortunately we cannot host it).
    • Feel free to experiment. And please let us know what worked for you and what did not.

Future Meetings

UW Seattle
Seattle, WA

Wednesday, October 4th — Friday, October 6th, 2023

UW Bothell
Bothell, WA

Saturday, October 7, 2023

ASAP/14 Call for Papers

Arts of Fugitivity


Seattle and Bothell

October 4-7, 2023

Submission deadline March 31, 2023; accepted proposals to be announced in late Spring 2023.

ASAP/14 will have in-person programming, as well as virtual streams, at University of Washington’s Seattle and Bothell campuses in order to maximize accessibility and explore how and why we gather together. We are especially pleased to be able to partner with the Henry, a museum for contemporary art and ideas on the UW campus, and Wa Na Wari for events.

The conference theme—Arts of Fugitivity—addresses strategies of survival and imagination. We encourage the exploration of fugitivity as a concept, practice, and method in contemporary art and culture — what does it mean to hide within plain sight, to create alternative ways of being, seeing, and doing, to escape? More than just longing for something else, arts of fugitivity show us how to get there and suggest that we might, in fact, already be there. Fugitivity is a keyword in Indigenous studies, where it asks us to think critically about the politics of movement and place and their intersections with settler-colonialism. As Jarrett Martineau and Eric Ritskes write, “Fugitivity finds its energetic potency in remaining illegible to power, incommensurable with colonialism, and opaque to appropriation, commodification and cultural theft. That which is fugitive proposes an insurgent force of dissident visibility; it is the hidden that reveals itself in motion.” We are curious about how fugitivity emerges as lines of flight, creative camouflage, and aesthetics. Since we are meeting in the Pacific Northwest–specifically the land which touches the shared waters of all tribes and bands within the Duwamish, Puyallup, Skykomish, Snohomish, Suquamish, Tulalip and Muckleshoot nations–how might fugitivity complicate our understanding of mobility and the global, how might it inform our ideas of travel and home, and how might it shift our practices of engagement? As Fred Moten writes “Fugitivity is immanent to the thing but is manifest transversally.” What emerges when we look elsewhere, sideways, and askance for ways to survive? What happens to representation, creativity, and possibility? How do arts as object, epistemology, and method – across visual arts, music, theatre, performance, film, literary, media, and multidisciplinary arts – animate fugitive ways of being, knowing, and imagining?

We invite proposals from scholars, artists, writers, curators, activists and other practitioners whose work addresses and expands upon the study, collection, exhibition, teaching, and writing of art and culture. We invite proposals with alternative, experimental writing practices and modes of presentation, including workshops that break form with the typical conference paper, panel, or roundtable, as well as with the constraints and possibilities of the conference’s hybrid format. We wish to explore fugitivity as strategy, method, mode of being–all of which we see to be grounded in practice. Panels and papers that consider a range of disciplines and methods, and that speak across geographies, (non)traditional institutional or intellectual divides are especially encouraged. Given the conference’s theme, we welcome submissions that rethink and revisit the stakes, limits, pleasures, and discomfort of representation, movement, and evasion.

Panels and papers are encouraged to engage our theme, but participants are welcome to submit other proposals which contribute to our broader project of exploring the arts of the present. Participants may address the following topics, but are welcome to explore others as well:

  • Movement, mobility, and complications of home and the global
  • Pace, syncopation, and questions of access
  • camouflage
  • Technologies of evasion, escape, or cover
  • The minor, the fleeting, the ephemeral
  • Escapism, daydreaming, and wandering
  • The undisciplined, unschooled, and unruly
  • Crossing Borders, Evading Boundaries, (Re)Making Spaces
  • Pedagogies of Inwardness, practices of illegibility

Submit abstract

Past Meetings

September 15-18, 2022

Submissions portal and conference updates for “Edge Play

October 27-30, 2021

Proceedings held online owing to COVID-19 restrictions

June 7-9 2019, at the University of Hong Kong

Hosted by the School of English, the Department of Fine Arts, and the Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Arts

Current information about the symposium in Hong Kong is here.

October 10-12, 2019

Hosted by the University of Maryland, College Park

Download the call for papers

October 17-20, 2018


ASAP/10 was hosted by the New Orleans Center for the Gulf South at Tulane University and Pelican Bomb at the InterContinental New Orleans. The ASAP Program Committee was chaired by the ASAP President, Joseph Jeon. The conference hosts were Rebecca Snedeker and Denise Frazier of the New Orleans Center for the Gulf South and Cameron Shaw of Pelican Bomb. 


Vrije Universiteit
May 24-26, 2018


In 2018, we sped up our calendar of meetings to host a conference every fall and a symposium every spring.

ASAP/Amsterdam was a symposium hosted by the CLUE+ Interfaculty Research Center for Culture, Cognition, History, and Heritage at Vrije Universiteit. The ASAP Program Committee was chaired by the Editor of the ASAP/Journal, Jonathan Eburne. The members of the committee were: Erin La Cour, Katja Kwastek, and Diederik Oostdijk.

October 26-28, 2017


ASAP/9 was hosted by the University of California, Berkeley at the Oakland Marriott Center, in cooperation with the ASAP Program Committee. Its organizer was Mark Goble, who was at the time the President of the ASAP as well as an associate professor of English at UC Berkeley.

ASAP/9 was our first conference without a theme beyond the discussion of the contemporary arts, and it had approximately 400 attendees.

ASAP/8: “Alternatives to the Present”

September 3-5, 2016

University of Tartu
Tartu, Estonia

Keynote Speakers:

  • Kärt Ojavee, Estonian designer, artist, and lecturer focusing on textile designs
  • Ludger Pfanz, director and producer, known for his works “Greenpeace against Shell” (2005), “Der Schwarzarbeiter” (2002), and “Las Américas” (1996).
  • James Thompson, Professor of Applied and Social Theatre and Associate Vice President for Social Responsibility at the University of Manchester.

ASAP/8 was hosted by the University of Tartu in cooperation with the ASAP Program Committee. The symposium featured more than 300 papers and presentations. Its organizers were Marina Grishakova and Jaak Tomberg of the University of Tartu.

ASAP/7: “Arts and the Public”

September 24–27, 2015

Clemson University
at the Hyatt Regency in Greenville, S.C.

Keynote Speakers: 

  • Wangechi Mutu, Kenyan artist living in New York

  • Doris Sommer, Ira Jewell Williams Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures at Harvard University

  • Miguel Rosales, President and principal designer of Rosales Partners architectural design firm

ASAP/7 was hosted by Clemson University in cooperation with the ASAP Program Committee. The conference featured more than 300 papers. Conference organizers were Michael LeMehieu, Angela Naimou, Cameron Bushnell, and Emily Clark.

ASAP/6: “China and the World”

Shanghai Jiao Tong University
27-29 June 2014

A symposium of the Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present in collaboration with Shanghai Jiao Tong University. The host organizer was Professor Wang Ning of Tsinghua/Shanghai Jiao Tong Universities.

Keynote Speakers: 

  • WJT Mitchell, Professor of English and Art History, University of Chicago

  • Liu Kang, Professor of Chinese Studies and Director of China Research Center, DukeUniversity; Dean of the Institute of Arts and Humanities at Shanghai Jiaotong University

The symposium featured more than 70 papers and a trip to the Power Station of Art, Shanghai.

ASAP/5: “Arts of the City” 

OCTOBER 3-5, 2013


McGregor Memorial Conference Center, & Westin Book Cadillac Hotel

A conference featuring approximately 200 presenters hosted by Wayne State University in collaboration with the Program Committee of the Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present. The conference host was renee hoogland, Associate Professor of Visual Culture at Wayne State University and Editor of the journal Criticism

KEYNOTES for the conference included JACE CLAYTON, AKA, DJ RUPTURE,  Writer and Musician, and  NICHOLAS MIRZOEFF, Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University. Special events included a poetry reading organized by Barrett Watten, an opening reception and ASAP/5 art exhibition at the Elaine L. Jacob Gallery “Car Art/Crash” co-curated by Iris Eichenberg (Artist in Residence/Head of Metals, Cranbrook Academy of Art) & Heather McGill (Artist in Residence/Head of Sculpture, Cranbrook Academy of Art); and a special ASAP/5 performance featuring Detroit techno-artist Omar S at MOCAD, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit.

ASAP/4: “Genres of the Present”

OCTOBER 4-6, 2012


ASAP/4 was hosted by hosted by the Royal College of Art, London in collaboration with the Program Committee of ASAP The conference organizer was Lucy Soutter, Associate Professor of Critical and Historical Studies. Featuring more than 40 presenters, the symposium included an evening screening of genre-related film and video art.

ASAP/3: “Arts of the Planet”

OCTOBER 27-30, 2011


ASAP/3 was hosted by hosted by the Carnegie Mellon University Humanities Center in collaboration with the Program Committee of ASAP The conference organizer was David Shumway, Professor of English and Literary and Cultural Studies. Plenary speakers included Paul D. Miller (aka DJ Spooky That Subliminal Kid), Professor of Music Mediated Art at the European Graduate School; Krzysztof Wodiczko, Professor in Residence of Art and the Public Domain for the Harvard Graduate School of Design; and Terry Smith, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Contemporary Art History and Theory.

ASAP/2: “Configuring the Present Across Arts and Media”

OCTOBER 28-30, 2010


ASAP/2 was held at the University of Trier, Germany, on October 28-30 2010. A symposium of featuring the work of approximatley 30 scholars, ASAP/2 focused on innovation in contemporary arts and their dialogue with the past. The symposium was organized by Hilary Dannenberg, Professor of English Literature.  The symposium featured talks by Mieke Bal, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences Professor at the University of Amsterdam and Jürgen Meier, Artistic Director of the Leipzig Light Festivals of 2009 and 2010. Special events included a showing of Mère Folle: A Film by Mieke Bal and Michelle Williams Gamaker, a tour of the Roman Imperial Baths, and dinner at Wirtshaus Zur Glocke, one of Trier’s oldest restaurants.

ASAP/1: “Arts of the Present”

OCTOBER 22-24, 2009


ASAP’s launch conference “ASAP/1: Arts of the Present” was held October 22-25, 2009, downtown Knoxville, Tennessee, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. The conference featured work by more than 115 scholars and arts practitioners working in the visual, literary, and performing arts. The conference organizer for ASAP/1 was Amy J. Elias, Professor of English at the University of Tenneseee, and the conference was hosted by the University of Tennessee’s Department of English.
The conference kicked off with an opening night reception and plenary talk by international artist Anton Vidokle at the Knoxville Museum of Art, which featured his installation “Night School.” The second plenary speaker was Sianne Ngai, who was at the time Associate Professor of English at UCLA. The keynote speaker was Kenyan novelist and playwright Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Distinguished Professor at the University of California, Irvine, who spoke on “Language and the Arts of the Present.”