2024 National Conference: “Generate | Integrate: Technology, the Arts and Design”

About the Conference

A2ru’s next annual conference will take place November 14-16, 2024 at  Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in Rochester, NY. This will be an in-person conference, with many sessions live-streamed for virtual attendance. 

The a2ru national conference is an opportunity for practitioners and researchers from across higher education to share innovations and perspectives in the arts. a2ru advances the full range of arts- and design-integrative research, curricula, programs, and creative practice to acknowledge, articulate, and expand the vital role of higher education in our global society. a2ru’s work, in partnership with an international network of leading higher education institutions, allies, and partners, envisions a world in which universities—students, faculty, and leaders—explore, embed, and integrate the arts in everyday practice and research.


Technology, in its many evolving forms, has always played a significant role in the arts and design, impacting both process and product. At RIT, this year’s conference host, the university’s T/A\D (Technology/The Arts\Design) initiative positions the intersection of these fields as “the meaningful partnership of diverse ways of thinking, exploring, and making to address complex contemporary problems, advance knowledge, and pursue joy and wonder.” The three major thematic areas of the T/A\D initiative are “Solving humanity’s complex problems,” “Storytelling through enhanced realities,” and “Exploring new grounds in visual communication and imaging.”

As the arts and higher education wrestle with the rapid emergence of Generative AI and immersive technologies, and their potentially seismic impacts on our fields and the ways we teach, conduct research, and engage in creative practice, “Generate | Integrate: Technology, the Arts & Design”invites us to take a more historicized, holistic, and complex look at the interrelationships among these disciplines in order to chart our collective way forward.

Call for Proposals

All proposals are due by 11:59PM EST on Friday, March 15.

Submit Your Proposal

TRACK ONE: Crafting a Relationship to the New: Integrating Technology, the Arts and Design

Topics in Track One explore the conference theme “Generate | Integrate: Technology, the Arts & Design.” Proposals may focus on research, creative practice, and/or pedagogy. 

Potential thematic questions to consider include:

  • How might historical technologies, or historical understandings of/attitudes toward technology, shape contemporary arts and design practices?
  • How can the arts and design communities productively intervene in the continued development of Generative AI and immersive (AR/VR) technologies?
  • How are emerging technologies making the arts and design more accessible for both makers and audiences?
  • How have technological shifts within industry impacted curriculum design and pedagogy in higher education/ pre-professional settings?
  • How can technology, the arts and design work together to develop solutions to larger societal problems? How can technology support arts-based research in non-arts domains?
  • What impact have new technologies had on the practice of “hands on” makers? How has the explosion of digital arts shifted perceptions of and interest in more analog/tactile forms of making?

TRACK TWO:  Practical Applications For Arts Integration in Higher Education

Topics in track two are broadly concerned with creating and supporting work, developing tools, and presenting ideas about integrating the arts and design in the context of academic research and teaching cultures. Presentations and workshops should contribute to the conference by addressing one of the following themes: modes of collaboration; interdisciplinary stewardship; equity; campus amplification and departmental engagement; promotion and tenure; and dealing with data, cultures of evidence, and impacts case-making.


Leveraging Privilege: Fostering Diversity and Inclusion Through Allyship

“Steps Towards Change” is a2ru’s ongoing series focused on promoting equity in the arts and higher education. In previous “Steps Towards Change” sessions, students, faculty, and administration have shared stories about personal experiences with discrimination within their departments/universities, as well as initiatives underway to combat the systemic and institutional inequity in the arts and higher education. We have also looked specifically at how a2ru can become a more diverse organization and advance equitable access.

As we work to ensure that all our members feel a sense of belonging, it is important for us to think carefully as a community about allyship. Allyship requires an individual to acknowledge the privilege that they hold, as well as the power that privilege affords them. Crucially, allyship requires intentionality: allies are deliberate in the actions that they take, the ways they choose to support others, and how they exercise their privilege.

For this year’s two “Steps Towards Change” sessions—a student panel and faculty/administration roundtable–we invite participants to reflect on their personal definitions of, perspectives on, and experiences with “allyship.” The Anti-Oppression Network defines allyship as “an active, consistent, and arduous practice of unlearning and re-evaluating, in which a person in a position of privilege and power seeks to operate in solidarity with a marginalized group.” Do you agree? What does the term mean to you? Have you found it useful in cultivating diversity and inclusion or do you find it problematic? How/Do you practice allyship? What would you find useful in an ally?

Specific to this year’s larger theme, there have been great technological advancements made in the worlds of art and design in just the last few years, but with only 3% of the internet accessible to those with disabilities, and with more and more people of color and women calling attention to biases embedded in AI programs, what role can and/or should allyship play in guiding the future of these fields?

 Student Panel (60-minute Session)

Student presentations usually take the form of an 8-minute lightning talk, but we strongly encourage alternative formats (see below). All student presentations are limited to 8 minutes, regardless of whether they are individual or group presentations. Your proposal should respond to the questions posed in the prompt and acknowledge any of your relevant scholarship or activism.

Faculty/Administration Roundtable (75-minute Session)

The faculty/administration roundtable is a conversation format. When you submit your application, you will need to explain why you would like to participate and give a general response to this year’s topic, but you will be participating in a conversation, not giving a formal presentation at the conference.

View STC Call with References


Presenters will be expected to present in person to a potentially hybrid audience. Please note: workshops will be in-person only.

Workshops (90 minute session)

Proposals for workshops provide opportunities for immersive work sessions that address a topic or question related to the themes of the conference. Proposals should consider including at least two of the following elements: an intentionally designed format to foster discussion or activity across areas of expertise; a topic or artistic practice connected to the conference theme or arts-integrative methods; intended working methods and outcomes of the group process; hands-on activities; and a mechanism by which to continue the work post-conference.

Presentations / Panels (90 minute sessions)*

In this format, presenters and performers can reflect on completed work or suggest next steps for projects that have already been launched. Proposals should include a description of the content to be presented and an explanation of how the format of the presentation will be conducive to the next steps. Proposals for both individual presentations (approximately 20 minutes) and full panels will be considered.

Art/Poster Gallery (60 minute session)

Proposals should address how a presenter would display their theme-relevant work in written and graphic formats on a physical poster or through their artwork in ways that showcase their practice and research. The artwork and posters will be shown during an extended coffee reception and presenters will have time for informal and individual discussions.

**We recognize that many will want to share their work in slide format, but as an organization that encourages creativity, we encourage proposals from those who want to share their research in a more unique format. Feel free to show a video, play a game, lead a short discussion, demonstrate artistic research/teaching, or simply give a slide presentation. Whatever you choose to do, make sure you indicate your chosen format in your proposal.


General Guidelines:

  • Proposals are welcome from all higher education faculty, administrators, staff, and students;  staff at organizations in the arts and/or education sectors; and independent artists and scholars. Proposals from a2ru individual members, those affiliated with a2ru institutional members, or those invited by a2ru leadership will receive priority consideration.
  • Both individual and group proposals are encouraged.
  • Applicants may submit more than one proposal and be considered for more than one type of session.
  • Acceptance for a session implies a commitment to attend that session and participate in person.
  • All presenters are required to register for the conference by the close of the presenter registration period in early summer.
  • All proposals will receive anonymous review by a2ru committees and staff. 
  • Proposals must be anonymized and may not include, either explicitly or by implication, any identifying information–e.g., name, institution/organization, advisors, etc. This policy also applies to any supplementary or linked material. If you include links to any external material, it is your responsibility to guarantee anonymous browsing. Submissions violating anonymization rules will not be considered for review.
  • You will need to upload your proposal as a pdf to the form below by March 15, 2024 at 11:59pm EST  using the following file naming convention: a2ru2024_track_proposal type_individual or group. For example, a group submitting a workshop within Track 1 would name their file: a2ru2024_1_workshop_group.
  • See the document linked below for additional proposal guidelines.

Submission Format Guidelines

Submit Your Proposal

See the document linked below for a preview of all the questions included in the online submission form.

PDF of Proposal Submission Questions

For questions or more information, contact a2ru Conference Director Charisse Willis at a2ruconnect@umich.edu.