October 27–30, 2021


JUNE 6, 2021: Panel proposals and individual abstracts due

MAY 15, 2021: Seminar topics due. Final rosters due June 15, 2021.


ASAP/12 will take place virtually, in the interest of the continued health and safety of our membership, as well as in recognition of depressed institutional and fiscal resources. This virtual conference aims to bring about the fullest possible expression of our collective creative intellectual energy and collegial spirit as scholars and practitioners of the Arts of the Present, which is a tall order given the levels of Zoom fatigue and webinar saturation that many of our members have experienced over the past year of COVID-related protocols.

The conference theme—Reciprocity—both responds to and, more importantly, resists the alienating social effects of the pandemic, as well as other contemporary structural, institutional, geopolitical, economic, and planetary forms of estrangement. Working together in and against a global climate of pervasive dividedness and isolation, the conference theme reflects instead the priorities of collective struggle, abolitionist self-care, mutual aid, love, and the creation—or reconstruction—of resistant forms of infrastructure that animate the contemporary arts worldwide.

This year, ASAP broadens its approach to Arts of the Present to include all reflections on the study, collection, exhibition, teaching, and writing of the arts—broadly conceived—that speak to the challenges of the present moment. We seek proposals from scholars, artists, writers, curators, cultural workers, and other practitioners whose work addresses artistic contemporaneity. Participants are invited to relate the conference theme to their own cultural, aesthetic, and disciplinary areas and contexts as well as to engage historically with it. Panels and papers that consider a range of disciplines and methods and speak across (non)traditional institutional or intellectual divides are especially encouraged. We also embrace experimental presentations from collaborative arts groups and scholars alike.

We call on participants to consider reciprocity in all of its contradictory manifestations: as object and subject, process and praxis, mundane and exceptional. Reciprocity may be thought of in relation to a broader family of ideas ranging from solidarity, mutual aid, altruism, and gift economies to cultures of debt, institutional bad faith, trust and mistrust, as well as other iterations of cooperation and competition. The possible trajectories of reciprocity are further refracted by its immediate and distant political, historical, and geographic contexts.

Panels and papers may address the following questions and topics, but participants are welcome to explore others as well:

  • Cultures of care, including medical, communal, ecological, and the state.
  • Social practice, participatory arts, critical pedagogies, and strategies for co-creation.
  • Relational organization, such as coalition building, the potential for horizontal relationships in virtual or physical space, reparations (symbolic or material), and restorative justice.
  • New artistic, literary, scholarly, and otherwise communities forged or strengthened under the shadow of the global pandemic and the resurgence of fascism.
  • Arts of reciprocity and solidarity in the context of contemporary social movements, such as Black Lives Matter, Indigenous decolonization efforts, and other manifestations of political resistance.
  • Mutual interdependence and the porousness of boundaries as conceived through spatial imaginaries, place-making practices, and environmental discourse.
  • Incommensurability and relationality, including master-slave and colonizer-colonized relationships, the politics and practice of translation, systemic oppression, and struggles for liberation.
  • The politics of reciprocity in academia and art institutions, inclusive of value economies, uncompensated labor, uneven power relations, and the valorization or lack thereof collaboration.




We encourage creative and alternative formats, alongside traditional papers and panels and, in particular, welcome those that are attentive to the possibilities of reciprocal exchange among speakers and between speakers and audience members. Participants may propose topics beyond the conference theme. Typical formats include proposals for individual papers, panels, seminars, roundtables, workshops, debates, artist discussions, films, installations, visual displays, or other session types.

Proposed panels, roundtables, and seminars should include speakers from more than one institution. We encourage panel organizers to seek participants from multiple disciplines and a range of methodologies. Typically, because the number of total speaking and presentation slots is limited, one paper or presentation on a panel or roundtable per registrant is allowed. Additionally, speakers may participate in one or more seminars. The program committee may also be able to accommodate requests for chairing/moderating panels.

Seminars normally meet for a single session, and papers are circulated among participants in advance of the conference. It is not necessary for them to engage with the conference topic. All seminars are open to conference attendees, but seminar leaders may designate whether and when audience participation is encouraged and should make appropriate arrangements to incorporate an audience. Please find additional information in the Seminar Guidelines. Seminar leaders are asked to propose topics by May 15, 2021 via email to and to submit the full roster of participants by June 15, 2021. Seminar topics will only be accepted via email, not through the submissions portal.


  • 300-word abstracts for individual presentations within larger sessions
  • 700-word abstracts for entire sessions (panels, roundtables, seminars)
  • Each speaker’s bio (150 words max)



APRIL 15, 2021     Submissions Portal opens

MAY 15, 2021       Seminar topics due via e-mail —

JUNE 6, 2021        Panel proposals and individual abstracts due to the Submissions Portal

JUNE 15, 2021      Final seminar rosters due via e-mail —


Additional conference information and registration costs will be available soon. Questions may be addressed to