ASTC 2022: What's Next

ASTC 2022 Annual Conference

September 12–15, 2022
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

Call for Proposals

The call for proposals is now closed.

If you submitted a proposal, you will receive a status update
by the end of April 2022.

The information below is provided for reference.

The Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC) Annual Conference is one of the premier annual events for science-engagement professionals across North America and around the world. Each year, this event brings together thousands of science and technology center and museum and allied professionals working in science communication, STEM learning, and the broader intersections between science, technology, and society.


This Year’s Conference

2022 marks the return to an in-person convening after two years of virtual conferences. ASTC will focus this Call for Proposals and the conference program on interactive sessions and events that maximize the ability to be together safely in the same physical space.

We are delighted that the virtual conferences the past two years have engaged a record number of participants, including inclusion of voices across—and beyond—our organizations and deep within the communities we serve. Opportunities for virtual engagement with the Annual Conference will be announced at a later date, but this Call for Proposals focuses on the in-person conference.

Diagram of ASTC Annual Conference elements with Concurrent Sessions at the center

The overall conference experience includes Concurrent Sessions, Plenary Sessions, Posters, Exhibit Hall, Networking and Social Events, Museum Experiences, and more. In many ways, Concurrent Sessions and associated discussions are the heart of the conference, and we rely upon your insight, as shared in presentations proposed and delivered by you, to ensure a strong conference program.

Proposals that emphasize interactivity and active engagement of the audience will be prioritized. As professionals in science engagement and learning, we know how to creatively engage audiences. Let’s do that for our own conference!


Conference Theme

The theme for the ASTC 2022 Annual Conference is Traversing Tomorrow Together. As we continue to emerge from the pandemic with a refined vision of the future, we will come together to chart a path forward for our own organizations, our communities, and our world. We encourage you to look toward where we are going, not just where we have been.


In-Person Location

This year’s conference will be held September 12-15, 2022, with Preconference Intensives on September 11, 2022.

We will meet in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a city that has reinvented itself as a hub for science and technology, creativity, and culture. Pittsburgh is a national—and international—model for how communities can leverage science, technology, and education—through world-class research institutions, entrepreneurship, private-sector innovation, evidence-based policymaking, and a vibrant learning ecosystem that spans schools, community organizations, and cultural institutions that support engagement among all people in the community.

ASTC 2022 will be co-hosted by the Carnegie Science Center and the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh and its MuseumLab.

Carnegie Science Center logo

Children's Museum of Pittsburgh logo


2022 Proposals

The ASTC Conference Program Planning Committee (CPPC) will develop a program based upon proposals submitted in response to this call and additional topical and timely content curated by the CPPC and ASTC.

To make it easy for you to submit a proposal for ASTC 2022, we have established new pathways for submission. And we have added the opportunity to suggest an idea, rather than a full-fledged session proposal. For reference, a sample is available for each type so you can view the questions.

Concurrent Session

Full Concurrent Session, including a diverse collection of presenters. Two different session lengths are available:

  • 45 minutes
  • 90 minutes

Concurrent Sessions should generally have no more than 5 presenters.

Scheduled September 12–15, 2022.

↓ Download sample

Preconference Intensive

Participatory and highly-interactive workshops on a single topic, including a diverse collection of presenters and facilitators. May be half-day (up to 4 hours) or full day (up to 8 hours).

Preconference Intensives are expected to be scheduled on Sunday, September 11, 2022.

These sessions will generally require advance registration and an additional fee for the facility and catering.

↓ Download sample

Lightning Proposal

Short oral presentation or discussion (about 10 minutes). This format is most appropriate when you have something you’d like to share but may not be in a position to put together a full session proposal.

Lightning proposals are limited to 1 or 2 presenters or facilitators.

Accepted lightning proposals will be combined with other lightning presentations as a Concurrent Session to be scheduled September 12–15, 2022.

↓ Download sample

Poster Proposal

Present your work graphically on a poster board and engage with conference participants individually and in small groups throughout conference, including during the designated time for Poster Palooza.

At least one poster author is expected to register and attend ASTC 2022 in person, but you may include additional authors who will not be present.

↓ Download sample

Inspiration Spark

Do you have an idea of something you’d like to hear about or discuss at ASTC 2022, but don’t know where to start?

Let us know something you’d like to hear about and/or presenters you’d like to hear from. Think of this as crowdsourcing the sessions that ASTC may curate or helping match you with other like-minded individuals.

You can just give us a suggestion or offer to work with others to pull the idea together into a session.

You can be involved in helping to develop the session or just offer your idea for the CPPC.

↓ Download sample

Topical Areas

Submissions may address any topic relevant to science and technology centers and museums and the broader fields of informal science learning and public engagement with science. However, we especially encourage you to think about current circumstances, capabilities, and priorities in the field, including consideration of one or more of the following topics:

  • Addressing Inequities – including those related to race, gender, disability, or wealth

  • Confronting Climate – including the opportunities for and responsibilities of science centers

  • Future Forward – planning for the future

  • Evolving our Organizations – continuing to evolve our organizations as we reflect current priorities and realities

  • Informal Learning – creative approaches to learning, including partnerships with schools and school systems


Making Your Session Interactive

Concurrent sessions are expected to take advantage of the in-person nature of the conference. Formats that could just as well be presented online or asynchronously—such as panels and one-on-one fireside chats—are highly discouraged. Rather, we encourage you to think creatively about ways to involve and engage all of the participants in the room with full- or small-group discussion, workshops, brainstorming, charrette, and more—as well as interactive methods like game shows.

As professionals in science engagement, you know how to engage visitors; let’s use those skills for our conference!


Commitment to Engaging Diverse Perspectives

ASTC is committed to incorporating diverse perspectives within each session and across the entire conference. You will be asked to provide two short statements as a part of your proposal that describe how your session represents diverse perspectives, individually and organizationally. There is no single way to address this requirement, but consider the following dimensions of diversity:

The proposal should clearly describe how the presenters are well-positioned to facilitate the session topic. Affiliation with an ASTC-member organization is not required to submit a session proposal nor to be a presenter. We especially welcome first-time submissions and proposals who have not previously attended an ASTC conference.

  • Range of personal identities (e.g., age, ethnicity, race, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, ability, nationality)
  • Variety of career stages and job roles
  • Organizations of all types, sizes, and geographies
  • Variety of perspectives and topical viewpoints
  • Content explicitly focused on diversity, accessibility, inclusion, and equity

Your session’s articulated commitment to diversity will be considered during the review process.

Please note that the submission form will also ask for you to optionally self-identify on several demographic questions that will be used by ASTC, in aggregate, to assess our performance against our stated values. These additional questions are optional and will not be used in the review of your proposal.


Quick Guide to Submitting

This year’s Call for Proposals will focus on a few key questions, making it easier for you to submit a session proposal.

What? Why? How? Who?

The ASTC Conference Program Planning Committee, along with the ASTC staff, evaluates all proposals submitted for the conference. The information you include in your submission will be used for the review process, to help ASTC organize the conference, and to help promote your session. As part of the online submission process, you will be asked to provide some descriptive phrases that will help ASTC staff effectively develop a conference program that is easy for attendees to navigate.

A myASTC account is required to submit a session proposal. If you do not already have a myASTC profile, you may create one at

Please note, due to the limited number of concurrent sessions, speakers are generally limited to presenting at up to two Concurrent Sessions during the 2022 Annual Conference. In addition, each concurrent session proposal should have a maximum of five presenters.

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