ASTC 2023 Annual Conference - Charlotte, North Carolina

ASTC 2023 Annual Conference

October 7–10, 2023
Charlotte, North Carolina, USA

Call for Proposals

Proposals due January 30, 2023

The Call for Proposals is now closed and sessions are under review.

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 more than 1,400 science and technology centers and museums and allied professionals working in science communication, STEM learning, and the broader intersections between science, technology, and society.


This Year’s Conference

Diagram of Annual Conference elementsASTC 2023 in Charlotte will be an amazing conference because of you. What makes this a can’t-miss event is the unique opportunity not only to learn from each other, but to network, to connect, to experience, and to create together.

With a mixture of concurrent and plenary sessions, Intensives and Poster Palooza, a robust exhibit hall, museum experiences, and tons of networking opportunities and social events, ASTC 2023 will help energize, educate, inform, and inspire our community.

One thing we have learned from two years of fully virtual events is how important it is to maximize our opportunity to be together safely in the same physical space. As such, we continue to focus this Call for Proposals and the conference program on interactive sessions and events that take advantage of being in-person.

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!



This year’s conference will be held Saturday, October 7 – Tuesday, October 10, 2023 with Preconference Intensives on Friday, October 6, 2023.



We will meet in Charlotte, North Carolina, the “Queen City.” Charlotte is home to more than 2.7 million people and counting, making it the 15th largest city in the United States. But more than its numbers, the Queen City is a friendly, diverse, welcoming, and creative community.

The Charlotte area and North Carolina as a whole have become leaders in life sciences, biomedical research, and biotechnological innovation. Indeed, research and development are playing a critical role in the economic strength of the state. Importantly, STEM-engagement organizations serve every part of the state, often supported by local and statewide networks.

The city is served by Charlotte Douglas International Airport, the world’s seventh busiest airport with nonstop flights to more than 170 domestic and international destinations.

ASTC 2023 will be co-hosted by Discovery Place, which includes four different facilities: a science center, a nature center, and two children’s museums.

Photo of Discovery Place Science building
Discovery Place


2023 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.

You may submit four different types of proposals:

Concurrent Session

Concurrent proposals are for full sessions that feature a diverse collection of presenters from diverse settings.

Concurrent sessions are 60 minutes in length and should generally have no more than 5 presenters.

Accepted concurrent sessions will be scheduled October 7–10, 2023.

If we don’t have the space to accept your proposal as written, we may invite you to consider elements of your session as a lightning or poster presentation.

Lightning Proposal

Lightning proposals are ideal when you have a story or perspective to share, but not a complete concurrent session with multiple perspectives.

Lightning presentations are short oral talks or discussions (about 10 minutes) that will be combined with other lightning presentations on similar themes into a Concurrent Session to be scheduled October 7–10, 2023.

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

If we don’t have the space to accept your proposal as written, we may invite you to consider your session as a poster presentation.

Poster Proposal

Posters are the ideal way to have one-on-one or small group discussions.

Share your program, research, or ideas graphically and engage with other participants. Posters will be available whenever the Exhibit Hall is open, including during the designated time for Poster Palooza.

At least one poster author is expected to register and attend ASTC 2023 in person, but you may include additional authors who will not be present.


Preconference ASTC Intensives

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 Friday, October 6, 2023. They may be held in the Charlotte Convention Center or at other locations in the region.

These sessions will generally require advance registration and an additional registration fee for participants.

Conference Theme

We’re going to try something different for the 2023 conference. In order to ensure the proposed submissions focus on what is important to you, we are not publishing a conference theme in advance of the Call for Proposals.


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.

Simply put, we are interested in any topic that helps move our field forward whether that is educational programs to address climate change or racial justice, experiments to make our science centers more accessible to our community, innovative practices to recruit and retain high-performing staff, evolving business models for our organizations, and successful partnerships with schools or community groups.


Making Your Session Interactive

All concurrent sessions are expected to take advantage of the in-person nature of the conference. 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, and PechaKucha.

We also encourage lightning proposals that incorporate interaction with participants, while recognizing that your portion of the agenda is limited in time.

By the nature of their format, posters allow the opportunity for one-on-one and small group discussions.

Given the in-depth interactive format, Preconference Intensives should involve significant audience participation and engagement.


ASTC Welcomes All to Submit

Affiliation with an ASTC-member organization is not required to submit a session proposal nor to be a presenter. We welcome—and encourage—submissions from those at all career stages and in all job roles.

We especially welcome first-time submissions and proposals from people who have not previously attended an ASTC conference.

ASTC is dedicated to building a diverse, inclusive, and authentic community, including people of color and LGBTQIA+ and we encourage submissions from all.

CPPC members are available to support you in proposal development, including connecting you with other possible presenters.


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 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:

  • 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 proposal should clearly describe how the presenters are well-positioned to facilitate the session topic.

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.

Proposals must be submitted via the online portal by January 30, 2023. A myASTC account is required to submit a session proposal. If you do not already have a myASTC profile, you may create one at

To preview the proposal form, download this sample submission

Please note, due to the limited number of sessions, a speaker is generally limited to presenting at two sessions during the 2023 Annual Conference. In addition, concurrent session proposals should have a maximum of five presenters.

You will be updated on the status of your proposal by the end of April 2023.


The Call for Proposals is now closed and sessions are under review.

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