Calls for Proposals

NCPH 2023 Call for Proposals (closed July 15, 2022)

To be determined.

The abbreviation TBD—meaning “to be determined”—is a device that holds space for unknown futures. It indicates that the process of knowing and planning is still actively unfolding. But “to be determined” has other meanings, too, signaling resolve, commitment, and intention. The 2023 National Council on Public History Annual Meeting, as NCPH reconvenes in person for the first time in four years, will explore and embrace these dual ways we can interpret and apply TBD.

Taking a page from the unconference tradition, the 2023 theme acknowledges the open-endedness of this moment—for our communities, for our organization and our field—as we reset both the annual meeting and the direction of public history. Over the past three years we have learned new virtual ways of gathering; in 2023, as we meet again in person, we particularly hope to use this economically and environmentally precious time together for both focused and free-form conversations tackling the multiple crises facing our field, our civil rights, and our democracy. Our 2023 conference themes will be revealed from the roots, both by the sessions our participants propose and the conversations that unfold organically in Atlanta as we gather as a community and collectively confront the future.

For NCPH 2023, we invite proposals on any topic you want, in any format you think is best. Think outside the box (or balloon, or basket): we are eager to learn the priorities and creative forms of engagement that the public history community wants to see in Atlanta.  We’ll accept 50-60 sessions in the usual way, via the proposal process. We’ll also be holding space for an unconference-style, highly participatory afternoon of work on a few themes TBD which are especially urgent, relevant, or in need of sustained community attention and, yes, determination.

For proposed sessions, we envision prioritizing sessions that:

  • include traditionally underrepresented voices
  • consider public impact and the perspectives of relevant collaborators at all levels of a project
  • explore craft, art, and performance as vehicles for public history practice
  • center Black, Indigenous, and LGBTQA+ history as American history
  • contemplate opportunity and constraint in moments of crisis (political, health-related, in public education, and beyond)
  • envision shared initiatives that build networks of allies, comrades, and mutual aid/support in those moments of crisis
  • surface deep and/or indirect genealogies of public history practice
  • prioritize accessibility, equity, parity, and advocacy

So, what’s next?  To be determined.


  • ROUNDTABLE (90 mins): Roundtables are typically about half presentation, half discussion and feedback among presenters and the audience. Presenters should bring targeted questions to pose to others at the table in order to learn from and with each other.
  • STRUCTURED CONVERSATION (90 mins): These facilitated, participant-driven discussions are designed to prioritize audience dialogue and may contain little or no formal presentation component.
  • TRADITIONAL PANEL (90 mins): At least three presenters, chair, and optional commentator.
  • COMMUNITY VIEWPOINTS (90 mins): A showcase that features a variety of stakeholder and collaborator perspectives across stages of the project’s development.
  • WORKING GROUP (2 hrs): Facilitators and up to 12 discussants grapple with a shared concern. Before and during the meeting, working groups articulate a purpose they are working toward or a problem they are actively trying to solve and aim to create an end product. Proposals are submitted by facilitators, who will seek discussants after acceptance.
  • YOU TELL US: The above are our most popular and common session formats, but for this conference we’re prioritizing flexibility and creativity. If you have something else in mind, use your proposal to tell us.


TOPIC PROPOSALS: Consider submitting an optional early topic proposal by June 15, 2022 to gather suggestions on your topic, seek collaborators or co-presenters, and get feedback from the 2023 Program Committee.

FINAL PROPOSALS: Submit your fully formed session, working group, or workshop proposal online by July 15, 2022 via (Please note that working group and workshop proposal forms are separate from the main session proposal form.)

QUESTIONS? Please email Program Manager Meghan Hillman at [email protected].