NCPH 2023 ATLANTA, GEORGIA, APRIL 12-15, 2023 - 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