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ARTs + Change Conference

Activate, Reimagine, Transform

June 3-6, 2021


This gathering hosted by the University of Rochester Institute for the Performing Arts, in partnership with the UR Office of Equity and Inclusion, The Paul J. Burgett Intercultural Center, the 540WMain, Inc., Create A Space Now and Rochester Fringe Festival, will provide opportunities for artists of all disciplines, educators, community members and community organizations to come together to create, to share work and ideas, to present research, to propose collaborations. We invite participants to learn from one another while considering how the arts play a pivotal role in promoting justice, equity and citizenship. Through the sharing of work, participatory workshops, panel discussions, research presentations, curriculum design, guided discussions and more, participants will come together to listen, to consider, to share and to act. We invite proposals from presenters who are exploring performance, pedagogy, activist art, direct action, community engaged art, ritual, conflict resolution, agitation art, peacebuilding, historical contexts, and more. We offer the following questions as a way in, but other areas of investigation are welcome.


  • How are artists of all disciplines creating an impact on diversity, inclusion and accessibility?
  • How are artists reimagining the world we occupy?
  • How does equity, justice and performance intersect?
  • How does creative placemaking impact our communities?
  • How are you crafting open, welcoming and diverse curriculums?
  • How are you engaging in art, action and/or changemaking?
  • How are you challenging systems of oppression through your work, your teaching, your practices?
  • What other questions have come up for you?

posterTo ensure accessibility, this conference will be free of charge, with an optional donation upon registration for those who are able. These donations will help support honoraria for the conference presenters. 

The proposal submission period is from Feb. 25 through April 2, 2021. Accepted presenters will be notified by April 30, 2021.

Presentations are 60-75 minutes in length and fully online. Arts + Change will utilize the Zoom platform. Presenters can think creatively about how to use their presentation time – performances, workshops, lectures, virtual community art projects are all welcome. Solo and collaborative proposals are welcome. The abstract must address the conference theme and describe how your presentation will create a safe and welcoming atmosphere for its participants. We are open to intersectional ideas that invite participation by people with diverse identities. When applying, please consider how your presentation will engage participants with different backgrounds. Designating affinity groups is welcome if deemed appropriate by the presenter. Specifically consider your presentation’s potential impact on marginalized communities (BIPOC, LGBTQIA, Persons with Disabilities, etc.). The University of Rochester is committed to providing inclusive experiences and equal access to programs and services. If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation, you have an opportunity to describe your needs on the proposal submission form. In all situations, a good faith effort (up until the time of the event) will be made to provide accommodations. Accepted presenters must register (for free or by donation) by May 7, 2021 so that sessions can be scheduled.

To apply:

Presenter Deadlines:

  • April 2, 2021 - Deadline for proposal submissions; Free to apply
  • April 30, 2021 - Accepted presenters notified
  • May 5, 2021 - Receipt deadline to confirm participation and for any updates to session and presenter information
  • May 5, 2021 - Presenter registration deadline
  • ARTs + Change Virtual Conference June 3-6, 2021

The University of Rochester Institute for the Performing Arts is proud to partner with the UR Office of Equity and Inclusion and The Paul J. Burgett Intercultural Center, and community partners 540WMain, Inc., Create A Space Now and Rochester Fringe Festival to host this conference.

The University of Rochester prohibits discrimination and harassment of any type without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, disability status, genetics, protected veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local laws. We are interested in cultivating an equitable, respectful, and welcoming culture at the University of Rochester and in celebrating our connections to the Rochester community and affirming that in a pluralistic culture. The definition of community includes individuals who represent every race, creed, color, ability, sexual identity, and gender.