Conferences & Organizations

Interested in learning more about socially engaged practice in your field? The organizations and conferences listed below bring together people working to address systemic challenges through art, architecture, and design.

If you are considering attending any of the conferences listed below, or if you would like to suggest additional resources for inclusion on this list, contact Liz Kramer at

Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities (a2ru)
a2ru is a partnership of institutions committed to ensuring the greatest possible institutional support for the full spectrum of arts and arts-integrative research, curricula, programs, and creative practice for the benefit of all students and faculty at research universities and the communities they serve.
2018 National Conference: November 1-3, 2018, at University of Georgia, Athens, GA

The Arts in Society Knowledge Community
The Arts in Society Knowledge Community offers an interdisciplinary forum for discussion of the role of the arts in society. It is a place for critical engagement, examination, and experimentation, developing ideas that connect the arts to their contexts in the world – on stage, in studios and theaters, in classrooms, in museums and galleries, on the streets, and in communities.
2018 Special Focus: How Art Makes Things Happen—Situating Social Practice in Research, Practice, and Action: June 27–29, at Emily Carr University of Art + Design, Vancouver, Canada

Assembly is a co-authored social practice conference hosted by Portland State University Art and Social Practice MFA faculty, students, alumni, and partners.
2018 Assembly: June 1-3, 2018

Association for Community Design (ACD)
ACD is a network of individuals, organizations, and institutions committed to increasing the capacity of planning and design professions to better serve communities.
2018 Annual Conference: June 2018, Baltimore

Better World by Design
Better World by Design is a student-led initiative at Brown University and Rhode Island School of Design that facilitates collaboration between designers, educators, innovators, and students in an annual three-day conference.

Black in Design
The Black in Design Conference, organized by the African American Student Union (AASU) at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD), seeks to simultaneously recognize the contributions of African Descendants to the design fields and to broaden our definition of what it means to be a designer.

Design Futures Public Interest Design (PID) Student Leadership Forum
The Design Futures Public Interest Design (PID) Student Leadership Forum is a five-day, interdisciplinary forum bringing together student leaders from across the country with practitioner- and university-faculty who represent some of the most important thought leadership in this emerging sub-discipline.
2018 Design Futures Student Leadership Forum: May 21-25, 2018, University of Detroit-Mercy
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Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA)
EDRA is an international, interdisciplinary organization founded by design professionals, social scientists, students, educators, and facility managers that focuses on environmental design research.
2018 EDRA49: June 6-9, 2018, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Open Engagement
Open Engagement is an international conference and platform to support socially engaged art. The conference highlights the work of transdisciplinary artists, activists, students, scholars, community members, and organizations.
2018 Conference: May 11-13 2018, at the Queens Museum, New York

Service Design Network
Service Design Network is the global center for recognizing and promoting excellence in the field of service design. Service design is the activity of planning and organizing people, infrastructure, communication, and material components of a service in order to improve its quality and the interaction between service providers and customers.

Social Economic Environmental Design (SEED) Network
The SEED Network connects similarly minded members of the general public with designers from the fields of architecture, communication design, industrial design, landscape architecture, urban design, and urban planning who have an interest in community-based design practice.

Social Practices Art Network (SPAN)
(SPAN) is a media resource for individuals, organizations, community groups and institutions that are interested in new genre arts forms and practices. It is meant to serve as a platform for a variety of socially engaged art and design practices.

Structures for Inclusion (SFI)
Hosted by Design Corps, SFI brings together and shares the best ideas and practices reaching those currently unserved by architecture.