Deadline Extended! Conference Entry Deadline and Abstracts now due: October 2, 2020

Conference organizers at Virginia Tech proudly present the Virginia Dares Cinematic Arts Award and Conference for Decolonizing Media. This community-building event will occur as succinct virtual sessions on November 13-14, and November 20-21, 2020.

This online conference will be free and open to the public.

There are no formal expectations for conference presentation style. That is to say, this conference is being initiated as a means for decolonial collaboration, conversation, sharing, open workshops, and intersectional community-building. We encourage applications from interested people committed to anti-colonial and decolonial efforts across all backgrounds!


If you need extra time, or would like to submit in a different format, or have any concerns, please contact us directly. We strongly workshops and presentations from non-academic community members, as well as interested students!

The Conference Name

  • This project grew out of an idea for a short film seeking to re-envision the legend of Virginia Dare, the first English child born in “the New World” (c. 1588). After workshopping the idea, we saw there are many better stories that can be told about the meeting of American Indian, African and European cultures—multiple Virginia Dares.
  • This conference also dares to interrogate the problematic colonial-era narratives of Virginia’s first European settlements. It dares to upend embedded systems of marginalization and colonization within our disciplines. Through it, we seek to advance dialogue through examination of decolonial and anti-colonial imaginary, creativity, making, and teaching efforts.

Conference Goals:

  1. Develop a network of stakeholders committed to anti-colonial inquiry, equitable making, critical Indigenous imaginary, and the development of media and pedagogy
  2. Uplift research, discourse, practices, and perspectives that champion media equity
  3. Showcase outstanding media works through the inaugural Virginia Dares Cinematic Arts Award for Decolonizing Media
  4. Position Virginia Tech and its Center for Humanities as a megaphone for anti-colonial imagination in making, teaching, and media in Virginia, the American South, and across the globe

Ultimately, we hope this conference facilitates in its audiences and participants a sense of connection, community, and responsibility to the past, present, and future of all our relations.

Please note: For the duration of the conference, your filmed talk/presentation will be posted to the conference website, as well as to its YouTube account. If presenters allow, these talks will become part of a permanent conference archive, made available to educators, and/or open to the public.

Important Dates:

Submission Guidelines

  • We welcome international and non-traditional submissions! We will post a series of pre-recorded conference presentations online along with accompanying written abstracts or summaries. We can also accommodate scheduled live-streamed events/talks depending on submitter interests and program capacity. For live or pre-recorded contributions we are happy to consider innovative or nontraditional session formats. If you propose a live-streamed event of any kind, we kindly ask that you leave time for questions and audience discussion. In addition to talks and conference sessions, we are proud to showcase curated media works submitted for consideration to the Virginia Dares Cinematic Arts Award for Decolonizing Media (VDCAA), our conference’s inaugural film festival and awards program. (Please use this link to enter films and media:


  • Please submit a title and abstract or summary (approximately 100 to 250 words) to conference organizers at At the time of abstract or summary submission, please also indicate whether you would prefer a pre-recorded or live-streamed session. Please indicate in this email if you have submitted any media works for consideration for the conference’s Virginia Dares Cinematic Arts Award for Decolonizing Media. You are welcome to include optional images with your session or presentation summary/abstract if you wish, up to 3 images may be added to the email as attachments.

Pre-Recorded Presentations

  • Individual participant pre-recorded presentations should be between 20 minutes and 30 minutes in duration. Please send your video via Google Drive or Dropbox as a downloadable file. We are grateful for submission of video formats that are YouTube-compatible.

Please also indicate whether you are open to including the video as an educational resource in perpetuity on our conference website.

  • By agreeing to conference participation, the submitter gives permission to conference organizers to host and share the presentation during the conference, on the conference website and YouTube account. If presenters allow, these talks may become part of a permanent conference archive, made available to educators globally and open to the public.

Virginia Dares Cinematic Arts Awards for Decolonizing Media

  • Conference participants are also urged to submit to our inaugural Virginia Dares Cinematic Arts Award for Decolonizing Media, currently hosted on FilmFreeway:
  • Jury-selected works will be presented in an online media festival, as well as (if the pandemic allows) at a live outdoor projection of works on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Virginia. One or more works will be selected for monetary award at the end of the festival. Please submit your own original work(s). Tell your friends and community to apply as well!
  • Work does not have to be recent!

Live-Streamed Conference Sessions and Workshops

Live-streamed sessions and workshops will be held via Zoom.

  • Options:
  1. You may propose a short (20 to 30 minute) individual presentation
  2. You may propose full use of a 90-minute block for an original session or workshop you propose. Please leave time for audience Q&A. Example formatting:  
  • Panel discussion, 3 or 4 contributors with one participant serving as lead moderator (we may be able to find an outside moderator for you if need be). Time for Q&A at the end.
  • Round table discussion, several contributors with a moderator introducing the round table topic and the participants before diving into freeform discussion. Time for Q&A at the end.
  • Workshop led by individual or group. Workshop must be held online. Please indicate whether there would need to be a participant cap in order for the workshop to be successful.

If you hope to present your work in a format other than the 20-30 minute live-streamed individual presentation or as a 20-30 minute pre-recorded video, please let us know at the time you send in your abstract. We are happy to accommodate a wide range of presentation formats.

Media Note

  • In participating in the conference, you are granting permission to the Center for Humanities and conference organizers for the right to reproduce, use, exhibit, display, broadcast, distribute, or make reference to your contribution, media works, and/or documented images during the conference for use in connection with the activities of the Center for Humanities in publicizing, or explaining the Virginia Dares nearly carbon-neutral Conference or its activities.

The Virginia Dares Project is a collaboration between faculty and students in Virginia Tech’s Center for Humanities, School of Performing Arts, American Indian Studies Program, School of Education and School of Visual Arts.