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Research & Resources / Graduate Appalachian Research Community (GARC) / Annual Appalachian Research Symposium

Annual Appalachian Research Symposium

2024 UK Appalachian Research Symposium and Arts Showcase

Graduate Appalachian Research Symposium - March 2, 2024


The University of Kentucky Graduate Appalachian Research Community presents

– the 13th Annual Research Symposium & Arts Showcase – 

“Just Futures”

Saturday, March 2, 2024

Daily Schedule TBA
University of Kentucky 


2024 Conference Call for Proposals PDF


Healthy Kentucky Research Building First Floor Atrium 

760 Press Avenue
Lexington, Kentucky, 40508



The University of Kentucky’s Graduate Appalachian Research Community (GARC) is an official graduate student organization promoting interdisciplinary dialogue on Appalachian research. Our mission is to foster a supportive community in which students from various disciplines learn from each other's findings, discuss research obstacles and successes, and have a venue to present their Appalachian‐based research, and collaborate.


Alongside the UK Appalachian Center and Appalachian Studies Program, GARC is proud to continue our tradition of symposia on Appalachia with the 2024 UK Appalachian Research Symposium & Arts Showcase to be held Saturday, March 2, 2024. The event will be primarily in-person in order to create community and facilitate collegiality, though if necessary those who are unable to attend physically can join us virtually. We intend to record all presentations during the Symposium and make them available online with presenters’ consent. 


The Symposium is open to all undergraduate and graduate students of all disciplines from all colleges and universities doing work pertaining to Appalachia. Registration is free for both presenters and registered attendees. The Symposium is intended to foster a supportive community in which students from various fields can present their Appalachian-based research and creative work. This year’s Symposium will provide an opportunity for students to network, collaborate, learn from each others’ findings, and explore issues relevant to Appalachian communities. Students creating performance or visual artworks related to Appalachia are strongly encouraged to participate.


This year’s theme is Just Futures. While Appalachia is often imagined as mired intractably in the past, our focus on just futures was chosen to envision together what just Appalachian futures might look like. Attention to just futures provides an opportunity to bring together transdisciplinary work on social justice and equity across disciplines, including environmental studies, medicine and public health, life and physical sciences, the social sciences and humanities, and more, and interrogate broadly what justice looks like and what it means for different people and in different contexts. Through exploration of interdisciplinary research and arts, the Symposium will exhibit how different groups have imagined just futures within the region, resisting singular constructions of Appalachia and stagnant regional representations to present the complex, engaging, and ever-evolving understandings of what it means to be Appalachian and live and work in the region. We call upon participants to engage with questions of justice, futurity, and time, confront regional stereotypes, and consider what a just future might look like. What would it mean to imagine and create just futures for Appalachians?


Abstract Submission and Symposium Registration Information 

Work must be related to Appalachia, original, and produced in the last 3 years. While we suggest submitting work related to the theme, we welcome any and all Appalachia-related submissions!


Abstract Submission: To be considered for inclusion in the Symposium, students should submit a 200-250 word abstract (a brief summary/overview of your work) online by 5 pm ET on Friday, February 9th, 2024. Notice of submission acceptance will be emailed by February 9th. To submit an abstract, please use this form: 2024 Abstract Submission Form.


Symposium Registration: Registration for attendance is online and due by 5 pm ET on Friday, February 16th, 2024. All presenters must also register as attendees. Registration will ensure seating and refreshments. To register: 2024 Registration Form (for both presenters and non-presenting attendees)


Submission and Presentation Details for Potential Presenters


  • Presenters should expect presentation slots to be approximately 10-15 minutes with an additional Q&A session after each panel presentation. We can often accommodate longer times for musical performance, films, or presentation of artistic work. Please contact us to discuss.
  • A computer and projector will be provided. If additional technology is needed please note on your registration. We cannot guarantee additional technology will be available.  
  • If you are unable to join us in person, please email us to discuss remote presentation options.


Presentation formats:

  • Individual paper: Oral presentation (1 presenter) based on a written paper or presentation
  • Group paper: Oral presentation (2+ presenters) based on a written paper or presentation
  • Full panel presentation: A moderator (1) and a panel of experts (3+) from a specific field or topic share opinions, experience, and expertise from various perspectives, typically in response to questions from the moderator and/or audience
  • Artistic work: Films, musical performances, short plays, visual art forms (painting and other media), photography, and creative writing. For your submission, provide a brief summary of your work. You may opt to also give a presentation about your artwork.
  • Poster: Visual poster presentation that summarizes research findings and will be displayed to facilitate discussion and questions from attendees.


Please have the following information ready when you register online:


  1. Name(s), email address(es), and institutional affiliation(s) of all participants.
  2. Title of your presentation and (for organized panels) the title of each presentation on the panel.
  3. Type of Presentation:. Indicate whether your submission is an individual or group presentation or an organized panel. All participants must register for the conference.
  4. An abstract of 200-250 words for your paper, panel, poster, or artistic work. In the case of a full-panel proposal, please submit a brief summary of each participant’s relevant expertise or experience in addition to the abstract describing the whole panel.
  5. Types of media equipment needed (if any)


Important Dates

  • Friday, February 9th, 2024 at 5:00 pm ET: Presenter abstracts due
  • Tuesday, February 13th, 2024: Presenters notified of acceptance of abstracts
  • Friday, February 16th, 2024 at 5:00 pm ET: Registration closes for all attendees



  • Breakfast and lunch will be provided at the Symposium. 
  • Note any specific dietary needs (allergies, vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, etc.) when registering.
  • Dinner is NOT provided. Please consult our local restaurant guide or ask for recommendations!


Things To Do Around Lexington

Come a day early or stay a day late! Kentucky has amazing art, cultural, historical, and environmental recreation opportunities!  Here are just a few in Lexington and surrounding areas:


  • Did you know that 95% of the world's bourbon is made in Kentucky? Make a stop at a distillery on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail! The Barrel House Distillery is conveniently located in Lexington.
  • There are over 450 champion horse farms in Kentucky. Visit over 1,000 horses at the Kentucky Horse Park, a 20-minute drive from UK's campus.
  • As Kentucky's oldest garden cemetery and home to Henry Clay's mausoleum, the Lexington Cemetery is an excellent place to walk, reflect, and watch nature. The cemetery also hosts the second-largest basswood tree in North America!
  • Famous for its world-class rock climbing, hiking, archaeological sites, natural rock bridges (Natural Bridge) and breathtaking scenery, the Red River Gorge in the Daniel Boone National Forest is a 1.25-hour drive south from Lexington. 
  • The Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, the largest surviving historic collection of dwellings built by this utopian sect, is only a 35-minute drive from Lexington!
  • The Mary Todd Lincoln House Museum, the family home of the wife of our 16th President, Abraham Lincoln, is a great place to learn more about this famous American family!
  • Visit the UK Art Museum located in the heart of campus with free admission to all!



Questions? Email



Disclaimer: As the artist, you are responsible for the handling and display of your artwork. You will be expected to follow the standard presentation guidelines for your discipline. The University of Kentucky and/or the UK Graduate Appalachian Research Community are not responsible for damage or theft that may occur to your artwork/instruments/or any additional equipment you decide to bring. 


Past Symposia Programs:

March 2, 2024

February 25, 2023

March 5, 2022

March 2, 2019

March 2-3, 2018

February 18, 2017

March 5-6, 2016

April 18, 2015

March 8, 2014

Feb. 23, 2013

Feb. 11, 2012

Feb. 11, 2011

Feb. 20, 2010