Guide to Session Types & Formats

Session Types

ON-SITE SESSIONS: On-site sessions are intended to be dynamic and interactive in nature and will be presented at the conference. Sessions can be presented in a variety of formats (see options below) and length. We encourage session organizers to think outside of the box – or typical panel – when proposing sessions. Sessions can include a maximum of four speakers including a moderator.

OFF-SITE SESSIONS: Off-site breakout sessions take place at cultural venues (ideally linked to session content). Off-site sessions are longer than on-site sessions to allow for the session presentation, time for travel to and from the site, site tours, and/or additional site-specific content. Off-site sessions will be co-designed by the session organizer(s) and the FiPRƒ team. For the strongest submission, we recommend that you list potential venues in your submission. Sessions can include a maximum of four speakers including a moderator.

Session Priorities

We encourage session proposals that are anchored in the above focus areas with a particular focus on cultural practices that reflect on the past and build power toward just futures. These include 101 funding practices for people new to the field; collaborative/creative approaches to the sector; traditional or untraditional partnerships; and emergent ideas for sustaining the social sector underwritten by intersectional equity. As the FiPR team designs and selects thematic content, we are creating opportunities for shared learning while also supporting a community of practice that builds momentum in the direction of justice.

We discourage conference session proposals that:

  • Are lectures or presentations of academic papers;
  • Do not include any aspect of interaction and opportunity to grapple with information;
  • Do not honor the guidelines.

Session Formats

Sessions are dialogic and participatory in nature. Sessions may be presented in any of the following formats, each designed to be highly inquisitive, participatory, and actionable.

Interactive Workshop

Looking to explore new approaches and leading-edge ideas in the field of arts funding? An interactive workshop – presented by a team of 2-4 facilitators – is designed to engage participants in learning new frameworks, practical approaches and tools, case studies to inform work in your home community, and skills for advancing our collective field-wide work. These workshops can take varied formats including creative inquiry; generative, arts-based practice; break-out discussion; hands-on mapping/analysis; or skill-building; among others. The session should include participatory components and space for interacting with the facilitators in addition to Q&A.

Panel Dialogues

A standard, well-developed panel presentation – presented with 2-4 speakers each bringing a variety of experiences/perspectives to the topic – that may feature [1] deep-dive/field-wide conversation, [2] dialogue with peers with different concentrations, geographies, methodologies, etc., or [3] a case study inquiry. Ensure that at least 1/3 of the session time is dedicated to audience engagement (e.g., Q&A, brainstorming, collaborative problem-solving, etc.).

Un-Panel “Fishbowl” Dialogues

In this dynamic session style, there are 3-4 speakers who contribute to an engaging dialogue concerned with field-wide issues. Rather than using a panel presentation format, speakers gather in a discussion circle with participants seated in concentric circles around them. This session style allows for deeper conversation amongst speakers while encouraging those in the outside circles to participate in this witnessed conversation by joining the fishbowl.

Round Table Dialogues

Looking for input or feedback on challenges in philanthropic/public funding practice? For subjects that are well suited for a format other than a panel, round table dialogues offer an opportunity for peer learning on a variety of subjects in quick succession. Each roundtable has a host who puts forward a discussion topic within the theme, after 15-20 minutes, the host remains, and all others move to another table. Dialogue continues for three rounds followed by a final share out by hosts.

Dialogues are facilitated by practitioners, organized by focus area, and encourage peer exchange to share common experiences, challenges, approaches, and solutions. These sessions may be organized by the conference planning team to couple similar topics within a shared space.


This is for groups interested in sharing new ideas or works in progress. Pecha Kucha, chit-chat in Japanese, is a unique presentation style. These presentations are known for telling stories through images rather than text and are typically brief. They use the 20×20 rule, where each presentation consists of 20 slides, and each slide is displayed for only 20 seconds, automatically progressing to the next one. This results in a total presentation time of 6 minutes and 40 seconds.

I Have Another Idea

If your preferred a format that is not listed above or you have a new idea for convening attendees, you are welcome to get creative and offer an alternative format. As you tap into your creativity, please be mindful of the material and technological limitations that the session may encounter.

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