2023 Annual Meeting Draws More than 14,200 Attendees at Place-based Component in Chicago
2023 Annual Meeting Draws More than 14,200 Attendees at Place-based Component in Chicago

April 2023

The place-based component of the 2023 Annual Meeting held in Chicago on April 13-16 brought together more than 14,200 scholars, graduate students, policy leaders, and practitioners for four full-packed days of consideration of the latest cutting-edge research, thought-provoking intellectual exchange, invigorating scholarly connection, and high-quality professional development. Attendees came from 70 countries across the world.

The place-based component of the Annual Meeting is joined this year with a virtual component to convene on the online platform May 4–5 (read related story). A special section on the full 2023 Annual Meeting will be run in the May issue of Highlights.

Centered on the 2023 theme, “Interrogating Consequential Education Research in Pursuit of Truth,” presidential sessions, lectures, symposia, and poster sessions featured high-quality education research and its connection to important issues in education practice and policy, including anti-racist education, concepts of effective teaching, structural racism and school education, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and much more.

“From packed rooms and dynamic speakers to wonderful weather and a palpable sense of community in the air, meeting attendees welcomed the opportunity to gather with colleagues and valued moving out of the COVID pandemic,” said AERA Executive Director Felice J. Levine.

Rich Milner at his Presidential Address

Highlights from Chicago included AERA 2022–23 President Rich Milner’s presidential address, titled “Consequential Research in Education,” which was delivered to a standing-room only audience. During his powerful lecture, Milner examined the need for more consequential research that informs and impacts policy and practice and the essential tenets that lead to research that improves lives, experiences, and outcomes for marginalized communities. (Full coverage of the Presidential Address will be included in the May issue of Highlights.)

The Opening Plenary, which featured a powerful lecture from esteemed public intellectual Cornel West to an overflow audience, was followed by an engaging conversation with 2022–23 AERA President Rich Milner and Q&A with attendees. The lecture and discussion focused on the responsibilities of those who hold power across contexts to use their knowledge and influence to advance truth for the betterment of all members of society, especially the underserved and those who have been historically marginalized.

Cornel West at the Opening Plenary

After an Indigenous blessing by Pamala Silas (Center for Native American and Indigenous Research at Northwestern University), the session was kicked off by the Oka Homa drum group, a Chicago-based Drum group that presents intertribal songs of the Southern Plains, and then the Muntu Dance Company, a Chicago-based organization of educators who perform interpretations of African and African American dance, music, and folklore.

The audience at the Opening Plenary

The Annual Meeting featured several exciting new opportunities for youth to participate in the place-based component, including the Youth Teams in Education Research Special Program and the Chicagoland Youth Showcase and Discussion. Also new this year, the Graduate Student Research-in-Progress Roundtable Series gave accepted graduate students the opportunity to share and discuss their work in progress on site in Chicago.

The Chicago component also provided important opportunities for participants to uphold and celebrate cultural diversity, both of its attendees and of the host city of Chicago, through special initiatives that are new this year. Highlights included AERA Hip-Hop 50, which honored and acknowledged this cultural milestone through an exhibit and a series of Lightning Ed Talks. In addition, the Black and Brown Marketplace in the Exhibit Hall celebrated the diversity of Chicago and its people, as well as enriching the conference experience and providing a deeper understanding of the community.

Videos from 46 sessions livestreamed from Chicago are available for on-demand viewing for all meeting registrants in the Annual Meeting online platform and mobile app.