AAG for Everyone —
A Guide to Our Annual Meeting
Welcome to the American Association of Geographers' Annual Meeting. You will be joined by fellow geographers, GIS specialists, environmental scientists, and other leaders for the latest in research and applications in geography, sustainability, and GIScience.
The meeting will be held online from Wednesday, April 7 - Sunday, April 11, 2021, and will feature over 6,900 presentations, posters, workshops, and field trips by leading scholars, experts, and researchers.
The Annual Meeting of the AAG is quite possibly the largest geography conference in the world, with over 8,500 geographers converging from the U.S., Canada, and nearly 60 other countries in a typical year. With thousands of different papers and presentations scheduled throughout the conference, you’ll find no shortage of activities that reflect your specific interests within the field of geography.
Resources to Help You Thrive
A special feature of this year’s meeting is the enhanced Meridian Space, featuring sessions, workshops, and informal gatherings aimed at supporting the professional development and well-being of our members and attendees. Check the Session Gallery after March 1 for Meridian Space Sessions
First Time Attending, or Need a Refresher?
See our Newcomers Guide for ideas and events just for you. Make plans to attend the Newcomers Meeting at 8 am PST on Wednesday, April 7.
Sessions are generally 75 minutes long.
- Plenary: Several plenaries featuring highly distinguished speakers are hosted by the AAG. Some specialty groups organize topical plenary talks, which are listed along with regular sessions.
- Paper sessions: For most paper sessions, each presenter speaks for 10-15 minutes. Lightning paper sessions are larger groups (typically 10 to 14) of very short presentations that provide the audience with rapid and intensive overview of research and allow for more in-depth discussion among presenters and the audience. They feature a 25- to 45-minute interactive roundtable discussion following presentations.
- Panel sessions: Participants in panel sessions examine a topic briefly, without formal presentations, and then engage in a discussion with Q&A from the audience.
- Poster sessions: Poster sessions exhibit for informal browsing with opportunities for discussion with poster authors. In guided poster sessions, presenters give brief talks about their posters. Afterwards, attendees can get a closer look and ask questions.
- All sessions will take place in the Zoom meeting platform. Session organizers, presenters, and chairs will be designated co-hosts of the meeting that is associated with the session. All ZOOM features will be available to use. For poster sessions, we recommend that you create breakout rooms for each poster presenter to allow attendees to visit the presentations that they wish to discuss.
- Each ZOOM meeting will have a closed captioning option provided in English via Automatic Speech Recognition
- Presentations may be given live, or pre-recorded. If you opt to pre-record your presentation you will need to play the recording during your session.
- For the purpose of documentation, all sessions at the AAG Annual Meeting will be recorded and uploaded to the session gallery for viewing later by registered meeting attendees.
Engage with AAG’s 70+ Specialty and Affinity Groups
Even if you are not yet a member, consider attending a specialty/affinity group business meeting. Although these are not informational sessions, they offer the chance to learn more about the group’s activities and to meet others who share your research interests. If you are a student, you’ll be interested to know that most groups have student representatives on their boards of directors, making specialty group membership an excellent stepping stone to develop your professional network and gain leadership experience.
As a member of AAG, you can join listservs and AAG Knowledge Communities to receive announcements about other social activities and events. For questions about joining, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Guidance for Presenters
Thank you for presenting at the annual meeting! Your work is the foundation of ours. Here are tips for a successful presentation experience.
- Consult your session organizer for how your session will be run.
- Meet your co-presenters. Introduce yourself ahead of the meeting and just before the presentation: it’s a good way to network and make connections.
- Arrive early. The ‘room’ where you will present will be open 15 minutes ahead of starting time. Check to make sure you’re ready to go.
- Share your pronouns. And ask! Make space for all of our gender identities by telling people what pronouns they should use for you, and don’t be shy about asking. Be careful not to ask for “preferred” pronouns; instead, just ask for pronouns. Specify your pronouns when you meet your panelists, on your “nameplate” where your name is listed, and on any slides containing your name.
- Be respectful of time limits and come well-prepared, having thoroughly rehearsed your presentation. You never know who might be in the audience, so be sure to put your best foot forward!
- Prepare handouts, digital copies of your paper or presentation, or other follow-up items for participants who want to know more. Some presenters also make their slide decks available.
- Anticipate the needs of attendees with disabilities. Create a file that you can share with descriptions of your slides and visuals for visually impaired attendees. Follow these tips from Washington College for designing graphics to suit neurodiversity. Make a transcript of your talk available for attendees. Be mindful of special effects and films that might strobe or distract too much with high-stimulus elements. Give content advisories before presenting subject matter containing violence, graphic imagery, discussion of suicide or substance abuse.
Guidance for Session Organizers
We’ve assembled guidelines for creating an academically productive and comfortable environment for all of your session attendees.
- Well before your session, plan activities to encourage interaction, such as brief polls, use of the breakout room function, pauses for questions and discussion, or the like. Attention is hard to sustain in a purely virtual environment, and interactions will help. Remind your presenters to prepare their materials with an awareness of accessibility (see resources in the Guidance for Presenters section).
- Appoint a chat moderator to field questions and help the chat go smoothly during your session. Ideally, this is someone other than a presenter, but we have seen this duty shared about presenters. Having a chat moderator is one of the most important things you can do to assure that discussion and questions remain productive and collegial.
- Arrive early enough to give yourself and your presenters a chance to get familiar with the environment. Our virtual meeting rooms will open 15 minutes in advance only for organizers and presenters.
- Greet your attendees as they enter, though not necessarily by name (unless you know them). Let your attendees know that you see them arriving.
- Introduce yourself using your pronouns, and encourage your participants to do the same. You can change your “badge” on Zoom to include your pronouns. Please do not say “preferred pronouns.” Just “your pronouns.”
- Please announce the following at the beginning of the session: “We’d like to remind attendees not to record or take screen captures during the presentation without explicit permission from the presenters.”
- Please also show this slide about AAG’s anti-harassment policy at the beginning of your session, and share the link to it in the chat so that attendees can access the link contained in the slide.
- If you are moderating a session in which participants, not just presenters, will be on screen, you should remind them at the beginning that AAG Annual Meeting sessions are being recorded. The language we use is “For the purpose of documentation, all sessions at the AAG Annual Meeting will be recorded and uploaded to the session gallery for viewing later by registered meeting attendees.”
AAG Regional Divisions and Councilors
AAG members who live in U.S. states; Puerto Rico; Washington, D.C.; and parts of Canada automatically become members of their respective AAG Regional Division. There are nine regional divisions of the AAG, each with their own governance and annual activities. The AAG Regional Divisions offer an additional space for AAG members to connect, get involved in the AAG, and share their scholarship. To find out which AAG Regional Division is yours, or for more information on the divisions, visit this website. If you are an international member who would like to be involved in the AAG Regional Divisions, some Regional Divisions offer individual memberships including the Association of Pacific Coast Geographers, the Southeast Division of the AAG, and New England-St. Lawrence Valley.
Regional, International, and Student Councilors. Each AAG Regional Division is represented on the AAG Council by a Regional Division Councilor. Elected for three year terms, the Regional Division Councilors connect with local members while assisting at the AAG national office. Meet your AAG Regional Division Councilors here.
International Members are represented to AAG Council by the International Councilor. Students have additional representation to the AAG Council from the Student Councilor. More about the AAG Council can be found here.
Jobs and Careers
Join us at AAG’s Jobs & Careers Center, an online hub that provides a central location for attendees to interact and learn more about careers and professional development for geographers. “Stop by” for a schedule of activities and information about careers and professional development activities that will occur throughout the meeting.
The AAG Annual Meeting provides a dynamic forum for industry leaders to showcase the most recent trends in geographic ideas and technologies. Many exhibitors sponsor meeting events, activities, or workshops, and support student initiatives and competitions such as the annual World Geography Bowl.
Check back soon to find out more about our exhibitors.
AAG is committed to creating universal access to its annual meeting, broadly defined to recognize and respond to the intersections of identity and ability, specifically with regard to gender, race, age, stage of life, sexual preference, as well as ability or disability. As AAG has shifted to a virtual meeting in 2021, new considerations and needs present themselves to assure online accessibility. In 2021, we are committed to setting and meeting expectations for attendee access, well being, and safety during virtual events and interactions at the annual meeting. Please read further for information on our approach.
- In keeping with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), AAG will work to ensure communication access at all sessions, including automatic captioning of our sessions.
- Session organizers and presenters are also given specific guidance for facilitating visual and aural access to their sessions and for incorporating neurodiverse approaches to their presentations.
- Recordings, transcripts, and chat logs of sessions will be available to registered participants after the Annual Meeting.
An accommodation request form is available here. If possible, please make accommodations requests no later than one month prior to the meeting. This provides both the AAG and its vendors lead time for ensuring optimal access, e.g. contracting with sign language interpreters. Please direct all queries to email@example.com.
Resources for Inclusion and Respect
AAG is committed to creating and supporting a safe, welcoming, and inclusive environment at all of its events, including online events and separately sponsored social gatherings that are part of AAG activities. AAG has also made changes to its Standing Rules that specifically address and establish consequences for dishonorable, unethical, or unprofessional conduct by an Association member in relation to the Association or its activities, or to the professional role of the Association member beyond AAG-sponsored functions.
AAG’s policies and practices for inclusion and respect support our mission of serving the geography profession, by helping to ensure a robust academic environment in which dialogue, debate, and dissent are supported in a professional culture that is free from harassment, bullying, and discrimination. If you would like to help AAG continue to strengthen these policies, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Although some of our policies were written for the in-person meeting, the essential framework of our approach remains in place, with modifications to accommodate a virtual meeting environment. Visit this page to learn more about your rights if you experience harassment, as well as how to recognize and confront harassment if you are a bystander. If you need to correspond with the advocate during the Annual Meeting, email Advocate@aag.org.
NOTE: If you have been harassed or witnessed harassment and need to correspond with the advocate during the Annual Meeting, email Advocate@aag.org.
Sessions Promoting Well-Being & Preventing Harassment
The following sessions are offered by the Mental Health Affinity Group and Anti-Harassment Task Force
The Mental Health Affinity Group has compiled a set of resources on mental health for students and faculty. New resources are added periodically. Find the folder of resources here.
Racial Justice and Diversity
AAG’s annual meeting offers an important opportunity to gather, reflect, and progress toward making geography a more inclusive and equitable discipline. Through sharing of scholarship on the social and spatial foundations and consequences of racism, violence, and inequality; as well as through AAG-sponsored programming to address the barriers and challenges to racial equity and inclusiveness within AAG and the discipline itself, we seek to broaden and support a diverse community of geographers and GIS practitioners.
Gender Equity and LGBT2QIA+ Inclusiveness
AAG has implemented expectations for attendees and presenters to recognize and support all members, inclusive of all gender and sexual identities. Specifically,
- AAG supports full gender diversity at all of our events.
- AAG provides information about how to use correct pronouns in attendees’ registration information, as well as online throughout the meeting. All attendees, AAG staff, leadership, presenters, and session organizers at the annual meeting should identify our gender pronouns in our nameplate for meetings and wherever we can alter our name (e.g., on Zoom, go to Preferences and change your name to “Chris Cohen, they/them”).
- Presenters and organizers should set the norm for this open acknowledgement of diversity, by incorporating correct gender pronouns into their introductions.
- Attendees and presenters should carry their awareness of gender and sexual diversity into their participation in the annual meeting, from their prepared remarks to casual comments. If you are unsure how to begin, find out more at the Trans*Awareness Project, especially these tips, and see this guidance from The Trans*Ally Workbook (available for a very small cost from Think Again).
A Child-Friendly AAG 2021
Although CAMP AAG is on hiatus until our next in-person meeting, we remain committed to supporting parents who are attending AAG 2021. AAG supports a fully inclusive experience of our annual meeting and an acknowledgement of the disproportionate burden of care experienced by parents and family caregivers.
We welcome the presence of children and other family members in any generation at our virtual meeting, in keeping with the reality that we are a guest in your homes for this event. All session organizers are directed to acknowledge and accommodate the presence of presenters’ family members during sessions.
Tips on Social Media
Follow this link to find information on using social media during the AAG Annual Meeting.
AAG’s Photo/Video Policy
Photography, Videography and Audio Recordings in Sessions
Photos, videos or audio recordings may not be taken during paper or poster presentations without the permission of the presenter. Anyone doing so without permission will be asked to leave the conference.
AAG Photo and Video Release
The American Association of Geographers (AAG) documents its events with photography and video recording to be used for news, web casts, promotional purposes, advertising, inclusion on websites, social media, and other purposes. AAG works to safeguard the privacy of its attendees, while also working to document the community of geographers we serve. We document both the candid and formal aspects of our events with images, photos and/or videos, primarily used to promote similar AAG events in the future, highlight the event and exhibit the capabilities of AAG, and add to the knowledge base for and about the discipline of geography.
When you register to attend, you consent to AAG’s photographic and videographic documentation and use of images and videos, and release AAG's employees and each and all persons involved from any liability connected with the taking, recording, digitizing, or publication and use of photographs, computer images and/or video. You also waive any right to inspect or approve any photo, video, or audio recording taken by AAG or the person or entity designated to do so by AAG. For the purpose of documentation, all sessions at the AAG Annual Meeting will be recorded and uploaded to the session gallery for viewing later by registered meeting attendees.
By registering for and attending the meeting, you agree to our above photography/videography terms and conditions.
Your privacy is very important to us, so we have developed these privacy practices to explain how we collect and make use of personal information.