Design Educators Community

Decipher FAQ!

May 1, 2018 / By aigaeducators

We’ve been fielding some good questions about Decipher, our September 2018 Design Educators Research Conference. Here, for your convenience, is a compilation of some of frequently asked questions—with answers. Please direct additional questions to decipher2018 (at) umich (dot) edu!

Is there a conference website?
YES! Please check our conference website regularly for the most detailed and up-to-date information about Decipher. AIGA Design Educators Community (DEC) is shifting to this dedicated conference site for all future conferences. As Decipher is the first conference to utilize this new system, we appreciate your patience and understanding, as some content may shift around while we work on producing the Decipher conference for you. As designers, we are sure you can appreciate that this is an iterative process! (If you have substantive feedback or notice any bugs, please let the DEC know: info (at), subject: Conference Website Feedback.)

Tell me more about how this conference structure will work.
Consider your submission as your “entrance ticket.” All the submissions of the same category will be organized into cohorts based on the role  (“participant” or “facilitator”) and primary theme that you specify in your submission. We will ask you to attend a session organized with your designated thematic cohort. We will make our best effort to balance the number of participants and facilitators in each cohort. Beyond your designated session you will be free to join any other cohort as a participant as long as there are available seats. Learn more about the conference here. 

Where and when? I want to get this on my calendar!
Decipher will take place Sept. 27–29 at various locations on the University of Michigan campus.
Sept. 27: Sessions will begin at 1pm at several locations on Central Campus and Downtown Ann Arbor
Sept. 28: Sessions / events will run from 9am–7:30pm at Rackham Graduate School, Central Campus
Sept. 29: Sessions will run from 9am–5pm at Stamps School of Art & Design, North Campus

Although Decipher is sponsored and hosted by the Stamps School of Art & Design, due to Fall semester class schedules the only day we will hold sessions at Stamps (North Campus) will be Saturday. There will be several transportation options to North Campus and we will provide detailed information about them at the conference.

YOU will be what makes Decipher an amazing experience—please plan your travel so that you can be present for the entire conference!

What other important dates do I need to know?
Aug. 1: Registration deadline for facilitators, poster presenters, and graduate forum participants (to confirm your spot in our schedule)

Aug. 27: Final Graduate forum submissions due

Sept. 1: Revised submissions from facilitators and poster presenters (for use in conference proceedings)

Sept. 1: Submissions close for General Participation: Please encourage your colleagues to apply to attend as participants! See our Decipher FAQ for details on why we are asking our participants (non-facilitator engaged attendees) to contribute a brief 250-word submission.

Is there a specific conference hotel?
We’re glad you asked! The conference hotel, Graduate Ann Arbor, is located within easy walking distance of all of the sessions and events on Thursday and Friday. For this reason, we highly recommend staying at the conference hotel. If you choose to stay elsewhere, please keep in mind that Thursday and Friday we will be downtown and on Central Campus. The Decipher room block is reserved from Wednesday, Sept. 26–Sunday, Sept. 30. The block closes on August 28, 2018.

Can I share a room with another Decipher attendee to cut costs?
We understand that many of you are on tight budgets, and some folks have asked us about the possibility of sharing a hotel room with another Decipher attendee. Please join the AIGA DEC discussion group on Facebook and do a search for other Decipher folks / posts there if you’re looking for someone to share accommodations with you. (Note that there’s a brief survey to join the group; please complete it and mention the Decipher conference.)

What’s the difference between a “participant” and a “facilitator”?
Participants attend the conference and are expected to engage in all of the sessions. Facilitators plan and lead the sessions for participants. Facilitators also have an additional expectation of documentation and dissemination of their session following the conference.

Facilitators at Decipher lead the sessions. Decipher will not include “paper presentations,” but at a traditional academic conference, presenters would be the analogous role to facilitators.

Participants at Decipher are engaged attendees who will be involved in our selected facilitators’ Conversations, Activity Groups, and Workshops, and conference networking sessions in a variety of ways. We are also asking our participants to contribute a very brief written submission so that their own research interests can be articulated and disseminated as part of the conference communications and outcomes.

I just want to come to the conference to learn—why do I have to submit something?
Providing this information indicates your interest in specific conference topics, enables organizers to match you with specific facilitators and sessions and will create valuable networking opportunities for you throughout the event. Your 250-word submission will be included in the conference proceedings, giving everyone at the conference a voice!

I’m interested in different themes, as well as different session types. Should I submit more than once?
Only one submission is required to participate in Decipher. The additional information you share in your submission form will help us understand the level of interest in the themes and develop the conference structure accordingly. So, while you are welcome to enter as many submissions as you wish, multiple submissions are not necessary to participate in the various tracks and themes of the conference. Beyond your designated session (see above), you are free to join any other cohort as a participant as long as there are available seats.

What if I want to be involved in a different session in addition to my original submission?
Beyond your designated session (see above), you are free to join any other cohort as a participant as long as there are available seats.

If I apply as a facilitator and am not selected, do I need to resubmit an application for the September 1 participant deadline?
If not accepted as facilitators, submissions will automatically be added to the participant selection pool; there is no need to reapply as a participant.

What type of designers do you expect to attend? Do I have the right background to participate in the conference?
We would like designers from a wide array of disciplines to attend this event. Whether your area of interest lies in user experience, graphic design, motion, sound, wearables, products, environments, places, spaces, or services, we hope for participation from an array of designers from academia and industry. We hope for and expect design educators and practitioners with different levels of experience as well.

Will there be a registration fee? If so, how much will it cost?
AIGA members: $275
Non-Members: $325
Student AIGA members $75
Student Non-Members: $125

A special note for students: if you are not already in the AIGA database as a member and would like to register as a Student Non-member, you must first create a (free) account and indicate your student status in your account. Then, when you return to the registration portal and enter the email associated with your account, the pricing should reflect the correct rate.

My proposal has been accepted; can you fund my travel?
We wish we could pay everyone’s way! The only funding available for Decipher guests were our Equity Scholarships & Travel Grants. The deadline to apply to this funding was June 15.

What if I just want to attend without submitting?
Please note that the format of this conference is atypical in that everyone participating in the conference will have submitted as either a “facilitator” or “participant.” Due to the engaging experience we hope to create at Decipher, there will not be general registration available for attendees who have not submitted a proposal.

(SUBMISSIONS CLOSED JUNE 15) Do I need to submit to the conference in order to apply for an equity scholarship?
Yes, you will need to submit a proposal in addition to completing our scholarship application process. Please see this post for more information and a link to the Call for Participation, which contains the application details. 

AIGA encourages thoughtful, responsible discourse. Please add comments judiciously, and refrain from maligning any individual, institution or body of work. Read our policy on commenting.