DotGov Design Conference 2021: Call for Speakers

Our bi-annual DotGov Design Conference returns May 18, 2021 to highlight amazing projects and inspiring people working in the government space, and to educate people aspiring to make the world a better place through government projects.

Do you want your voice to be heard at our DotGov Design Conference 2021? We are open to pitches from anyone with a topic relevant to design in government and civic spaces. Local, state, and federal government speakers and projects are highly encouraged, and all are welcome to apply! 

How to Apply

To submit a proposal, please fill out this form by Saturday, March 6, 2021.

The form can’t be saved, so we recommend drafting your answers in a separate document. Preview the application questions.


  • January 25, 2020: Applications opened
  • March 6, 2021: Applications close 
  • March 20, 2021: Notification of selection
  • May 18, 2021: Conference day!

Audience and Content

DotGov is focused on providing advanced and in-depth content around design in government. The conference is open to every level, with the majority of the audience made up of practiced designers, thought leaders, academics, and beyond. 

While our virtual format may make the event a bit different, the 2019 conference schedule will give you a sense of previous content. 

Diversity, equity and inclusion are key tenets of the DotGov Design Conference — in both speaker representation and content topics we choose to feature — so please be prepared to discuss how your talk helps advance the conversation in this space.

Session Formats

Our final schedule will feature a mix of the session formats listed below. If you think your session could fit multiple formats, you can choose more than one option in your final submission. If you want to propose a different format, feel free to pitch us in your application.

  • Creative Lunch:
    A 45 minute interactive lunchtime session presented by one or two speakers. We recommend planning for 30 minutes of content, 10 minutes of Q&A, and 5 minutes for set-up and wrap-up.
  • Talk:
    A 60 minute lecture or interactive session presented by one or two speakers. We recommend planning for 45 minutes of content, 10 minutes of Q&A, and 5 minutes for set-up and wrap-up.
  • Lightning Talk:
    A 10-15 minute brief presentation with a single presenter. This session type will likely be grouped back-to-back with other talks and include a potential Q&A at the end of a full session of lightning talks.
  • Panel:
    A 45 minute small group of people brought together to discuss, investigate, or decide on a particular topic, moderated by a single individual. We recommend 25 minutes of moderator-prepared questions, 10 minutes of audience-driven questions, and 10 minutes for set-up and wrap-up.
  • Unconference Session:
    30 minute, informal sessions to discuss relevant topics with a small group of attendees.
  • Workshop:
    A highly interactive 90 minute session featuring small group exercises led by one or two individuals. We recommend 60 minutes of activities, 15 minutes of reflection, and 15 minutes for set-up and wrap-up.

Selection Criteria 

We are reviewing based on quality and relevance to the intended audience. Your proposals are peer reviewed by the DotGov Design Conference committee, which is made up of design professionals within and around government.

You do not need to have previous experience speaking to apply. For selected speakers, we will have optional coaching sessions to workshop your session. Beginners are welcome! Speakers working within government spaces are given preference, but not priority in the selection process.

We are working to make the conference as accessible as possible, and expect speakers to consider accessibility in any materials they may want to share, The  conference committee is available to provide guidance to ensure compliance with regulations and industry best practices.

Expectations of speakers:

  • Available to attend the entire conference on Thursday, May 18, 2021 via Zoom
  • Committed to sharing and promoting the 2021 DotGov Design Conference on relevant social networks.

If selected as a speaker, you will receive a free ticket for the conference.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Accessibility

AIGA DC is committed to diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility for all our events.

We are working to make the conference as accessible as possible, including providing real-time closed captioning and other accommodations as needed. If you require any accommodations to fully access the event, please reach out.

Accessibility for this event is also about making it financially viable for people to attend, and we are striving to keep the price point as low as we can. 

All of AIGA’ DC’s events follow a code of conduct. Please review before submitting. 

AIGA DC is dedicated to providing harassment-free experiences for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, ability status, physical appearance, race, ethnicity, age, religion, or political affiliation.

We expect individuals at our events to also adhere to the National  AIGA Code of Conduct.

If you have any questions, or if we’ve missed something important, please reach out.

Still have questions about applying? Email

By DotGov Design
Published January 27, 2021