Please note that QI2021 will be entirely virtual this year. The entry links below will activate once the conference has begun.

Present Paper, Poster, or Roundtable

Registered, Non-presenting Audience Member

Seventeenth International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry
19-22 May 2021
Theme: Collaborative Futures in Qualitative Inquiry

The Organizing Committee of ICQI 2021 has been carefully evaluating how COVID-19 may impact the 2021 Congress meetings, including various forms of engagement (sessions, workshops, publisher exhibits, etc.) and delivery (face-to-face, hybrid, virtual). After much consideration, we are pleased to announce that we are moving forward with a fully online virtual experience.

The safety of our community is of the utmost importance. We trust that participants will bear with us as we navigate these difficult and uncertain times.

The virtual model will allow participants:

  • Access to Congress sessions, plenaries, and keynotes, accessible on-demand for a fixed period following the conference for participants
  • Ability to schedule real-time video conferencing meetings with publishers
  • Ability to participate in conference workshops
  • A dedicated website portal for all conference sessions, scheduling, and so forth

Engaging with the virtual model will also mean ‘attending’ the Congress will come at a lower cost (no need for travel and accommodations) and with no risk that the Congress will be cancelled in toto due to circumstances outside of our control as related to COVID-19. WE ENCOURAGE ALL OF YOU WHO were scheduled to appear in the 2020 program to re-submit for the 2021 program.


The theme of the 2021 Congress is Collaborative Futures in Qualitative Inquiry.

Abstracts for papers and panels can be submitted through the extended deadline of 15 February 2021. Submission information and instructions can be found at https://icqi.org/home/submission/

The rapidly changing social, cultural, political, economic, and technological dynamics brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic are inescapable as we endeavor to move forward. The pandemic has also amplified hard truths about everyday life: the ongoing historical devaluation of teachers, nurses, and service workers, and the precarity of the working classes; the unyielding privileging of business and the free market as the answer to all social and health ills; the differential experience of the virus relative to race, class, and gender dynamics, including as related to co-morbidity and mortality rates, access to care, and visibility; the rise of right-wing populism and its deleterious impact on positive governmental responses to pandemic conditions; the prominence of conspiracy theories in mainstream and social media discourse (e.g., masks don’t help, virus is man-made, etc.).

At the same time, we cannot overlook the broader context in which the 2021 Congress will take place: Black Lives Matter; #MeToo; creeping authoritarianism; environmental crises; economic shocks to higher education; continuing public health crises.

Collectively and collaboratively, this moment calls for a critical, performative, social justice inquiry directed at the multiple crises of our historical present. We need a rethinking of where we have been, and, critically, where we are going. We cannot go at it alone. We need to imagine new ways to collaborate, to engage in research and activism. New ways of representing and intervening into the historical present. New ways to conduct research, and a rethinking of in whose interest our research benefits.

Sessions in the 2021 Congress will take up these topics, as well as those related to and/or utilizing: feminist inquiry; Critical Race Theory; intersectionality; queer theory; critical disability research; phenomenology; Indigenous methodologies; postcolonial and decolonized knowing; poststructural engagements; diffraction and intra-action; digital methodologies; autoethnography; visual methodologies; thematic analysis; performance; art as research; critical participatory action research; multivocality; collaborative inquiry; and the politics of evidence. Sessions will also discuss threats to shared governance; attacks on freedom of speech; public policy discourse; and research as resistance. Scholars come to the Congress to resist, to celebrate community, to experiment with traditional and new methodologies, with new technologies of representation. Together we seek to develop guidelines and exemplars concerning advocacy, inquiry and social justice concerns. We share a commitment to change the world, to engage in ethical work that makes a positive difference. As critical scholars, our task is to bring the past and the future into the present, allowing us to engage realistic utopian pedagogies of hope.

ICQI has been held annually on the campus of the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). Founded in 2005, its mission is to facilitate the development of qualitative research methods across a wide variety of academic disciplines. ICQI provides leadership to demonstrate the promise of qualitative inquiry as a form of democratic practice, to show how qualitative inquiry can be used to directly engage pressing social issues at the level of local, state, national and global communities. The Congress sponsors the journal International Review of Qualitative Research (IRQR), three book series, and occasional publications based upon the more than 1,000 papers given at the conference each year. It the largest annual gathering of qualitative scholars in the world.

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The theme of the 2022 Congress (May 18-22) is Transformative Visions and Utopias of Hope in Qualitative Inquiry. 

As we write this in April 2021, it is becoming ever more common to hear that we have turned multiple corners: the Trump presidency is over; COVID-19 vaccines are becoming increasingly available to the broader population; global economies are rebounding; a newfound sense of hope is slowly making its way into the popular vernacular. 

And yet while the above may ring true, we cannot lose sight of the broader context in which the 2022 Congress will take place: not only will the social, cultural, political, and economic fallout from COVID-19 continue to impact all quarters of daily life, but consider the following: the social justice struggles of BlackLivesMatter and #MeToo movements; growing violence against Asian American and Pacific Islander communities; creeping authoritarianism and white nationalism; settler colonialism; environmental crises; economic shocks to higher education; continuing public health crises; political assaults on science; the fracturing of communities.

In these uncertain times, the 2022 Congress looks ahead with a renewed sense of hope, but remains grounded in the reality that much work lies ahead. Collectively and collaboratively, this moment calls for a critical, performative, social justice inquiry directed at the multiple crises of our historical present. We need a rethinking of where we have been, and, crucially, where we are going–and how we will get there. Our inquiry must meet the demands of our hopeful–but evolving–future.

It is in the hands of the diverse and evolving  ICQI community to intervene into the challenges and demands that we face–to be present to the history that we all shape. These challenges and demands may require us to rethink our ethical, political, and methodological moorings–especially in a post-COVID landscape. Although we do not know what the future may hold, we must ensure our voices will be heard as we continue to intervene into the spaces of the everyday–working toward a more diverse, inclusive, and transformative present.

* * *

Message from the Director:

Our global community has accomplished a great deal since 2005, including 16 congresses, a new journal, and three book series. But now is the time to move on. After talking at length with my family and friends I have decided it is time to step aside from formally directing the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry (ICQI) on a day-to-day basis and take on the role of Emeritus Director.

Effective October 1, 2020, Michael Giardina is the new Director of the Congress. Michael, Professor of Physical Culture and Qualitative Inquiry in the College of Education at Florida State University, has a long history with ICQI, having been one of the founding associate directors in 2005 and maintaining active engagement with the Congress throughout the last 15 years. He is the author or editor of more than 20 books, many of which deal with qualitative research. He is also co-editor of Qualitative Inquiry (QI), co-editor of Cultural Studies/Critical Methodologies (CSCM), co-editor of International Review for Qualitative Research (IRQR), editor of the Sociology of Sport Journal (SSJ), co-editor of three book series on qualitative research for Routledge (Foundations & Futures in Qualitative InquiryQualitative Research in Sport & Physical ActivityICQI Series), and, with myself, Yvonna Lincoln, and Gaile Cannella, co-editor of the forthcoming SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Research (6th Edition).

James Salvo, lecturer in the College of Education at Wayne State University, will continue to serve as Associate Director of ICQI. He has been an integral part of ICQI since its inception, and will provide executive leadership support in the planning and production of the annual Congress meetings. With Jasmine Ulmer, he co-edits both the Developing Traditions in Qualitative Inquiry book series with Routledge and the forthcoming Routledge Encyclopedia of Qualitative Research Methods. He is the co-editor of the New Directions in Theorizing Qualitative Research book series (Myers Education Press) emanating from the Congress and Associate Editor of New Directions for QICSCM, and IRQR. He is also the author of Reading Autoethnography: Reflections on Justice & Love(Routledge, 2020) and Writing & Unrecognized Academic Labor: The Rejected Manuscript(Routledge, 2020).

The remainder of the senior leadership of ICQI is composed of the following Assistant Directors:

Tony E. Adams, Bradley University, USA

Kakali Bhattacharya, University of Florida, USA

Durrell Callier, Miami University, USA

Devika Chawla, Ohio University, USA

Marcelo Diversi, Washington State University-Vancouver, USA

Aitor Gómez González University Rovira i Virgili, Spain

Emily Ignacio, University of Washington-Tacoma, USA

D. Soyini Madison, Northwestern University, USA

Claudio Moreira, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, USA

Pamela Zapata-Sepúlveda, University of Tarapacá, Chile

Additionally, Mitch Allen will continue in his role as Ambassador-at-Large for the Congress.

In closing, I wish to thank the many people who have made the Congress a success over the years. I have been privileged to have the opportunity to provide a nurturing home for qualitative work. I will continue to be involved in Congress behind the scenes, and look forward to seeing you all at the 2021 Congress—let’s get the BBQ started. I wish the very best success for Michael, James, and the ICQI family.

Norman K. Denzin

October, 2020