Conference Details for Attendees

Hello! Below are the details for the PTO Conference 2017 in Detroit, Breaking the Silence: From Rebellion to Waging Love. Please read on for additional important info and reminders. Some sections don’t apply to all; titles are bolded to assist skimming.

Check-In and On-Site Registration

Cass Corridor Commons, 4605 Cass Avenue, Detroit, MI 48201
Conference check-in will open at 5:45pm EDT on Thursday, June 1 and will continue throughout the conference beginning at 8:00am EDT each morning. If you’ve already registered, you can just come by to pick up your badge and folder. Or, if you need to register you can do so on-site.

No Peanuts Allowed!

We often have a conference attendees who have a strong and even FATAL peanut allergies. We must ask that you support us in making the ENTIRE conference space peanut-free.


The latest draft of the schedule is available HERE. More information, like keynote guest bios, welcomes from various groups, acknowledgements, facilities maps, suggestions for dining, etc. will be available in your conference program available when you check in at the conference site.

Opening Session

Thursday, June 1 at 7:15pm EDT
1104 South Wabash, First floor
Please join us for the opening conference session performance of Forum Theatre from the pre-conference workshop participants, jokered by Julian Boal.

Keynote Dialogues

This year we’ve committed to honoring our specific theme by coordinating keynote dialogues rather than individual speakers. We’re so excited about our keynote guests. For those of you who haven’t seen our keynote guest slate, it’s here:


We do not have access to a designated parking lot for this conference. Options for parking your car at the conference site are:

  • The public paid parking lot on the east side of the 900 block of S. Wabash. This parking lot is directly across the street from one of our conference buildings (916 S. Wabash) and one block down from the other conference building (1104 S. Wabash); I have attached a photo of the sign from that parking lot, as the sign indicates costs.
  • There’s some free street parking on Wabash depending on time of day. Those spots typically involve moving your car at some point during the day, so observe signs carefully. There’s some additional parking of this kind (free but with special restrictions) on State Street (the street West of Wabash), several blocks south of the conference site.
  • There’s some additional paid street parking on other Wabash blocks. You may wish to download the ParkChicago app to a phone. It allows you to extend parking times from your phone.

Technology for Presenters

Presenters, we have very carefully matched the highly specific-technology requests with spaces. We believe everyone should have the capabilities requested. Please know that this a grassroots conference rather than an expensive, corporatized one; we’re in good shape with the site’s technology, but we don’t have an elaborate tech budget (because we do not charge for technology). We are confident, however, that any glitches will be addressed quickly and presentations will happen as planned. In some cases a whiteboard and markers have been substituted for the requested flip chart.

If you requested to project something, know that only in some rooms are you able to run that projection through the school’s computer. In other rooms, you project by hooking up a laptop to a large television screen that acts as your projection screen. As a result, we request that presenters with laptops bring them if at all possible, and we strongly recommend you bring a VGA adapter if you have one (they are required to hook up laptops to those televisions). As one of the Columbia tech personnel said, “Individuals using the televisions to display presentations will need to bring their own VGA chords. Any male chord that ends with VGA should suffice. As for audio, if the laptop/mac has a standard mini-jack, they can use the speakers provided in the room.” PTO will have a few VGA chord adapters on hand, but we will not be able to supply everyone, as types of computers vary.

If you have questions about adapters or other tech needs, it can be a good idea to check in at the registration desk about them. We also recommend checking out your presentation space in the time between rooms being unlocked on Friday or Saturday and the start of the first sessions of the day (so between after 8:30 am and the first session). That way you can contact the registration desk with tech questions ahead of time.

Still seeking additional translators

If you can translate between Spanish and English or Portuguese and English, we’d be grateful if you wanted to offer an hour or two (or more!) of your time toward our translation team. Translation skills for other languages welcome, too, of course, but these are the two languages for which we have specific translation requests. If you are interested in supporting the conference community this way, please send an email Please put “Translation for PTO” in the subject line, give us your name and phone number, and indicate when you might be available.

Conference Bookstore

Chicago’s Revolution Books will run a book table at the conference, with lots of titles relevant to our conference community. The book table will be open Friday and Saturday and will be located in our main conference space on the 1st floor of 1104 S. Wabash.

Provided Lunches

This is a reminder that lunches are included in your registration on Friday and Saturday. We have observed dietary specifics indicated on the registration form. Dinners are not included in the cost of the conference. There’s some time to grab food nearby on Friday night before the 2nd keynote panel, and we’ll finish the membership meeting on Saturday in plenty of time for you and others to find dinner spots.

All-gender restrooms

There will be all-gender restrooms available at the conference site.

Residence Hall Assignments

If you are staying in the dorm housing at University Center, you paid through us, and we pre-paid them in a lump sum. We’ve given them a spreadsheet with all roommate assignments.

Paper Sessions

Paper panels are organized with anywhere between 2 and 4 papers (3 in most cases), depending on themes and methods. We try to keep numbers as consistent as possible across sessions, but many specific presentation time requests also shape our scheduling. As indicated on the proposal form, paper presentations should last no more than 20 minutes. We encourage you to deliver them more as conversation and less as reading. We will aim to send a conference time keeper to each paper panel, but we ask that panelists make an agreement to keep time for each other to ensure everyone has a chance to share.


We sincerely thank you for your patience as our all-volunteer collective works to host this international gathering with more than 90 workshops, papers, and dialogues. We know the lack of a paid administrator can lead to delays with some of the many emails we receive each day. The volunteer labor model is currently part of how we can afford to encourage increased attendance of people who would not be able to afford other conferences of this kind. In the last several years, we have significantly improved our ability to welcome those who are not expressly supported by an academic institution. If you would like to volunteer to help host or support future conferences or to help us strengthen our organizing capacity, please attend the membership meeting and let us know!

We’re so looking forward to welcoming you to our 22nd Annual Conference! If you need to reach someone by phone between now and the conference, you can call my personal cell at 210.364.7024. There is no PTO phone number. I’ll return each call as quickly as possible. If you text me, please, please be sure to sign the text with your name.

Yours in process,
Ruthi Engelke, on behalf of the PTO Detroit 2017 Team and the PTO Board