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Call For Proposals:
Lightning Talks

Deadline extended! We are now accepting applications for Lightning Talks through May 15, 2023.

The Career and Artistic Development Committee is pleased to announce a call for Lightning Talks for the 2023 convention. Presenters of all levels are invited to share innovative projects, fresh ideas, new approaches, and research in an exciting new format. Lightning Talks distill a larger topic into 5 minutes of the most relevant material.

Up to ten presentations will be accepted for this Friday, August 4 afternoon convention session. Presentations are encouraged to embrace the theme of 2023 convention, “Beyond Borders”. A 250-500 word abstract of your presentation is required for the application. Proposals are DUE April 15, 2023. Applicants will be notified by May 1. Invited presenters will work with a member of the Career and Artistic Development Committee to refine their presentation; participation is contingent upon submission of script drafts and video run throughs of the presentation prior to the 2023 NFA convention. Presentations should contain no more than eight slides, and your font should be 40pt or larger.    

Please refer any questions to


April 15 - Proposals due

May 1- Applicants notified of acceptance and assigned mentor

May 15- Presenters submit PPT, script, and video run through of presentation to mentor

June 1- CAD mentor supplies feedback 

June 15- Draft #2 submitted to CAD mentor

July 1- Feedback provided

July 15- A third draft could be requested at the discretion of the presenter and committee member

Tips for Getting Started

In writing your proposal and constructing your presentation, address the following questions:

  • What is the primary point you want to convey to your audience?
  • What new information will your audience have by the end of your talk?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • Why are you interested in/passionate about this topic?
  • Why should other people know more about your topic?
  • Is there a call to action for your audience (for example, a talk about new music might encourage audience members to seek out contemporary works or collaborations with composers)?

Guidelines for Structuring Your Talk

Your first sentence should introduce your topic and tell your audience what new information they should expect to learn by the end of your talk. Everything else in your talk should address a point from your introduction. The flow of the talk should be linear and concise - try not to jump around too much, but guide your audience through one train of thought from beginning to end. Start with an outline to get organized, but write an actual script, word for word, rather than just working from an outline or notecards. PowerPoint presentations should reinforce points from your talk; they should not include additional information, apart from a resource like a website or organization that your audience might want to write down.

Example Presentations

2019 presentations were recorded and are available here. If accepted, select presentations may be edited and included on the NFA website as examples for future presenters.

Proposal Form

Spaces Included