This year’s Space Between Conference, “Outsiders, Outlaws, and Outreach in the Space Between,” will be held June 8-10 in Canyon, Texas, where our venues will be both the West Texas A&M University campus and the adjacent Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum (PPHM).
Registration opens at noon on Thursday, June 8. We will have panels and workshops running all day Friday and all day Saturday. The conference will culminate Saturday night, June 10, with a Roaring ‘20s band and dance in the evening. And we will have lots of low-cost tour and hiking opportunities for you available on Sunday, June 11, if you are able to stay longer. Our area is home to the Palo Duro Canyon, Cadillac Ranch, and a great patch of Route 66.
Space Between Conference fees are $125. You will need to be a member of Space Between (membership fees $25) in order to register for the conference. Registration deadline is May 1, 2023. Registration information can be found here:
Canyon is a 25-minute drive from Amarillo, Texas—your closest airport (AMA). Ubers, taxis, and car rentals are your friends in our part of the plains, where everything is spread out, and driver-friendly. We will have an Uber-sharing document available for those willing to share their cell phones and travel arrangements, but it is not quite ready yet. Please ask us for a free campus parking permit if you need one, and we will arrange it for you! We will offer free shuttle service between venues as much as possible as well. So once you’ve worked to get here, we hope you’ll let us take care of the rest. But you’ll want that Uber app on your phone to feel free to come and go on your own schedule. We have scooter rentals, and if you plan a hotel stay in Canyon, the WT Campus/PPHM and downtown Canyon are walkable (10 minutes and 20 minutes respectively) from most of the local hotels.
Where to stay:
We have a block of rooms available at Canyon Holiday Inn Express (2901 4th Ave) a 1-2 person room available for a conference rate of $109 (Code: SBC), first come first serve. You may also stay on campus, in the dorms, but we are still working out details for this. Please let us know if this is your plan, and we will help you arrange it.
If you choose to stay in the Amarillo area, where the higher-end hotels are located, you will have more immediate choices for fine dining, but it is a 25-minute drive to campus, and you should expect to be driving to and from venues.
Normally, June is warm, but arid and reasonable at 3500-feet of elevation, and evenings drop temperature dramatically, sometimes as much as 40 degrees from the day’s high. But be warned: last June (2022) saw record 108° temperatures for several days, so come prepared with sunscreen, hats, and make sure you have a water bottle on hand for hydration! If you plan to go to the Palo Duro Canyon during your visit (we recommend it and will offer free hikes with transportation!), you should also bring socks and good, closed-toe hiking/walking shoes.
We assume you are probably travelling solo . . .
We love exploring new places on our own and having time to get work and networking done at a conference: there is probably no place better, quieter, than Canyon, TX—only recently recovering from its prohibition past (sadly, not joking). In addition to our stimulating daytime conference events on the WT Canyon Campus, including keynotes by amazing speakers—Dr. Dustin Tahmahkera, Dr. Rebecca VanDiver, and Dr. José Limón—all of our speaker and evening events are designed with your enjoyment in mind: there is something to stir the intellect a little, but these events are also meant to be fun, and held at a few central places to allow folks to mingle, meet up with other conference goers, and taste the local flavor. The gorgeous Palo Duro Canyon (a 20-minute drive from Canyon) has beautiful views, and is excellent for short drives and hikes.
But if you happen to come with family members . . .
Both of us are academic parents, and we have—for better or worse—often combined conferencing with family and friends’ travel. Because it’s sometimes the only way to make it work, right? So we offer a free, on-campus babysitting center during two panels if you give us advance warning and information about your kiddos. And all our evening events are public, and designed to appeal not just to intellectuals, but also to the family members or friends who might be travelling with you. So, bring them along as part of our efforts at “outreach.” Our welcome event and first keynote will involve movie clips and a reception at the fabulous Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, our second evening event features creative writing and visual arts, and our closing evening event includes a small band playing Roaring ‘20s music—dancing and period costume optional.
Before you leave . . .
Finally, consider unplanned (unsanctioned?) excursions around the area. Amarillo boasts great brew pubs, greasy spoon cafes, biker bars, quinceañera shops, and antique stores along Historic Route 66 (6th Avenue)—celebrating its 100-year anniversary during the same weekend as Space Between! Check out the Art Deco downtown Amarillo architecture and corresponding hotel art collections. Do an art mural tour of the city, including the dozen Hoodoo Mural Festival paintings downtown Amarillo, others on Route 66, and still others by the Blank Spaces group all over Amarillo. Drop in at Palace Coffee downtown or The 806 coffee shop on Route 66 for a quiet getaway. Look into our amazing Burrowing Owl used bookstores. Buy a can of spray paint to add your colorful perspectives to our local Cadillac Ranch. Go watch someone eat a 72-ounce steak at the Big Texan and shop for your cowboy kitsch items, or enjoy a burger at Coyote Bluff (if you want a real, “Food Network”-endorsed dive). Head to an Amarillo Sod Poodles minor league baseball game or have a charcuterie board and a glass of mead at Creek House Honey Ranch. We are showing off some of our favorite places with this conference, but there are lots of others: we know our area well and are happy to make recommendations according to your preferences.
Contact us if there is anything we can do to help you with your travel plans or make your visit more comfortable.
On Covid and (other) political issues:
If you are coming to Texas from other states, please be aware that few people will be wearing masks, and there will be virtually no precautions taken to prevent the spread of Covid. As a public state school, the WT campus also takes no precautions, including vaccination requirements. We will provide masks and have antibiotic gels available for your use upon arrival and at every panel, and we will encourage you to protect others with at-risk immune systems while you are in close spaces indoors. Decide thoughtfully upon your risk tolerance before you come.
Unlike Austin, Dallas, or Houston, the Amarillo-Canyon and surrounding region are among the most conservative parts of the state of Texas and the nation. As Texas academics in our region, we sometimes feel isolated, disenfranchised, and “out-of-touch” when public views about gender, sexuality, racial diversity, etc. do not reflect our own lived experiences of the world. This is why our Gender Studies Program will be sponsoring a “Red State/Blue State: Academia and Conservative America” roundtable at this year’s Space Between Conference, to talk about our complex reactions to and reflections upon politics and academia over the past four years, which have been, well . . . chaotic. We hope you’ll come ready to talk, and listen, and think, and learn, and have a great time, too!
Bonnie Roos: email@example.com
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