2022 NCFR Conference Overview and Theme

Light and Shadow: Shifting Perspectives and Families

2022 NCFR Annual Conference

Wed.–Sat., Nov. 16–19, 2022 | Preconference workshops: Tues., Nov. 15
Minneapolis, MN | Hilton Minneapolis

Debra Berke
Program Chair: Debra L. Berke, Ph.D., CFLE

Program Chair: Debra Berke, Ph.D., CFLE, Professor and Director of Psychology Programs, Director of the Center for Prevention Science, Wilmington University


“Light and shadows visually define objects” (Visual Arts, 2012). Light and shadow can also define families; how educators, researchers, theorists, practitioners, and policymakers describe, make sense out of, study, and work with families determines which facets are in light and which are in shadow (or not the focus). But do we as Family Scientists ever take time to reflect on questions such as “What does it mean for individuals and families to be in shadow or in the light?” If they are in shadow, are they…

  • Unseen?
  • Unrecognized?
  • Emerging?
  • Not valued?
  • The underdog?
  • Stigmatized?

What if families are “in the light”? Are they perceived as mainstream, normal, and/or privileged?”

2022 plenary presenters
From left: Yasser A. Payne, Ph.D.; Deadric T. Williams, Ph.D.; Kao Kalia Yang, MFA; and Derek Peterson

Plenary presenter Yasser Payne, Ph.D., professor in sociology and criminal justice from the University of Delaware, will highlight a street ethnographic research program centered on exploring notions of resilience and resiliency in street identified Black and Brown populations that are typically “unseen.”

Another art principle that can be applied to Family Science and families is the concept of values. “Values are the different shades of gray between white and black; [they] translate the light and shadows” into shading, thus creating “the illusion of a third dimension” (Visual Arts, 2012). What role do our values play in research, practice, theorizing, policy, and teaching? How do Family Scientists decide what to value? What new dimensions of families are revealed by a shift in light, perspective, or values and what are the challenges of examining values? Our plenary presenter, Deadric Williams, Ph.D., assistant professor of sociology from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, will explore how values have impacted our Family Science research and practice by applying the lens of critical race theory to past and contemporary Family Science research.

Hatching and crosshatching are artistic techniques used to create shading effects in two-dimensional media. Family Scientists can influence other’s perspectives on families by changing how they (families) are shaded. Turner and West (2018, p. 90) argue we need to “become ever more mindful of the wide variety of families existing in contemporary society whose voices need to be heard.” Plenary presenter, Kao Kalia Yang, and author of the memoirs The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir, The Song Poet, and Somewhere in the Unknown World as well as the children’s books A Map Into the World, The Shared Room, The Most Beautiful Thing, and Yang Warriors will bring light to stories of those often unnamed and in shadow.

 “Before you can draw the light and shadows you see, you need to train your eyes to see like an artist” (Anonymous, 2019). Have Family Scientists been trained as artists? What different ways could we study a phenomenon? Teach about families? Create or assess family policies? How do our best practices intersect with light and shadow? Do they address multiple dimensions? Plenary presenter Derek Peterson uses a multidimensional, multi-theoretical approach in his Integrative Youth Development framework. Why do some teens come through these tough years seemingly unscathed while others constantly struggle or don't make it through at all? How can a thick and vibrant Full Color Web of Support™ promote thriving? 

As you can see, Family Science is akin to art; we “enter it from a variety of angles and emerge with a variety of views” (Smich, n.d.). I hope you enjoy the experience!


Proposal Submission Deadline:

Tuesday, March 1, 2022 at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Standard Time


Sustainable Conference Goals

The 2022 National Council on Family Relations Annual Conference intends to shift perspectives on families and Family Science by:

  • Engaging global and diverse voices, ideas, visions, initiatives, and actions
  • Creating opportunity and inspiring new research, best practices, and innovation
  • Empowering academics, researchers and professionals to build collaborative networks that bridge practice, policy, and research
  • Supporting and nurturing the next generation of Family Scientists

By acknowledging the intersectionality of our NCFR identity markers, that each informs the others, that the markers are simultaneously boundaries and also points of meeting, and through shifting and/or acknowledging these intersections we experience growth and opportunity.


Criteria for Proposals

The proposal describes work that meets BOTH of the following criteria:

  1. The work is sufficiently developed.
  2. Regardless of focus (e.g., research, practice), an appropriate, rigorous approach is used.

The proposal is written clearly, logically organized, and includes references.

Proposals can be based on qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods; or analyses of a theoretical, pedagogical, or policy nature, and must include:

  1. A strong connection to existing research
  2. A strong connection to theory
  3. The potential to stimulate new knowledge and or innovative practices


Submission Questions

May I submit a previously published/presented paper?
No. Papers that have been published or previously presented are not accepted.

When will I know if my proposal has been accepted?
You will be notified by June 1, 2022.

If my proposal is accepted, what is expected of me?
At least one author of accepted proposals must attend the conference, register, and pay the registration fee to present.

Upload copies of the PowerPoint slides you will be using to the NCFR website by one week prior to the conference. A virtual conference may require alternative documents to be uploaded sooner than one week prior to the conference.

If your presentation is accepted as a paper, symposium, lightning paper, or poster symposium, a copy of your presentation must be sent to the session facilitator/discussant by Oct. 26, 2022. You also are required to upload your presentation PowerPoint slides to the NCFR website (except poster symposium).



Smich, M. (n.d.). Mary Schmich Quotes. https://quotefancy.com/mary-schmich-quotes

Turner, L. H., & West, R. (2018). Invited essay: Investigating family voices from the margins. Journal of Family Communication, 18(2), 85-91, http://doi.org/10.1080/15267431.2018.1435548

Visual Arts. (2012). Value. Light and Shade. http://visualartspdsf.blogspot.com/2012/04/volume-light-and-shadows.html


Download Call for Proposals