It's Time to Get BIG! The Stats, The Stories, The Steps

The BIG Conference

20th Annual Basic Income Guarantee Conference

2 Days in Portland, OR - 1 Day virtual

2022 is a BIG year! The only annual basic income conference in North America is getting a new name: The BIG Conference, or The Basic Income Guarantee Conference. It is also the 20th anniversary of this amazing event. The conference will be held from June 23-25, 2022. The first two days will take place live and in-person in Portland, Oregon, with some sessions available for livestream. The third conference day will be fully virtual, in partnership with key Canadian organizations.

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This year is the second high school essay contest in honor of the 20th annual Basic Income Guarantee (BIG) Conference. It is open to all high school students across the U.S. and Canada. The three winners of this year’s high school essay contest will be awarded a first, second, and third place cash prize of $300, $200, and $100 respectively. Submissions due April 30!

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Photo of the BIG Conference in 2019 - our last IRL event!

Our 20th Conference

This year marks the 20th annual BIG Conference. With the theme It's Time to Get BIG: The Stats, The Stories, The Steps, much of the conference will be forward looking, there will be some events to take stock of the development of the movement for a BIG in the US, Canada, and worldwide, and to acknowledge some of the researchers, organizers, and organizations that have contributed to the process. How did we start? How have we grown? What have we learned? What are the most urgent current questions? What obstacles do we face? What are our next steps? How should we now define our long-term goals? These are the questions we look forward to digging into together during the 20th BIG Conference. Join us!

History of the Conference

The BIG Conference (formerly the North American Basic Income Guarantee (NABIG) Congress) has been held every year since 2002 with the exception of 2020, to promote networking and exchange of ideas among scholars, activists, and policy makers. The first eight Congresses were organized by the US Basic Income Guarantee Network (USBIG) in conjunction with the Eastern Economic Association meetings. Beginning with the 2010 Montreal Congress, NABIG has been co-sponsored by USBIG and the Basic Income Canada Network (BICN) and alternated annually between Canada and the United States.  In 2021, the number of sponsors of the NABIG Congress expanded to include the Income Movement,  the Basic Income Canada Youth Network, and the Fund for Humanity. Because of the pandemic, the congress was entirely virtual.

Congresses have been supported by hosts such as the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College, New York City, Centre for Research in Ethics at the University of Montreal, the University of Toronto, the University of Manitoba, and McMaster University, with financial support from foundations such as the Economic Security Project,  and with the cooperation of other organizations including the Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction, Low Income Families Together, the Roosevelt House, and the Basic Income Earth Network.

Our Partners

These organizations play an important role in making the 20th Annual BIG Conference possible. Thank you to our partners!

Get Inspired with 2021 Sessions

The 2021 Conference had six plenary sessions and more than 30 breakout sessions covering a variety of aspects of basic income. Below are a few highlighted sessions. Check them out and get inspired as we lead into 2022!

Keynote Sessions

Pilots, Data and the Drive Towards Cash Policies

In January, Bloomberg News declared 2021 the year of basic income pilots. Hear from experts involved in designing and implementing dozens of pilots, the results from the SEED demonstration, and the role data can play in furthering direct cash policy at the federal level. Panelists include: Amy Castro Baker, Stacia West, Sarah Cowan, Adam Roseman, and Dr. Evelyn L. Forget.

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UBI & Tech: What is the Future of Work?

As technology changes the nature of work and the employment landscape, we consider how UBI can help workers offset some of the effects of automation and distributed labor practices in low-wage gig work. Watch a lively discussion about some of society's most pressing issues. Panelists include: Albert Wenger,  Ioana Marinescu and Leah Hamilton.

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Inherent Good Film Screening and Q&A

In 2017, filmmakers Steve Borst, Rennie Soga, Chris Panizzon and Trae Crowder set off to make a film about universal basic income. They documented stories across the south, from small town Celina, Tennessee to Jackson, Mississippi to highlight the power of monthly cash. See the film on Kanopy, a free platform associated with public libraries. Watch it and then check out the filmmakers' Q&A.

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Event Features

With COVID, this year's Congress was a virtual event. But virtual didn't have to be boring. See some of the dynamic solutions we incorporated into the 2021 Conference.

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Crowdcast for Easy Access

For our main sessions we used Crowdcast. This allowed for streamlined access to all sessions, whether pre-registering, participating or re-watching.

Social Hours for Networking

This year we used Kumospace as a place for casual conversations, networking and deeper debates about all things basic income.

Interactive Sessions

Conference organizers worked closely with panelists to design sessions that allowed for audience participation and interaction with the ideas being covered.