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News & Press: From the President

From ASTR President Marla Carlson, December 2019

Wednesday, February 12, 2020   (0 Comments)
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Congratulations to 2019 Program Chairs Pannill Camp, Charlotte Canning, Brian Herrera, and Koritha Mitchell for a resoundingly successful conference on the theme “Theatre’s Many Publics” in Arlington, Virginia, November 7-10. We’ve captured some of the action with photos on the ASTR Flickr page: find yourself! catch the moments you missed, even if you were present! To learn more about the happy faces you’re seeing at the awards ceremony, you can view a list of award recipients on the website. And keep in mind the February 15 nomination deadline for the next round of Publication & Presentation Prizes. Everyone who registered will have received a post-conference survey via email from Survey Monkey. Please do respond so that we can continue to match our conference offerings to your needs and preferences. And if you haven't already done so, please cast your vote on the proposed amendments to the Bylaws. Voting continues through Saturday, December 21.

Nancy Erickson bid us adieu at the end of November after skillfully guiding us through our management transition. Executive Director Aimee Zygmonski is now overseeing all operations, with the continued support of Red Door Alliances for conference services, Franklin-Sewell Communications for communications and membership services, and FitGrowth Partners for financial services.

As this challenging year ends happily, please keep in mind that ASTR is its membership, and that the Society needs your full participation. In order to keep membership dues and conference registration fees as low as possible while also providing vibrant programming and a slate of awards and fellowships that constitute a significant but vital expense, much of ASTR’s work is done by volunteers including the elected officers and members of the Executive Committee. Numerous committees evaluate award and fellowship applications, plan different activities at the conference and beyond it, and work to help the Society better serve its membership and the field. Volunteer with ASTR by sending an email to any of the addresses on our volunteer page. When you contact us, please tell us something about yourself and feel free to indicate areas of particular interest.

Since ASTR strives to balance representation on its committees whenever possible, we also appreciate receiving information about your current affiliation (within or beyond the academy). All ASTR committees proactively welcome members from communities that have been historically excluded or marginalized from leadership roles within academic organizations, as articulated by the call for nominations, and appointments comply with ASTR’s longstanding non-discrimination policy.

On Monday, we sent an email requesting proposals for plenary presentations and from those wishing to convene a working session for ASTR 2020, both of which are due February 1, 2020. You can also view the conference announcement on the ASTR website with links for proposal submission. In Fall 2018, the Executive Committee selected the proposal from Soyica Diggs Colbert, Douglas A. Jones, Jr., and Shane Vogel for a conference on the theme “Theatre and Performance After Repetition,” and appointed them as Program Chairs. They have put together a Program Committee that will blind review plenary abstracts and working session proposals. For plenary sessions, so called because they are given before a plurality of conference attendees, the committee selects—without regard to seniority or rank—contributions that constitute original and interesting research making significant interventions into the conference theme and our discipline’s discourse. Working sessions, scheduled concurrently with one another, focus around a subject and can take different forms as the conveners see fit—this format allows maximum flexibility, allowing session leaders to create the structure most suitable to the group’s work. Detailed information about working sessions is available on the website.

Those selected to convene working sessions for 2020 will circulate a call for participants in April, with submissions due in May. Please apply to present your work at ASTR 2020—this is the single most important way to make sure that the conference represents your interests. If your initial proposal is not accepted, please understand the limits of time and space, and apply to participate in a working session.

I look forward to seeing many of you in New Orleans from November 5-8, 2020.

Finally, I must ask for financial help from those of you who are able to donate. ASTR has come through the challenges of this past year in better shape than one would have expected after the cancellation of the 2018 conference and consequent loss of revenue. Donations provide funding for ongoing activities such as the awards and fellowships that enhance our members’ important work. Membership dues and conference registrations do not cover all of our annual operating costs, so please consider a tax-deductible donation to support the mission of ASTR.

Marla Carlson
ASTR President


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