2020 Conference Announcement
Monday, June 15, 2020
This weekend, the Executive Committee of the American Society for Theatre Research voted to postpone the 2020 Annual Conference until 2021. This postponement will allow the current conference co-chairs—Soyica Diggs Colbert, Douglas A. Jones, and Shane Vogel—to plan and execute their conference theme, “Theatre and Performance After Repetition,” for the meeting that will take place in San Diego, October 29-31, 2021. We understand that this is disappointing news to many of our members, but the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the uncertainty surrounding employment and funding at many institutions, makes this the best path forward for our organization.
Postponing a conference is a major decision and we are aware that it carries financial, professional, and personal repercussions. As stated in my previous email, we recognize the value of the conference toward achieving professional goals, especially for graduate students, contingent faculty, and junior faculty. As part of our commitment to these constituencies, we will create a conference program that reflects the important work of our members. This program will be released online in September and will list all of the accepted plenaries, curated panels, and working session participants and titles. Our hope is that this document will allow individuals to demonstrate a continued research trajectory by providing a written record of acceptance that will be vital to their professional needs. At the same time, the program itself will serve as an important record of the research and conversations animating the field today. A lot of labor has gone into the 2020 conference planning process, and I want to thank everyone for their generosity and goodwill as we make this transition.
Individuals who submitted working session proposals should hear about acceptances by June 23. I encourage everyone to confirm their participation with the working session organizers so that their names appear in the online program.
In place of this year’s conference, we will be hosting a “pre-conference” that will allow working session participants to share their work and build a scholarly community for continued research support. This pre-conference will not be an online conference, but rather a series of loosely connected activities for members to voluntarily participate in exchanges and other discussions in advance of next year’s meeting. Details on the pre-conference will be shared in August, but it is worth noting now that there will be no costs associated with any of the activities. Plenaries, curated panels, and other conference wide-events will be postponed to the following year and those members will be hearing from the conference co-chairs soon.
We understand that people will have many questions about how we will proceed for 2021. I kindly ask for your continued patience and understanding as we find ways to move forward with the conference planning process. Our decisions will be based on giving members a choice: those who wish to have their accepted work continue as part of the 2021 proceedings will be given that opportunity; individuals who do not want to continue into next year will be respected; presenters will have the chance to revise their paper titles for the 2021 program; and a new call for additional participants or new proposals will be circulated in advance of the San Diego meeting as a way to create an opportunity for more scholars and artists to participate in those proceedings. As you can imagine, there are a lot of moving parts to this complicated process and we will keep you updated as information becomes available. As a general guideline, we will follow the usual conference planning timeline, which means that further information on the CFP for the San Diego conference will be released in December.
Again, I would like to thank Soyica, Doug, Shane, and all of their team for the dedication that they have put into planning their conference and for the work that they will continue to do on behalf of ASTR. I also want to thank Tom Robson, Jennifer Kokai, and Sam O’Connell, who were initially selected as the 2021 conference organizers. They have graciously offered to delay their co-chair responsibilities and will now plan and organize the 2022 conference.
If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Aimee Zygmonski (email@example.com), our Executive Director.