Conference Report Now Available for “Sharing Stories: The Case for Art”

a2ru News

Nov 19, 2021

The conference report for a2ru’s 2021 National Conference “Sharing Stories: The Case for Art” is now available to read and download. The conference took place online November 3-5, with pre-conference activities taking place on November 2.

At this year’s conference:

  • 86 storytellers from 32 different institutions shared their work
  • 133 attendees represented 53 institutions
  • 70 attendees were students (41 graduate students and 29 undergraduate students)

This year’s conference focused on the power of the arts. Despite the challenges of teaching virtually, many art practitioners and researchers were able to renew their passion for their disciplines, discover new modes of learning and teaching, and form a community within their classrooms. The power of art was also highlighted in a variety of social justice issues inside and outside of the academy. The curriculum in numerous arts disciplines was challenged, with students and instructors rejecting the automatic inclusion of the Western Canon. Murals were a powerful form of expression for artists involved in anti-racism efforts. Art, as many sources over the last two years have pointed out, is important and especially so during a public health crisis.

Instead of giving a traditional PowerPoint, all presenters were asked to take on the role of storyteller and tell a story in 5-7 minutes (with more time allotted for groups). When asked about her vision for this year’s annual meeting, a2ru Conference Director, Charisse Willis, commented: “As an arts organization advocating for students and faculty to have the opportunity to express their creativity in academic institutions, I felt that our conference should also be a place that allowed for and prompted creative expression.” The format, especially the timing, was challenging, but storytellers rose to the occasion and the response to the conference has been quite positive. Ultimately, we achieved our goal for this year: to provide a space for participants to creatively explore the recent changes that have taken place both in the arts and our communities, and to make a case for the importance of their disciplines and the direction they should take.

Dowload and read the full report below.

Download Conference Report

Image Credit: William Doan

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