Arts Schools Network Annual Conference October 26 - 29, 2021, Chicago, IL Session Proposal
Charting the Unknown & Paving the Way: The Arts Lead
(Setting new standards in a time of uncertainty and unrest)

2020 has challenged us in ways unimaginable. Both personally and professionally. Separating the two became impossible. With children at home and quarantined with parents and loved ones, homeschooling and working side-by-side became the norm. We found ourselves in one another’s homes and personal space, sharing, creating, and supporting one another. Our homes became classrooms. Our work became more personal. Schools and businesses shuttered and whatever we understood as “normal” had shifted overnight. It required us to adapt quickly, solve problems creatively, and to find new ways to have a human connection.

After months of quarantine, the world was shaken again by the death of George Floyd, spurring a new civil rights movement to answer the call of being human. Peaceful protests took place around the country and around the world asking us to fight the shadows in the closet and to protect our black brothers and sisters. This movement took us out of our homes and put us into the streets, side-by-side, shoulder to shoulder, raising our voices, unraveling, and demanding justice.

With these challenges and this movement, we have seen first-hand that crisis is a strong driver of creativity and innovation. The 2021 ASN Conference will address how our industry has changed in times of uncertainty and unrest. What new standards and business practices have been developed over the past year? How did the creative arts help us cope as a nation? How did the institutions we work in embrace creativity and innovation to set new standards? What is the new normal? How do we move forward?

This is an opportunity for us to explore the significance of the role of arts and culture in advancing racial equity and social justice. What work have we done to create a commitment to racial equity and how are we holding our industries and communities accountable? How can we continue to push the arts past diversity frameworks into systemic change?

From sheltering in place and self-isolation to mass gatherings and protests that brought us all back together, 2020 is arguably and historically one of the most significant years in the books. This years’ conference celebrates the challenges we’ve overcome, the new lens in which we view the world, the unshakable bonds between humans, and the creativity, perseverance, and compassion in which we navigated this time. We are forever changed.

To ensure highly engaging and meaningful sessions for conference attendees, ASN invites you to submit a presentation/session proposal for consideration. Prior to completing a submission, please review the following presenter information for our 2021 conference: Charting the Unknown & Paving the Way: The Arts Lead.

Choose a Session Format
All sessions must fit into one of the following time frame options:
• 90-minute session
• 60-minute session
• Workshop format (2-3 hours)
• Pre-Recorded session (60-minutes)

Choose a Content Pathway
All proposed sessions must fit within an established content pathway (see list below). Please determine which pathway your session best aligns with and select only one content pathway.

1. Emotional/Mental Health & Mindfulness
2. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)
3. Leadership
4. Innovative New Practices
5. The Student Experience

Participation and Engagement
All proposed sessions should actively engage participants in hands-on experiences, collaborative challenges, in-depth discussions, or the development of new ideas and hands-on application.

Align your proposal to a Content Pathway
Please select one content pathway to model/design your proposal around. Descriptions of each pathway are detailed below:

Emotional/Mental Health & Wellness: Empowers learners to develop internal resources that give rise to healthy habits and connected relationships. Do you have specific wellness tools that are simple and incredibly powerful to use in a classroom? Do you have techniques or a program that builds interest in cultivating mindfulness and building stronger, more connected relationships? Have you helped your students to become more self-aware and responsible for making healthy decisions? Do you have tools and techniques that help students overcome performance anxiety?

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI): Diversity is often perceived to be about perspective, representation, tough conversation, and supporting inclusion. Inclusion prompts answers about creating environments conducive to feedback, supporting diversity, and being open. Equity can be described as fairness, sameness, and valuing diversity and inclusion. Do you have innovative practices that you have put in place? Have you developed a comprehensive and robust professional development program for staff addressing these topics? What have you learned from starting this work and what advice can you offer to others? How are you serving marginalized communities?

Leadership: During the 2020 ASN Virtual Conference our leaders discussed how to change and adapt leadership during these changing times. Sessions in this strand should align with new skills tailored to an environment of urgency, high stakes, and uncertainty—even after the current health crisis is over.

For leaders to change and adapt they will have to:

• Foster adaptation, helping people develop the “next practices” that will enable the organization to thrive in a new world, even as they continue with the best practices necessary for current success.
• Embrace disequilibrium, keeping people in a state that creates enough discomfort to induce change but not so much that they fight, flee, or freeze.
• Generate leadership, giving people at all levels of the organization the opportunity to lead experiments that will help it adapt to changing times.

Do you have new practices in leadership that have been successful and helped your organization thrive? How have you embraced disequilibrium in human capital, crisis management, budget and fundraising, virtual performances, marketing, and safety practices and policies? Have you successfully adapted a collaborative model of leadership that adapts to changing times?

Innovative New Practices: The past year will have a lasting impact on educational practice moving forward. Schools will need to become more student-centered and update antiquated curriculum and policies. Do you have an innovative new practice that you are using in your classroom? Has your institution changed the way in which auditions are handled, how casting for theatrical performances takes place, have you shifted from western centered curriculum to a more diverse curriculum? Has technology changed your teaching practices and what have you learned that can be shared with other educators?

The Student Experience: Description: The simplest definition of Student Experience is how students perceive interactions with your institution. These areas could include student networking opportunities, how the arts and academics interact, how the arts promote social change, how your institution nurtures the cultural, political, and artistic interests of your students. Do you have a unique lesson that you would like to walk fellows educators through so they can replicate your lesson in their institutions?

Tips to make your proposal stand out:
Pick a topic that is timely, relevant, thought-provoking, and one that genuinely interests you. What challenges and successes are you witnessing on school campuses and how can those lessons be applied more broadly?

• Be clear and captivating in your title and description. A good title will invite the attendee to join by making the topic and coverage distinct and engaging. Make sure that your description supports the title
• Proofread and edit what you’ve submitted so reviewers know you’ve taken the time to perfect your submission.
• Have a captivating lesson for your students- take your peers through this lesson.

What criteria are used to review proposals?
Presentation proposals should be timely, carefully considered, and prepared, interactive, and provide resources, takeaways, and action points. To ensure that every participant feels their time spent in workshops is valuable, reviewers will consider some of the following criteria when evaluating presentation proposals:

• Relevance: The proposed session should interface with the felt needs, challenges, and opportunities in today’s schools, organizations, and society. The session proposal aligns with the conference's overall theme.
• Approach: The following should be clear: the session description and objectives; how the session adds value to the conference and serves attendees; who the target audience is; what modes of facilitation the presenters will use; and what takeaways participants can expect.
• Creativity and innovation: The session should bring to bear a new lens or perspective on its topic.
• Demonstrated expertise: The session should present original research, applied knowledge of (others’) recognized research or theory, models or use of evidence-based practices, personal mastery, and/or reflective practice.
• Impact: The session should lend itself to professional or personal application. It should be designed to encourage attendees to contemplate follow-up, continued exploration, and action planning on various levels.

Virtual Conference Component
In order to reach all possible participants and ensure equity for the ASN Conference certain sessions during the conference may be designed as a recorded event. These recorded events will fall into two categories: live presentations that are either live-streamed or the live presentation is recorded or a pre-recorded session that will be posted for future viewing.

Proposal Submission Process
All proposals must be submitted via the online Google form by March 5, 2021.
All proposals should be completed in full and to the best of the presenter(s) ability.
Email address *
ASN is unable to compensate presenters whose proposals are accepted. Presenters are expected to pay the conference registration fee and their respective travel expenses. *
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