Conference fatigue has set in for me at this point, but I am having a good conference. I especially enjoy being around so many people I greatly admire as artists and as human beings. I have been MOST grateful this conference for the sessions I’ve been able to attend on issues of multiculturalism, diversity, and inclusion– specifically Everybody Plays! Inclusion in the Theatre Arts Classroom (chaired by Diane Nutting, with facilitation by Torrie Dunlap), Scripted: The Representation of People of Color in TYA Dramatic Literature (chaired by YiRen Tsai, with panelists Lorenzo Garcia and Ebony Tucker), and Building a Diverse Theatre Curriculum: Students, Teachers, and the Role of Privilege (chaired by Christina Marin, with Stephen Gundersheim and Jennifer Chapman facilitating). In a related way, the multiculturalism and diversity meetings have been an important part of my experience this year as well. AATE and the fields of theatre and education itself, are imperfect, but the challenge laid down by our mission’s anti-bias philosophy requires diligence and unwavering self-reflection . I SO appreciate colleagues who have asked hard questions in these areas and continue to stand up for issues that matter (here and in the organizations they work for) even when it seemed they were standing alone.
One of the sessions I attended challenged participants to define an action related to multiculturalism and diversity in the field in the next year and one of mine is to increase my familiarity with Latino TYA dramatic literature. I am starting by reading Jose Cruz Gonzalez’ Calabasas Street and Jose Casas’ la ofrenda.
I guess I consider myself somewhat of an arts education advocate. I have this little blog here, and I post arts education related articles on Facebook, and when arts education organizations I trust encourage me to sign email petitions I often do. My life, or at the very least my livelihood, is certainly an advocacy for arts education. But beyond the above, I don’t feel like I’m active in a political movement to improve access to arts education. I suspect that there is much to be done, but, as is often the case with activism, it’s not always clear what actions exactly would be the most helpful. But more than that, of course, is making the TIME to make advocacy the life initiative it deserves to be. So I’ve been thinking lately, how, amongst all the many projects and responsibilities in my life, part of my contribution to the field might be to be present in a larger way in the realm of arts education activism. Anyone with me? If so, here’s ArtsEd Washington’s 2010 School Board Advocacy Toolkit with some thoughts on how to go about the business of making a difference.