In early July, Assistant Professor of the Theatre Department Dani Snyder-Young was elected to the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) 2021 Governing Council. She will begin her two-year term as Vice-President Elect for Conference 2023 in August.
ATHE is a nonprofit professional membership organization for the field of theatre and performance in higher education. The group serves as a hub for producing new knowledge about theatre and performance-related disciplines.
The Governing Council aims to advance ATHE’s growth by working with committees and task forces and reflecting the diversity of the membership they serve. As a Vice-President for the nonprofit board, Snyder-Young will aim to reach these goals while leading the development of ATHE’s 2023 National Conference. She will also work with consulting firm Hyphens and Spaces, an organization dedicated to diversity, equity, and inclusion, alongside colleagues.
Together they will help plan and implement the institutionalization of equality and anti-racist principles at every level of the organization. “There is much discussion of equity, diversity, and inclusion in the theatre industry and higher education, and yet many of our programs and stages continue to be whiter than we would like them to be,” states Snyder-Young. “Our conferences draw us together to grapple with the nuance and complexity of the intractable problems we must solve.”
The annual ATHE conference is the nonprofit’s most anticipated event. It is committed to sharing scholarship and artistry with individuals across the world. Over the course of four days, the organization will host more than 200 concurrent sessions, focus groups, committee meetings, and more.
In the wake of the ongoing pandemic concerns, conference organizers decided to host this year’s event virtually and shorten the event to three days. However, several informal social events and a chat function will enable individuals to feel connected to other attendants through the screen. “We have learned a great deal about the ways virtual conferences can offer accessible opportunities to welcome scholars and artists into our community who might not have the resources to join us in person,” explains Snyder-Young. “I am excited to help figure out how to continue to expand and diversify our community in these ways.”
Looking toward the future, Snyder-Young is excited to begin planning the ATHE 2023 Conference stating, “We come to live conferences to share scholarship, artistic methods, and teaching tricks; we also come to catch up with beloved friends and make new ones, have mind-blowing conversations about theatre with brilliant people. My favorite ATHE conferences have offered opportunities to foster new connections and be inspired by local artistic work, and I want to build such opportunities.”
In addition to her ATHE Vice-President responsibilities, Synder-Young will be teaching Activism & Performance and From Script to Stage in the Fall 2021 semester.