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Association for Theatre in Higher Education Annual Proposal Submission Links and Guidelines

The deadline for proposals has passed.

Spectacle: balancing education, theory, and praxis #ATHE2017OfBreadAndCircuses

In Poetics, Aristotle ranks spectacle last among his six constituent elements of drama, privileging the poetic over the visual, claiming that spectacle “stirs the emotions” yet “is less a matter of art than the others.” (GRUBE) In the millennia since, countless artists and scholars have championed the aesthetics of theatre and stood in defense of spectacle. Nevertheless, a bias persists.

The 2017 ATHE Conference Committee invites you to join us in Las Vegas, Nevada for an examination of the role of spectacle in theatre practice, scholarship, and pedagogy. What opportunities do an emphasis on spectacle present to us as artists, scholars, theorists, and educators? Does a spectacle-driven theatre lead us away from Aristotle’s aims, or do we find that enhanced spectacle serves to support and strengthen plot, character, thought, diction, and music? How have certain bodies been made spectacular? How does the use of spectacle highlight or obscure the politics of performance, representation, and staging? What ethical and political responsibilities must artists, scholars, and activists negotiate when employing spectacle in performance, design, scholarship, and/or dramaturgy? For full information, visit our Theme page.

Proposal Application Guidelines

The Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) welcomes your proposal for our 2017 Annual Conference. Please complete one (1) Proposal Form for each proposed session. Please note that you must apply using this form by November 1, 2017, for proposals of any of the following:

  • Single Focus Group Concurrent Sessions
  • Multidisciplinary Concurrent Sessions (sessions for which you have secured two sponsoring focus groups)
  • ANY Preconference events for which you either A) seek space at the official conference hotel OR B) are applying for grant funds on through ATHE’s grant proposal process (for which the deadline is ALSO November 1, 2017)
  • Meetings of ATHE committees that require meetings at the conference
  • Focus Group Business Meetings
  • Committee Meetings

THE ATHE 2017 Conference will offer concurrent sessions, workshops, performances and keynote opportunities. All proposals will be ranked and proposals will be reviewed by the focus groups and/or committees you have indicated as sponsors. ANY session for which you are hoping to have a room or any other physical space scheduled for ATHE 2017 MUST be proposed through this form. Do not assume that ANY session will be automatically scheduled if you do not submit a proposal, EVEN in the cases of membership meetings, committee meetings, etc. More below.

If you have questions regarding your proposal please contact your Focus Group Conference Planner. A listing of Focus Group Conference Planners can be found here. It is important that they know what proposals are coming their way, so we encourage you to contact them prior to submitting your proposal.

Presenter Expectations

  • All individuals presenting must register for the full conference. If you are NOT a member of ATHE you will be required to join in order to present.
  • All individual presenting are responsible for booking the own travel and hotel room reservations. It is recommended that you stay at the ATHE Conference Hotel.
  • All individuals presenting should plan to be present for the entire conference in Las Vegas from Thursday, August 3rd – Sunday, August 6, 2017.

How Proposals for Single Focus Group Sessions and Multidisciplinary Sessions Are Submitted, Evaluated, and Selected

ATHE accepts multiple kinds of session proposals. Please note all individuals presenting must register for the conference and are responsible for their hotel and travel expenses. If you are NOT a member of ATHE you will be required to join in order to present. How those proposals are evaluated depends on which kind of proposal you are making. The two most common ways people present at ATHE are as follows: Single Focus Group Sessions and Multidisciplinary Sessions. Both of these kinds of sessions are 90 minutes. Please note that single focus group sessions INCLUDE business/membership meetings for each focus group. Each focus group’s leadership must select someone to submit a proposal for your membership meeting. These business/membership meetings are automatically accepted and do not count against Focus Groups in terms of scheduling.

Participants will only be able to present in total of (2) ATHE concurrent sessions, in an effort to avoid scheduling conflicts and afford more individuals the opportunity to present.

Presenters should plan to stay for the duration of the conference.

Proposals for these sessions are submitted to ATHE’s central office (online at the provided links), but they are not evaluated by ATHE staff or by a particular year’s all-conference committee. Rather, ATHE is divided into a range of focus groups with their own membership and leadership, and when you submit your proposal, you indicate sponsors for that session proposal.

If you are not familiar with ATHE’s Focus Groups, please click one of the links below

Focus Groups A - D
Focus Groups L - S
Focus Groups T - Z

If you are submitting a proposal for a Single Focus Group session, your sponsoring group would be one specific focus group (for example: the focus group Women & Theatre). If you are submitting a multidisciplinary proposal (MD), your proposal would have two primary sponsoring groups (for example: Directing Program and Black Theatre Association)

What needs to happen for me to be able to say a group is sponsoring my group’s proposal? Do I just choose sponsoring groups myself based on my sense of the groups for whom my proposal would be most relevant? No. In order to list a Focus Group as a sponsor, you must contact that focus group’s Conference Planner PRIOR TO the November 1 deadline and explain the session you would like to propose and ask the conference planner if the focus group is willing to be a sponsor of that session. You should not indicate a focus group as a sponsor if the focus group has not agreed to sponsor that session. For multidisciplinary sessions, you contact both sponsoring groups to ask that they agree to sponsor the proposal.

After you submit your proposal, ATHE’s central office sends each focus group the proposals that have been submitted with that group listed as a sponsor. Then each individual focus group convenes its own process for proposal vetting. In other words, the focus group leadership oversees a process through which members of that focus group read the proposals submitted to them, and they rank the proposals in order of desired acceptance and then send those rankings back to ATHE. Then ATHE staff uses those rankings to begin scheduling the conference, trying to schedule as many of each focus group’s sessions as possible, starting with the highest ranked sessions and then moving to mid-ranked sessions. Obviously the goal is to accept as many excellent sessions as we can, depending on hotel space and other factors. In the case of multidisciplinary (MD) session proposals, the proposal is sent to BOTH of the groups listed as primary sponsoring groups for ranking, and both rankings are taken into account as the staff works to schedule as many sessions as possible.

After the focus group ranking process has been completed and the staff has the opportunity to complete a draft schedule in consultation with that year’s VP for Conference, those who have applied to present will be notified about the status of their proposal and whether ATHE is able to accept it.

In addition, the rank of the proposal does not necessarily determine the specific time slot in which it will be scheduled. In the past, some people have asked: will our top ranked proposals receive the time slots perceived by some as most desirable on the conference schedule? Not necessarily, for several reasons: A) What is considered a most desirable presentation time differs widely, so we couldn’t begin to predict that and schedule accordingly, especially with a conference schedule as complicated as ATHE’s. B) There are many other factors considered as time slots for each session are scheduled, including AV capabilities in each presentation room, conflicts of various kinds, etc.

Ultimately, the decisions for acceptance and rejection of concurrent sessions lie primarily with ATHE’s focus groups, with ATHE staff and the VP for Conference making discretionary calls where needed in terms of how many total concurrent sessions to schedule, timing of slots, how many total MD sessions to schedule, AV complexities relevant to specific conference spaces, how to handle years in which some focus groups have an intensely disproportionate number of proposals submitted, etc. In almost all cases, questions about ranking of a proposal (and therefore its acceptance or rejection) are best referred to focus group leadership rather than the central conference chair, though the central conference chair can answer questions about overall approach or philosophy about that year’s specific conference schedule.

Again, all individuals presenting must register for the conference and are responsible for their hotel and travel expenses. If you are NOT a member of ATHE you will be required to join in order to present.

Additional questions can be directed to Alicia Tafoya, ATHE VP of Conference at:

More Info on Other Kinds of Proposals Due November 1, 2016: Committee Meetings, Preconference Events, and All Grants

In addition to single-focus group and multidisciplinary session proposals, proposals for committee meetings and preconference events are due on November 1.

Committee meetings are typically meetings of standing committees chaired by members of ATHE Governing Council: Research & Publications, Professional Development, Membership & Marketing, etc. The chairs of those committees must apply for spaces for committee meetings through this form. Because those meetings are required for ATHE governance, they will definitely be scheduled rather than ranked and vetted, but we must receive the meeting request this way so that we can keep track of all requests for conference space in the same place. When you are asked to indicate the sponsoring group for these meetings, you simply select the name of your standing committee in the pull-down menu.

Preconference events are planned by specific focus groups, or sometimes by more than one focus group in collaboration. These are typically half-day, whole-day or multiple-day events hosted by specific groups in the days leading up to the conference. The earliest pre-conferences can typically begin is the Tuesday prior to the opening of the conference (so two days before the whole conference begins). If your focus group wants to plan a preconference, you need to submit a proposal through this form. That said, the process after submission works differently from the process for concurrent sessions during the conference.

A preconference proposal is not ranked alongside other sessions for the conference itself. Instead, upon receipt of a preconference proposal, ATHE staffs do the following: A) They let the sponsoring group(s) know that such a proposal was made, to make sure that the person applying for a preconference event is in conversation with focus group leadership. B) They review space needs and other requests relevant to your proposal to let you know what ATHE will be able to support or will not be able to support relevant to your proposal. ATHE cannot guarantee that we will be able to meet all space requests relevant to preconferences, as it is impossible to predict how many preconference proposals we will receive on a given year or how their specific needs will match with the capabilities of that year’s conference hotel. C) They use the proposal as a record of an event that will need to be reflected in the electronic and paper versions of the conference program. D) They share those preconference proposals with the overall conference chair (VP for Conference), who refers to those proposals as they oversee the grant process, which includes preconference grants.

Even if you DO NOT plan to use a space at the official ATHE conference hotel, you should still submit an application for your preconference through the website by November 1, for the reasons besides space listed above.

Please note that--unlike for a concurrent session proposal--you DO NOT need to have all details (individual session presenters, etc) of the specific sessions of your preconference events determined in order to make a proposal through this form by November 1. Rather, through this form, you typically need to report a title and preliminary description, the desire to hold a preconference, the times and space needs, and some other key details. If your preconference is approved for space usage by ATHE, you will have additional communication with ATHE staff throughout the year, and that communication will allow you to convey additional details for the final program.

Grants are awarded by ATHE as a central organization in three categories related to each annual meeting: Session Grants, Debut Panel Grants, and Preconference Grants. All grant applications for the next year’s conference must be received by ATHE by November 1. The grant form and more information is available here.

The grant proposal vetting process is overseen by that year’s VP for Conference, with grant decisions conveyed and disbursement details handled by ATHE staff. The more complete and specific the grant applications are, the more likely the proposal will result in at least a partial (or sometimes complete) award. As you apply for these grants, please note that rarely are ATHE grants able to cover entire events, especially in the case of a preconference application. Though the maximum amounts we are able to award vary a bit from year to year, to be realistic, think in the realm of a few hundred dollars (or fewer) for your application rather than a few thousand. In the case of a preconference, for example, typically any funds awarded by ATHE simply supplement the primary funding base for your preconference: the registration fee you will charge for that preconference, which is a separate event from the general ATHE conference in terms of registration fees. If you have questions about the grant application p

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