Update: Conference Fee / Membership Adjustments
Friday, July 3, 2020
On July 3, ATHE announced adjustments to conference registration fees and member dues. President Josh Abrams sent the following notice.
Dear ATHE Community,
I want to start by thanking those of you who have registered for the conference (260 so far) and renewed your memberships (615). We know this is a very difficult year for everyone and we understand the particular challenges of precarity in these times. As an organization, ATHE is struggling to figure out how best to support our members through these moments. The Governing Council made the decision to shift to a virtual conference in order to support members’ progression in response to members’ requests. Individual focus groups also have been continuing incredible work both in conjunction with ATHE and in stand-alone pre-conference events.
However, our ongoing costs of operation (things that we can’t simply stop doing because of the financial challenges) and the cost of the virtual conference mean that we run a serious risk of insolvency if we are not able to maintain both membership and conference registration, our only source of income.
We know that our members have financial challenges too. We are now offering an option for free registration to those members who are experiencing economic challenges. We have also partnered with the Black Theatre Network, so that BTN members can access member rates (including the free registration possibility). We are also planning to livestream our four plenary sessions from the conference publicly on You Tube for those who cannot attend the full conference. We also have reduced the non-member registration rate to $100.
We recognize that none of this is a full solution and that membership costs still present a serious challenge for many people. Following consultation over the past three years, we shifted this year to an income-based membership model, which starts at $75. At that level, ATHE is subsidizing individual membership, but we recognize that in these challenging times, that may be the most appropriate level for many of our more members in more precarious positions.
Following discussion with members, the Governing Council has decided to add another opportunity for membership: an installment option to pay your membership over time. We recognize that this is not the same as free membership, but unfortunately, we are not in a financial position to be able to offer that as an option if ATHE is to continue to support the field and our members going forward. I deeply regret that there are many people who would truly benefit from an ATHE membership who will not be able to afford it this year, and I hope that as situations change, those members who are forced to step back for financial reasons will be able to return within the next few years.
Our organization is built on supporting our members as much as possible. This fall, we are offering a year-long webinar series, aimed at members’ various concerns: working drafting new tenure and promotion guidelines with a particular focus on issues of equity, as well as the ongoing impact of COVID on our field, among other key initiatives.
We working towards a more positive future, and I hope that you’ll be a part of it with ATHE