Program Committee Annual Report 2020

submitted by Kristina Shanton

Current Roster

  • Kristina Shanton, Chair (2022)
  • Erin Conor, Member (2021)
  • Carolyn Dow (2021)
  • Lindsay Hansen Brown, 1 year TLA rep
  • Peter Shirts, Member (2023)
  • Rachel Smiley, Member (2024)
  • Scott Stone, 1 year TLA rep
  • Bonnie Finn, MLStEP member
  • Jonathan Sauceda, Board liaison
  • Andrew Justice, member ex officio
  • Kevin Kishimoto, MOUG rep.

List of Previous Goals and Progress Made

After the successful Norfolk 2020 meeting, the Program Committee began its work for the 2021 meeting, which is a joint meeting between MLA and TLA (Theatre Library Association). Despite COVID-19 looming over us, many of the previous goals were kept in mind when creating the CFP for the meeting: transparency regarding evaluative criteria, a CFP that allowed for submissions from outside the MLA community. The CFP submission form also allowed for individuals to request that they would present via videoconferencing. The committee evaluations proceeded as a blind-review, and programs were selected. Those who submitted proposals were notified by the end of June, a time by which it became clear that the 2021 meeting was almost certainly to be an online meeting.

List of Future Goals

  • Flexible and Inclusive Programming
    • With the uncertainty of the future impact of COVID-19 on future meetings, including the willingness and ability of people to travel, one goal would be to continue to maintain a flexible approach towards presentation proposals and presenters, whether in person or virtually.  Continuance of the blind-review process, CFP open for non-MLA members, transparent evaluative criteria, will help with this.
  • Community Choice Programming
    • An aspect of the program that debuted at the 2020 meeting was the Community Choice presentation block; this requires a second CFP in the early Fall, with voting from the MLA community. This did not happen for the 2021 meeting, despite original intent to include it, due to work of re-imagining an online conference structure once the Board approved an online meeting. As Program Committees have a blueprint for online meetings, however, it should be brought back as a feature for the 2022 meeting and beyond.