2023 ASN Annual Conference: Birmingham, Alabama

October 24-26, 2023

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 Teaching Anti-Racism & Equity Through the Arts

As a founding member institution and site of one of its first conferences, the Alabama School of Fine Arts (ASFA) and City of Birmingham welcome the return of the ASN Annual Conference.  Birmingham’s historical connection to the Civil Rights Movement, the role of the arts and arts education in the city’s revitalization, and ASFA’s location and mission at the intersection of these is an irresistible and urgent moment.  The city has recreated itself and matured into a community that acknowledges and embraces the impact of its past, both negative and positive, and in 2023 will commemorate the 60th anniversary of 1963’s world-changing events and has proclaimed October as social justice month. In partnership with the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, 16th Street Baptist Church, Birmingham Museum of Art, Equal Justice Initiative Museum and Memorial, and Sidewalk Film Center + Cinema this year’s conference celebrates the challenges and opportunities we share to do better, be better, and lead the way in education towards antiracism and equity.
Arts schools have long acknowledged that we are in a unique position to lead the way in education towards anti-racism and equity.  In 2023, we must ask ourselves: How are we doing?  Then we must answer truthfully with confidence that—to paraphrase journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones—if arts schools are truly great, the truth cannot destroy us.  The young artists we educate have immense power to affect change because arts education empowers them uniquely to internalize critical reflection skills that look inwardly at improving self and outwardly at improving society. Paul Robeson called artists “the gatekeepers of truth...civilization’s radical voice.”  We must not take our shared responsibility lightly.
After decades of real and perceived progress since the Civil Rights Movement, the equity achievable through anti-racism remains unrealized.  While anti-racism is sometimes realized in individuals and interpersonal dynamics, institutions, structures, and systems struggle to embody transformation.  We wrestle with turning concepts into actions and outcomes and moving beyond bold decisions and changing practices to radical choices and redesigning systems.  Ibram Kendi explains that “to be anti-racist...requires a radical reorientation of our consciousness.”  While we are joyous when we achieve wide-spread, shared reorientation in our collective thinking, practices, and creative environments, arts schools and organizations must strive to always share this consciousness in everything we do, in everything we are.
This year’s conference will provide opportunities to come together and candidly acknowledge these struggles, explore our successes and failures, to share and learn from our experiences, and better equip us all to reorient our consciousness.

 Click above to hear from Dr. Tim Mitchell, Dr. Brad Hill, and others from the Alabama School of Fine Arts team as they discuss details of the 2023 ASN Annual Conference. This is a recording of the April 25th E-Learning Series.

You will find a 3-minute registration tutorial HERE!

 Need a draft letter for district leadership about benefits of attending? Here you go!


Early Bird conference registration NOW OPEN (until September 8th)!

Don't miss out on fantastic savings!

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