UK Arts Administration to host Social Theory, Politics, and the Arts Conference

The University of Kentucky Department of Arts Administration will host the Social Theory, Politics, and the Arts (STPA) Conference, Sept. 21-23, in Lexington.
Story originally appeared in UKNow, September 18, 2023.

The University of Kentucky Department of Arts Administration will host the Social Theory, Politics, and the Arts (STPA) Conference, Sept. 21-23, in Lexington. The conference will kick off on Wednesday, Sept. 20, with the inaugural symposium of the Women’s Perspectives in Arts Administration (WPAA). The theme of the symposium is “Past, Present, and Future Scholarship.”  

Registration for the symposium and the conference are both open through Sept. 20. 

Presenters at the WPAA symposium include UK professor emeritus Geraldine Maschio, who founded the UK Arts Administration Program in 1987. Maschio will join Karen Chandler and Margaret Wyszomirski to kick off the symposium with a discussion of the historical development of arts administration scholarship. The daylong symposium concludes with a panel of UK arts administration graduate students discussing the future of arts administration scholarship. 

Destyni Green, an online M.A. in Arts Administration graduate based in Cleveland, Ohio, and student board member of the Association of Arts Administration Educators, helped organize the WPAA conference along with Rachel Shane, the Gary B. Knapp Endowed Chair in Arts Administration, and Jaleesa Wells, assistant professor of arts administration.  

“WPAA is a first-of-its-kind symposium that brings together women-identifying scholars from different generations of art administration to celebrate our contributions to the field. Working with the very women who have created the first scholarly programs and helped pave the way for the field we have today has been a truly amazing experience.

“I became interested in helping organize it after speaking with Dr. Jaleesa Wells, my academic advisor at the time, who suggested it after I expressed my ever growing need to participate in academia meaningfully. Once she told me about the symposium, I knew I had to get involved,” Green said.  

Social Theory, Politics and the Arts is an interdisciplinary gathering of researchers, policy makers, practitioners and students that explores key trends, practices and policy issues affecting the arts around the world. Conference participants are drawn from a broad range in discipline including, but not limited to, political science, sociology, economics, law, management, arts education, art history, museum studies, cultural studies, education, and policy studies, as well as arts managers and artists. 

This is the second time UK has hosted the conference, the first in 2011. UK’s own Yuha Jung, associate professor and director of graduate studies of arts administration, and Shane both serve on the STP&A board. Shane is honored to host once again. 

“Hosting STP&A at the University of Kentucky for the second time is a significant milestone in our enduring commitment to arts and culture. We are thrilled to welcome over 100 international scholars who share our fervor for arts management and cultural policy, coming together to explore a global conversation on the arts.”  

“What truly makes this occasion remarkable for me as the chair is witnessing 10 of our accomplished graduate students from the Department of Arts Administration accepted as presenters,” Shane added. “This gathering isn't just about academia; it's a vibrant celebration of the arts. It's a harmonious convergence where the voices of the future harmonize with the wisdom of seasoned scholars. Through shared experiences and dialogues, we are collectively shaping the cultural landscape, fostering innovation, and nurturing a profound understanding of the value of the arts.” 

Students from the program presenting their research include: 

  • EveMarie Bessenbach, "The Dying Swan: How to Predict the Survival Rate & Longevity of Small Dance Companies in the United States" 

  • Heather McDonald, “Music for the People: Comparing Public Funding Models for Popular Music in Glasgow, Atlanta, and Toronto"

  • Kaitlyn Hardiman, “Exploring the relationship between Civic Engagement and Fundraising practices in Nonprofit ballet organizations” 

  • Josh Austin, “Cross-Cultural and Cross-Theoretical Explorations in Arts Emergency Management” and “Reaching Dynamic Equilibrium: Evaluating Indicators of Resilience for Arts & Culture Organizations” 

  • Travis Newton, “Defining and Evaluating Community Engagement: A Cross-Sectoral Literature Review” 

  • Rebecca Ferrell, “A Hyphenated Career: Sustainable Pathways for Dancers” 

The STP&A conference will include panel discussions, workshops and interactive plenary sessions. In addition to the many UK student and faculty presenters, speakers hail from Ohio State University, Toronto Metropolitan University, Hongik University, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and more. Participants will get to know Lexington through tours of 21C Museum Hotel and Lexington distilleries. 

Registration for the WPAA symposium is free. Registration for the STP&A conference is $599, including STP&A membership, and $360 for students. 

Created 09/19/2023
Last Updated 09/19/2023