In December of 2016, leaders from the nation’s Major University Presenters gathered at the Lied Center for Performing Arts on the University of Nebraska—Lincoln campus to engage in a three-day conversation on the topic of diversity, equity and inclusion on college campuses. The primary goals of the symposium were four-fold:
- To share or generate programming ideas that promote social justice issues and lift up diverse cultural narratives.
- Explore paths and partnerships that place the arts and arts presenters in essential leadership roles in diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives on campuses and in communities.
- Identify issues that require concentrated, extended, and continuous discourse, that may also become research topics.
- Draft action steps for MUPs members to adopt that ensure forward momentum of the Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Initiative across the nation.
Questions that guided the conversations during the symposium included:
- What trends are taking place regarding equity, diversity and inclusivity on campuses?
- How can the arts play a role in creating a more inclusive environment?
- How might arts presenters be leaders in advancing this conversation on campuses?
Following three days of presentations that included research findings, programmatic approaches, campus-wide initiatives, artist performances, discussion, and break-out groups the MUPs returned to their home institutions having affirmed a shared responsibility, and a commitment to ongoing dialogue between institutions.
As a key result of this Symposium, the Major University Presenters Consortium has launched a five year multi-campus initiative to:
- Reinforce and expand the vital role of Performing Arts Centers/Programs in the campus dialogue on diversity, equity and inclusion.
- Support impacts of national significance through the collective action of several campuses acting together.
- Document, write case studies and conduct research on methods of engagement and resulting impacts. As appropriate, broadly disseminate to a wider public
- Aspire for the performing arts center/program to be the most inclusive place on campus:
- Build relationships and partnerships with local, regional and national service organizations, foundations, public agencies and other groups working to improve diversity, equity and inclusion.
To read a more detailed summary of the Symposium click here:
Video documentation of Symposium presentations can be viewed by clicking the links below:
Bill Stephan, Executive Director, Lied Center for Performing Arts at The University of Nebraska
"We have an opportunity and responsibility to be part of the national conversation on diversity and inclusion.
This symposium is an important step."