2021 Student Respondent Blog Post: Mia Strickland

by Lee Ann Adams

The AAAE Student Committee crafted multiple points of student engagement throughout the 2021 Virtual Conference based on student interests and feedback. For the first time ever, we invited our Student Members to serve as Student Respondents at conference sessions related to their own personal research or interests to ignite deeper conversation and dialogue among practitioners, educators and students. In this series of blog posts, we’ll hear from some of our 2021 Student Respondents on their experience at the 2021 Virtual Conference: REIMAGINE/RECONNECT/RENEW

Mia Strickland
Master of Arts – MA, Arts Administration
University of Kentucky
[email protected]

Serving as a Student Respondent for Association of Arts Administration Educators 2021 conference was an incredible experience that allowed me to grow as an arts administrator while offering my own insight and perspective on the sessions. This year’s conference theme of Reimagine/Reconnect/Renew comes at a turbulent time for the arts industry. When considering AAAE’s mission statement (“We envision a world in which arts administrators are effective, responsive and proactive stewards of arts and culture who reflect the communities they serve. Their development as creative professionals is grounded in scholarship and practice.”) this theme feels especially valuable and timely. When first presented with the opportunity, I was unclear as to how I would add value to the assortment of terrific sessions AAAE had lined up for the Reimagine/Reconnect/Renew conference. However, as an Arts Administration student in the University of Kentucky’s MA program, I brought a fresh perspective to the sessions, and the inclusion of Student Respondents such as myself shows the significance that AAAE has placed on not only including the next generation, but setting us up for success.

I was the designated Student Respondent for two sessions of this year’s AAAE virtual conference; one on a topic I had very little prior knowledge of, and another on a topic I feel very passionately about. The first session, “Looking Backward and Forward: Using Critical Reflection and Futures in Arts Management Teaching and Learning,” with Jeff Poulin described the benefits of using our own experiences to shape how we as arts administrators/educators conduct ourselves and mold the future of the industry. By reflecting on our own good and bad experiences, we can create even better arts education experiences for future arts administration students. The second session, “Institutional Sexism and the #MeToo Movement: Highly Adaptive Women Leaders Work for Radical Transformation and Gender Equity in the American Theatre” with Diane Claussen and Paige Whitson-Martini examined the presence of sexism in American Theatre. Hearing from women that are working on changes that will help the next generation was an inspiring experience, and I hope to continue making the arts industry a safer and better place for women using what I learned in this session. I appreciate the space that AAAE has made for both of these important conversations.

The Association of Arts Administration Educators’ efforts to include students in its programming shows its dedication to including a wide range of perspectives, and its commitment to educating and energizing my generation of arts administrators. I feel very fortunate to have been able to learn from and participate in this year’s conference, and look forward to seeing how AAAE will continue to reflect, adapt, and shape the future of our industry.

Mia holds a Bachelor’s degree in Theatre and a minor in Performing Arts Administration from the University of Central Florida. She is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Arts Administration and a certificate in Fundraising and Development through an online program at the University of Kentucky.