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It is with deep sadness VASTA's Board of Directors has voted to postpone the 2020 VASTA conference in Sydney.



A message from VASTA Board President, Michael J. Barnes:


20 March 2020
Greetings VASTA members:

Though I am writing this only seven days after my last letter, in light of global changes, it seems ages ago. The speed at which we are learning of COVID-19 Coronavirus’s impact can take one aback. The importance of taking care of ourselves, our loved ones, and our communities has become paramount.  


After conversations with our Sydney conference host school, NIDA, the Board of Directors has made the difficult decision that there will be no annual conference this year. Although we are saddened to make the decision, it is clear that it is the most responsible action in protecting the health of our members.  


Our hope is to come together for our very next conference in Sydney, ideally in July 2021, one year later than planned. 


For those who have already registered for the conference, you will receive a full refund within 48 hours. Please contact Nancy Bos, our Director of Operations, if you have any questions. For those who have booked travel and need a letter documenting the cancellation in order to receive reimbursement, please contact Nancy for that as well.


I want to recognize and thank the Conference Directors for Sydney 2020:  Amy Hume, Jennifer Innes, and Katerina Moraitis. The conference was to be an exciting mix of featured presentations, member presentations, and guest performances. Our hope is to carry over all of these arrangements to next year - that those people who were accepted to present in July 2020 will be available to present when we reschedule We will be in touch with presenters when we have a firm plan to see who is willing and able to be involved and how many spots will be left to fill.


In other news, according to the VASTA Bylaws, we must hold an annual meeting of the membership. As this has normally been held at the conference, our plan is to have a web meeting somewhere near the end of July or beginning of August.  Our Zoom account can easily involve 100 members; in order to involve as many people as possible, we will likely send out an announcement asking members to RSVP so we can increase capacity if needed. 


For those members who were accepted to present at the ATHE Convention in Detroit, I can offer no new information.  As of now, that convention is still planned to proceed as scheduled. Any change in that will come from the ATHE leadership. 


On behalf of the Board, I send all of you my greatest wishes to stay healthy—both physically and mentally—during this challenging time.  I am quickly recognizing that, for me, self-isolation is not easy. Be certain to take care of yourselves and your loved ones.  


Lastly, as always, please get in touch with me if you have any thoughts or suggestions for the organization. I can be reached at mbarnes@vasta.org or president@vasta.org. No, really, I mean it - PLEASE be in touch with me - call, send a messenger pigeon - anything!!! :-) <3


Breathe and be in health, 

Michael J Barnes

President, 2018-2020

VASTA hosts an annual four to five day conference during the summer of every year--traditionally sometime around the end of July or beginning of August.  Frequently, this conference either immediately precedes or immediately follows the Association for Theatre's in Higher Education's annual conference. 


Featured Presentations

Each year the VASTA Board of Directors and Director of Annual Conferences identify a select group of professionals that have influenced the field of voice and speech and/or specifically address the conference theme. They are then invited to present at our annual conference. These presenters may be drawn from our membership or may join the conference from outside the VASTA membership and are welcomed to share their research and experience.  These featured presentations are offered to the full conference attendees. 

Invited Presentations

VASTA honors the wide array of talent possessed by its membership. Each year, VASTA invites members with theme-related skill sets and topics to join the conference workshop schedule. Invitations do most often reflect theme, yet some invitations are made based on membership demand and interest. A board member or the conference director will directly contact active members with relevant topics.
 

Member Presentations

VASTA also provides a way for members to submit independent ideas for workshops, panels, and papers. The Director of Annual Conferences and Workshop Coordinator read all proposals submitted through our online form. Presentations are selected based on submission criteria, theme, membership desire, and innovation.  Once selected, presenters are scheduled with a time in the conference. This celebration of our member’s talent, research, and skill is one of the most important elements of our annual conference.  It is these member presentations that create a collegial environment of learning and conversation.