The 2011 Continuing the Conversation Finding Voice conference created opportunities for conversations about the ever-evolving arts in education field and ways for those involved in the field to find Voice. Arts learning consultant Eric Booth worked with the Continuing the Conversation team as an advisor throughout the conference visioning process, ultimately leading toward an action-focused agenda designed to stimulate substantive dialogue and promote future work in the field on the conference theme. Participants were asked to embrace a willingness to apply what they learned and discussed during the conference weekend in their hometowns, workplaces, and networks in order to promote the idea of Finding Voice in ways big and small throughout the field. With significant efforts to engage those who were unable attend via online resources and conversations, the conference website and its associated online dialogues reached over 700 different online visitors from 31 states and 14 countries. Steve Seidel kicked off the conversations with provocative questions about “the work of finding voice.” Conference activities additionally engaged nearly 150 in-person attendees at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Participants worked to articulate individual and collective visions for the future, creating a voice of agency for the field of arts in education through three different lenses:
- Personal Voice: What does voice mean to each of us as individuals? What do we need to do to make our voices most effective? How do we share our voices across artistic disciplines, workplaces, and silos that exist within the arts in education field?
- Field-Level Voice: What do we need to say collectively as a community of arts in education professionals? In what ways have some past field-level expressions of collective voice been ineffective, and how can we envision what an articulate, action-focused, and effective field-level voice could be?
- Teacher-Learner Voice: How do we help our learners access voice for themselves? How do we embrace our roles as both teachers and learners, to help each other find and use voice in strong and compelling ways?
- The conference closed with plenary sessions that helped attendees to cultivate their personal, collective, and field-level voices.