U of A Hosting National Conference Focused on Advocacy and Activism July 18-21

Jun 19, 2019 | Curriculum and Instruction

The University of Arkansas is hosting approximately 250 English language arts teacher educators — and those interested in the field — from across the country next month for a conference focused on advocacy and activism.

The 2019 English Language Arts Teacher Educators (ELATE) Conference will be July 18-21 on the U of A campus.

Chris Goering, a U of A professor and chair of the English Language Arts Teacher Educators, highlighted four events:

  • LatinX Theatre Project

    LatinX Theatre Project to perform on July 18

    A performance by the LatinX Theatre Company will be held on July 18 at 7:15 p.m. LatinX is developing a national reputation and a documentary film is currently being produced about the company. Led by Artistic Director Ashley Edwards, Producer David Jolliffe, and Program Director Rebecca Rivas, the LatinX Theatre Project is currently enjoying a two-year residency with TheatreSquared, Northwest Arkansas’ only resident professional theatre company.
  • Invited panelists from around the country will share a conversation on Friday morning from 9-10 in Old Main regarding advocacy and activism in multiple contexts. Cathy Fleischer, Ebony Elizabeth Thomas, Ryan Schey, Danielle Filipiak, and Tara Star Johnson will discuss advocacy and activism in their unique contexts, ranging from working with legislators to engaging youth in research about their own contexts.
  • Lauren Hogg, a survivor of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in 2018, will speak at 4:15 on Friday, July 19th. At 15 years old, she has been vaulted into the heated gun debate, one that has sparked many discussions in Northwest Arkansas. She and her brother David have written a book, #NeverAgain: A New Generation Draws the Line, about their statement of purpose as advocates.

Lauren Hogg

  • Ebony Elizabeth Thomas, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, is the author of The Dark Fantastic: Race and the Imagination from Harry Potter to the Hunger Games that details the lack of African American characters in young adult film and literature and posits the negative effects of such oversights. Her book, published in late May by New York University Press, sold out in one day.

Ebony Elizabeth Thomas

Ebony Elizabeth Thomas

The full conference will include over 50 breakout sessions and opportunities for attendees to pursue strands of advocacy and activism through working groups.

Several entities around the UA are supporting the conference including the College of Education and Health Professions Dean’s Office, the Graduate School & International Education, the Department of Curriculum & Instruction and the Office of Teacher Education. Several additional faculty members and graduate students from the Department of Curriculum & Instruction and the English Department are accepted presenters and have helped plan the details ranging from meeting folks at the airport to an optional morning yoga class.

“Sean Connors and I started working together on the conference in earnest early last summer as part of a national conference committee; he and so many others have been key to creating what we think will be an excellent experience for attendees but also something that will plant seeds for future advocacy and activism across the profession,” Goering said.

The National Council of Teachers of English, the group behind the conference, is devoted to improving the teaching and learning of English and the language arts at all levels of education. The mission statement is “The Council promotes the development of literacy, the use of language to construct personal and public worlds and to achieve full participation in society, through the learning and teaching of English and the related arts and sciences of language.”

“Arkansas isn’t one of the first places people think of when looking to attend national conferences,” Goering noted. “Not that this place isn’t wonderful, it’s just a little more difficult to get to than other typical national conference destinations. For example, in the 110 year history of NCTE, there’s never been a national level meeting in the state of Arkansas. I’m proud of our state and of Fayetteville; I’m proud of the University of Arkansas and look forward to sharing the best attributes of the area with people from around the country.”

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