Sharing Stories: The Case for Art 2021

Dates or Deadline: 
12 May 2021 to 30 June 2021
Organized by: 
Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities (a2ru)

Over the last twelve months, we have seen a range of sources acknowledge the powerful importance of the arts, particularly in the Covid era. As arts practitioners and leaders, we embrace our role in this unprecedented moment, even as we continue to rethink our disciplines, how our methods have changed during this time, and what the future of the arts might look like.

The Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities (a2ru) will use this year’s online conference to meet this unique moment in a uniquely artful way. We will engage and explore how we can best deploy what we hope has not changed—our passion for the arts, for arts education, and for arts integration—through storytelling, rather than traditional conference presentations. We invite participants to connect their research and/or practice with their preferred storytelling method and explain how the arts, arts education, arts advocacy, and/or arts integration are important, particularly in this moment. We especially welcome STEMM researchers and practitioners who can use storytelling to demonstrate the power of arts integration in their field.

a2ru also acknowledges that not all forms of art are viewed equally. In addition to proposals that make the case for the importance of art in the Covid era, we welcome proposals that advocate for a re-examination of which arts, as well as which artists, are viewed as important in the field overall.



Storytellers will present their case for the importance of the arts in a short—approximately five minute—creative nonfiction story format. Live stories should be told, and not read. Storytelling can also take any number of creative forms: acting, film, painting, sand animation, sculpting, song, spoken word poetry, etc.

We also encourage performances, such as dance, music, puppetry, etc. Performers may submit a narrative to accompany their performance, but this is not necessary.

Group narratives are welcome. Additional time will be allotted as needed.

Regardless of format choice, all submissions are subject to the criteria listed below.


Submissions should clearly answer one or more of the following questions:

1) Why do you think the arts, arts education and/or arts integration are important in our current moment, and by extension, why should your audience think this is important?

2) How should arts educators and researchers use the current moment to re-examine which arts and artists are valued?

Successful proposals will succinctly articulate:

1) What the storyteller will be advocating for.

2) The importance of what the storyteller is advocating for.

3) Future steps, whether these be a call to action or an articulation of steps the storyteller, their organization, or their department have already begun to take.

We will prioritize proposals that have an interdisciplinary focus, and we stress that this call is open to the full range of disciplines, including but not limited to: art, design, engineering, humanities, medicine, public health, and the sciences. a2ru also encourages proposals that include empirical and/or qualitative evidence. Finally, as we recognize the unique way that artistic practice contributes to knowledge, and because this year’s conference format calls for a shift away from our “default settings,” we encourage submissions that are not only about the arts, but are themselves instantiated through the arts.

Individual Storytellers Submit HERE

Group Storytellers Submit HERE