What Should I Talk About?

Now that I am back living in the lower 48, I have begun thinking a little more seriously about possibly presenting at some of the national or regional conferences. I had actually thought about it a bit when I was in Hawaii, but distance limited my opportunity to attend many conferences and hampered collaboration opportunities.

That gave me the idea to ask my readers–what do you think I should do a session on? This is actually a double duty question because I am also essentially asking what topic would you want me to write blog entries on to.

I understand that many people can’t attend conferences so I would ultimately be planning on posting whatever I talked about on the blog. And readers might see bits and pieces of what I was working on emerge on the blog as my research brought me in contact with new information.

Rather than to ask what topics I should blog about, I wanted to frame in the context of what do you want to know about so badly that you would seriously consider undertaking the expense of travel, hotel, food, etc to attend a conference where someone was talking about it?

I also suspect I take for granted people’s familiarity with many topics I come across in my daily reading. The reality might be that people are desperate for information. So even if I didn’t do a conference session on it, your feedback will help determine topics I blog about in the future.

Just as examples of conferences sessions to get you started, Arts Presenters is looking for session proposals on Catalyzing Communities around the arts, Making the Case for the Arts and The Art of Transition. That last one seems like it could encompass everything from leadership transition to changing your organizational approach to programming and marketing.

I just found out that I probably will be attending APAP conference this year. Though I am not sure I would get a proposal together by the deadline next Thursday so I am not necessarily looking for a topic that would fit that conference.

I figure I can either lead or contribute to a conversation about:

-contract negotiations, submitting offers, reading contract riders
-closely partnering with multiple arts presenters to organize a tour as a consortium
-partnering with artists to create performance works reflecting stories/values of indigenous cultures

Of course, I can talk about many other topics like marketing, social media, presenting in higher education environments (and bureaucracies) but I feel like a lot of other conference presenters can and have done so before. Though I am certainly happy to produce blog posts on these topics

I feel what I have listed are areas in which I have more specialized knowledge than many others. It is also likely that I am forgetting some too. If there is a subject area which you have come to value my expertise, let me know.


About Joe Patti

I have been writing Butts in the Seats (BitS) on topics of arts and cultural administration since 2004 (yikes!). Given the ever evolving concerns facing the sector, I have yet to exhaust the available subject matter. In addition to BitS, I am a founding contributor to the ArtsHacker (artshacker.com) website where I focus on topics related to boards, law, governance, policy and practice.

I am also an evangelist for the effort to Build Public Will For Arts and Culture being helmed by Arts Midwest and the Metropolitan Group. (http://www.creatingconnection.org/about/)

My most recent role was as Executive Director of the Grand Opera House in Macon, GA.

Among the things I am most proud are having produced an opera in the Hawaiian language and a dance drama about Hawaii's snow goddess Poli'ahu while working as a Theater Manager in Hawaii. Though there are many more highlights than there is space here to list.


4 thoughts on “What Should I Talk About?”

  1. I am attending Bellarmine University this fall as a freshman and am the only student as an Arts Administration Undergrad with music being my emphasis. What should I expect in my Arts Admin classes? Besides the fact that I’ll be alone and don’t get a studio until spring semester haha!

    • Ha! Good question. You should expect your faculty to invite me to talk since I am only 3 hours away! But seriously, looking at the suggested curriculum on the university website, I already have the beginnings of an idea of what to answer. Look for an entry in the next week or so. Thanks!

      • Looking forward to the entry! Once I start my Arts Admin. classes second semester, I’ll mention you! I love your blog!

  2. I’m very interested in how small arts organizations effectively serve their community, particularly in long term collaborations. While I focus on the symphonic and choral space, I’m sure a lot of the wisdom on the topic can be applied broadly.


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