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Building Leadership Capacity Through the 2021 AEP Virtual Gathering

Date: 07 September 2021
The photo was taken indoors. A silver laptop takes up most of the photo and is open on a wooden table. The computer screen shows a virtual meeting underway with many meeting attendees represented. To the left of the computer, someone has set a ceramic drinking mug that is painted turquoise. Photo by <a href="https://unsplash.com/@cwmonty?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText">Chris Montgomery</a> on <a href="https://unsplash.com/s/photos/virtual-event?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText">Unsplash</a>

The photo was taken indoors. A silver laptop fills most of the photo and is open on a wooden table. The computer screen shows a virtual meeting underway with many meeting attendees represented. To the left of the computer, someone has set a ceramic drinking mug that is painted turquoise. Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash

AEP’s strategic mission is to build leadership capacity for arts and education leaders, and a key component of this mission is connecting people so they can learn from each other. AEP staff members keep this in mind with all our work, from quarterly partner webinars and new policy products to onboarding conversations with potential partners and affiliates and hosting convenings.

The 2021 AEP Virtual Gathering is part of this work and reflects our commitment to building leadership capacity across the field. When designing the agenda for this event, we wanted to build in time and space for attendees to not only connect with each other but to also learn about work taking place across the country and discover opportunities for collaboration. We focused on this to a small degree in last year’s event. This year, we wanted to expand opportunities and make these offerings easier to schedule. Attendees of the 2021 virtual gathering can choose from three unique session types designed for engagement and networking.

Engage and Connect

Interactive concurrent sessions that include multiple opportunities for attendees to connect with each other. Session hosts will use polling, chat prompts and other interactive elements to go beyond information sharing. The session structure will support attendees to co-create understanding with the session hosts and other participants.

Office Hours

Scheduled sessions that offer attendees blocks of time when they can connect with each other one-on-one. Using a soon-to-be launched event platform, attendees can message fellow registered attendees and request a meeting. Think of these as the equivalent of a quick conversation by the tea station at an in-person event — something we’ve likely missed a lot in the past 18 months! We also scheduled office hours first thing in the morning on Sept. 14 and in the afternoon on Sept. 15. Participants can schedule meeting times outside of these dedicated office hours through the event platform.

World Cafés

Topic-focused, small-group conversations. In the afternoon on Sept. 15, attendees can join one or more conversations on timely topics, including school climate, antiracist education and policy recommendations for advancing arts education. Fellow attendees will lead these conversations that offer the chance to learn more about the work our colleagues from across the country are doing in these areas.

Whether you are joining AEP for the first time or are a long-time attendee of our annual event, we hope that these new sessions will provide you with tools and connections to enhance and expand your work and network.

If you haven’t already registered for the 2021 Virtual Gathering, please join us next week. This event is free to attend and open to all. Our event platform will launch tomorrow, where you will be able to find the most up-to-date information about all things Virtual Gathering. After you register, you’ll have access to the event platform and can explore the Engage and Connect, Office Hours and World Café sessions so that you’re ready to connect with others when this special event kicks off on Sept. 14!