Kristiansand 2019 Report

Prepared by Manon van de Water

After almost two years of set-backs due to various unrelated but unfortunate circumstances, ITYARN has regrouped with strong leadership and active board participation with division of tasks at the first board meeting since May 2017 in Cape Town.

The board meeting was held on Monday, September 2, 2019.  Six current board members and three invited potential board members were present, three of which via skype:

Board members: Manon van de Water, Ha Young Wang, Tom Maguire, Paulo Merisio,

Merete Elnan, Norifumi Hida (skype), Nora Lía Sarmoni (skype)

Invited: Heather Fitzsimmons Frey, Eunice Uwadinma-Idemudia, Kitty Morley (Skype).

The guests expressed their enthusiasm to take an active part in ITYARN and the board swiftly and unanimously invited Eunice, Heather, and Kitty to become full ITYARN board members.

The current chair, Manon van de Water, explained the tasks of ITYARN and the board and which areas in particular needed support. It was decided to divide the most urgent task (2019-2020) and form subgroups for each. Manon van de Water agreed to be chair for one more year, so the current and new board members could gain experience and that new elections for chair would be held in Japan.

Subcommittees are:

  1. ITYARN Conference Japan 2020: Manon vdW, Tom M, Paulo M, Ha Young W, Nori H.
  2. Award 2020: Merete E, Eunice U, Kitty M.
  3. Publications (for 2020 and after); Heather F, Eunice U, Tom M.
  4. Website and social media: Heather F, Eunice U.
  5. Secretary/finances: Manon vdW and Tom M. will look at how we can start to charge a $10 fee for membership to fund ASSITEJ membership and potential scholarships.

Ad 4:  The website has been updated and changed a number of times over the last years. One big advantage of the latest updates was a change in sign up system for members, so we can see who the members are and which institutions and countries are represented. We have currently 104 members from 38 countries.

To date, the listserv to members is underutilized. All ITYARN board members have agreed to the responsibility to post relevant information that comes from their region on the listserv, if necessary in translation. Heater will work with Manon’s student here in Kristiansand, to take over and manage the website and see if postings might be made easier and how we can get rid of advertisements on the web. We “may” need to pay WordPress for that.

Ad 3: The Cradle Publication, originally edited by Geesche Wartemann, Veronica Baxter and Manon vdW, has been delayed a number of times. At the moment we hope to combine this publication with select papers from the ITYARN meetings in Kristiansand. The largest problem is a publisher.  We have 7 articles ready to go from Cradle we could publish 7 more. Veronica Baxter from Cape Town may continue as editor, otherwise Manon will finish this one up, pending publisher/printer.  We want to launch this one in Japan in 2020

The board decided we need to look into open access, on line, academic, peer reviewed venues for future publications. The publication committee will look into that and will come with a proposal to ASSITEJ in December 2019, or May 2020. One possibility we have already identified is Public Knowledge Projects, PKP,

Ad 2. The ITYARN Research Award, is now the Geesche Wartemann Emerging Scholars Award.

Criteria for the Award have been discussed. The board agreed upon the following criteria, in the spirit of Geesche’s  work:

  • The nominee is a current PhD student specializing in any aspect of Theatre for Young Audiences, as demonstrated by a 1-page research project page (the dissertation).
  • The nominee is within 5 years of finishing their PhD.
  • The nominee has to demonstrate ongoing contributions to the field of TYA as demonstrated in a 3-page CV.
  • The nominee has the support of two scholars through two letters of support; one from the advisor, and one from a scholar outside of the nominee’s institution.

The award winner will be honored at the ASSITEJ Congress and Festival Awards ceremony. The ITYARN Board proposes this comes with a free registration for the ITYARN conference and 2 nights of lodging provided by the host country of the World Congress and Festival. ITYARN will request the awardee’s institution to support travel costs.

ITYARN will additionally invite the awardee to serve as student representative on the ITYARN Board for the next three years, until the ASSITEJ World Congress and Festival in 2023.

Nominations will be due November 15 with the other ASSITEJ Awards nominations for 2020.

Ad 1. ITYARN Conference in Japan. Based on unknown situation of funding and the many other events and performances attendees may want to attend the ITYARN board unanimously voted on one (1) day of ITYARN conference on Saturday May 16, 2020. Saturday, according to Nori H. in Japan, is the best day for Japanese scholars as well as for securing a space with multiple meeting rooms at one of the universities in Japan. It will also reduce costs for translation.

The board decided on the following structure:

  • Keynote
  • Plenary session of three papers
  • 4-5 simultaneous panels of 3 papers
  • 2-4 working groups (pending on amount of proposals)
  • Closing and reception

ITYARN is working with the organizers in Japan regarding ITYARN conference fee, lunch, and reception. The call for ITYARN 2020 is ready to go and is attached, an email ( has been created.