At the Intersections: A New Approach to Identity Affinity Groups

From the Intergenerational Leaders of Color meeting to the informal Latina/o practitioner meetings that helped lead to the Latina/o Theatre Commons, TCG Conference attendees have always come together around shared areas of identity. At the 2014 Conference in San Diego, TCG made those gatherings more intentional and structured, soliciting proposals from the field for Identity Affinity Groups around gender, disability, sexual orientation, and race/ethnicity. These Groups sparked meaningful connections, authentic conversations and critical questions, and following the 2014 Conference we solicited several rounds of feedback to make these sessions even more inclusive and impactful.

Enter At the Intersections, our evolving approach to the Identity Affinity Groups. At the Intersections, which was launched in Cleveland at the 25th National Conference, incorporates three key learnings:

We need to come together before we work apart: Our 2015 Conference kicked off with an all-attendee session called “How We Show Up,” which not only laid the groundwork for the At the Intersections sessions, but shared best practices for making the most of our time together. This session helped build mutual understanding around the values and goals of At the Intersections.

Lead with our whole selves: While it can be very effective to have conversations around specific areas of identity, we must always do so with the wholeness of our experiences in mind. That’s why we called these sessions At the Intersections: we’re not just meeting each other at the crossroads of our identities, but acknowledging the complex identities within ourselves. At the Intersections culminated with a town hall ("How We Move Forward") that empowered all attendees to share what they experienced across these interwoven areas of identity.

Every group is different: From figuring out content to deciding on structure to agreeing on the presence of allies in the room, there was never any one-size-fits-all for At the Intersections. For the 2015 Conference, we worked with attendees to build consensus around deeply-personalized sessions that meet the unique needs of each group.

Learn more about the At the Intersections schedule below!

At the Intersections Schedule

Thursday, 6/18
1:00–1:30pm Conference Kickoff: How We Show UpThis session grounded all attendees in shared values and goals for the At the Intersections sessions, and shared best practices for making the most of our time together.
1:30–2:30pm ALLY SKILLS-BUILDING—These were skills-building sessions for all attendees to learn basic definitions and practices of allyship to be effective allies at the Conference, their theatres and beyond.
2:45–4:00pm At the Intersections: Race & Ethnicity—These sessions offered opportunities for networking and coalition-building for theatre practitioners who self-identify as part of various racial/ethnic groups, as well as provide several sessions for allies interested in anti-racist work. Each group self-determined their own approach to allies being present in their space.
4:15–5:15pm Intergenerational Leaders of Color Meeting
Friday, June 19
12:30–1:30pm At the Intersections: Disability—During lunch, conversations around disability will be held.
12:30–1:30pm At the Intersections: Sexual orientation—During lunch, conversations around shared areas of sexual orientation will be held.
Saturday, June 20
9:00–10:15am At the Intersections: Gender— These sessions offered opportunities for networking and coalition-building for theatre practitioners across gender identity, as well as several sessions for allies interested in anti-sexism & anti-transphobia work. Each group self-determined their own approach to allies being present in their space.
1:30–2:45pm At the Intersections: How We Move Forward—At the Intersections culminated with a Town Hall that empowered all of us to share what we’ve experienced across these interwoven areas of identity. 

All photos from 2014 TCG National Conference: Crossing Borders by Michal Daniel.

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