Dear TSA Members,
A heartfelt thanks to so many of you for sharing your thoughts and concerns on our survey earlier this month. The board reviewed all of your responses and has taken them into deep consideration. We heard from many that while you find face-to-face meeting an invaluable opportunity to connect with peers across the textiles field, right now, with COVID-19 still a very real presence, many feel uncomfortable making travel plans or gathering in large groups.
In light of your responses, the board would like to announce that we will hold the 2020 TSA Symposium, Hidden Stories/Human Lives online October 15, 16, and 17, 2020. We are already in touch with presenters and keynote speakers and hope to present a program of concurrent sessions that is as exciting and rigorous as the one we had originally planned. Presenters will still have the opportunity to publish their papers in the Proceedings via the University of Nebraska, Lincoln’s Digital Commons. After a successful collaboration in 2018, we are also planning to publish another special issue with the Journal of Textile Design, Research and Practice based on outstanding symposium papers. While we will not be able to enjoy viewing textiles in person, we plan to work with those who applied to the Members Exhibition and Marketplace to find an online solution that honors their place in our community.
Moving to an online format presents some exciting opportunities for TSA and in this time of social distancing, many of us have become more comfortable with the tools that help us meet from afar. We hope that moving online will make the symposium more accessible to those who would have otherwise been unable to attend. We are currently exploring new registration fee structures that will allow prospective members and those who have lost income to join the Symposium with a low cost of entry, while also recognizing the organization’s need for financial stability. Registration is now planned to open in early August. Please keep an eye on our website and emails for more announcements about our exciting online programming and new registration dates.
In addition to the 2020 TSA Symposium, TSA is planning a 2-day in-person event in Boston for September of 2021, when we hope it will be safe to gather again. We know that our symposia present important opportunities for community and for TSA to pair with local institutions and experts, and that this will be lost this year when we move the Symposium online. The 2021 event in Boston will not be a second symposium, but an event that will revolve around making in-person connections and coming together as a community. We hope to offer a day of curated presentations, affinity group meetings, our Annual Member’s Meeting, an Awards Banquet, workshops, and visits to sites around Boston. We are excited about this additional opportunity and hope that you will make plans to join us.
Thank you for standing with us during this challenging time. TSA is doing its best to move forward in a way that reflects what is most important to our members right now, and to care for the longevity of the organization. We look forward to seeing you at our 2020 online Symposium in October, and in person as soon as we are able.
Dear TSA Members,
Our thoughts are with every member of the textile community during these unprecedented and difficult times. We understand that everyone is facing challenges both personal and professional due to COVID-19, and we hope that you and all those you care about are safe.
During this time, we are focused on making the best decisions to support our members and continue to fulfill the mission of our organization. Recognizing the increasing spread of COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control guidelines, and the travel restrictions placed on most American and international citizens, the TSA Board devoted a large portion of our spring Board Meeting to discussing the 2020 Symposium. These conversations have included input from our symposium planning team in Boston and our conference planners, who are our liaison with the Park Plaza Hotel.
We want to include you, our members, in our decision making process, so that the outcome serves you and our organization best. In an effort to be transparent with the process we are taking to solve this, we are sharing the issues we are facing that will affect this decision and TSA. We are in talks with the hotel to understand their policies under our contract. Because our Symposium is still six months out and the force majeure clause would not be able to take effect this far in advance, the hotel considers that it is still possible that the Symposium could be held and would not cancel the contract. Penalties for TSA cancelling the conference without proper cause would come to approximately $170,000.00. This is significant. Due to excellent stewardship of the organization, while this would not shut down TSA as an organization, it is an immense financial loss and would mean significant changes to how TSA will be able to function in the future. Therefore, we must take the time to work through our all of our options, legal and otherwise, before making formal decisions.
We are focused on making the best decision for our members and organization and feel that there are many options to explore – a smaller scale symposium, pushing the symposium to a later date, or moving to a virtual, on-line symposium format. We are currently postponing opening registration and any previously communicated confirmation dates for presenters until a decision is made. We also recognize that many of our members who plan to attend may be making travel plans soon, so we want to avoid potential financial losses for all and make a plan that is resilient and serves everyone’s best interests, while carrying forward TSA’s mission. Below is a link to a short survey to learn your opinions regarding the potential options. The data collected from this survey will affect the choices we make and the negotiations with the hotel.
As you know, the situation changes daily, and we are trying our best to make decisions about the 2020 Symposium in a compassionate, educated, and timely manner. Your input on this survey is critical to our decision making process. Thank you in advance for taking the time to give us your thoughts on this unprecedented situation.
Thank you all for your support and understanding in these difficult times.
The Textile Society of America’s Board of Directors
The deadline for the survey has passed. Thank you to all who participated.