Anti-Racism Virtual Town Hall

Anti-Racism Virtual Town Hall

As an organization, Calgary Arts Development has committed ourselves to bettering our systems regarding equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility (EDIA).

As a follow up to our virtual town hall on June 17, 2020, we scheduled a second gathering to continue the conversation about the deep-seated racism that exists within our communities and systems, and how we can further develop anti-racist policies and practices governing our work. The purpose of the gathering was to use the unanswered questions from June 17 as an initial starting point for deeper conversations, possible actions, and decisions as we deal with current inequities in the sector and work with a broader community toward positive action.

The town hall was hosted on Zoom and was interpreted in American Sign Language (ASL) with a live transcription available.

Questions were submitted to the Calgary Arts Development team to think about ahead of time.

Here are the questions we committed to adding as a starting point for our conversation.

  • Calgary Arts Development’s internal workings. What changes to Calgary Arts Development’s structures of leadership and decision-making will enable it to (a) exemplify EDIA values and principles, and b) effectively do EDIA work (e.g. board composition, grants programs, assessments and decision-making)?
  • Accountability. What are the measures and mechanisms that will show us and the community that things are moving ahead in our EDIA work? How do we make ourselves mutually accountable (e.g. AROC recommendations)?
  • Building and working with a broader community EDIA coalition. How can this capacity be built in the community? How can this have a part in furthering the EDIA work?
  • Dealing with the current inequities in the sector. How can resources and opportunities be made more available to equity-seeking artists, artistic practice and organizations? How will an EDIA framework engage more established institutions in the sector?

Patti Pon: We are just gonna wait a few moments as we have people coming into the meeting space so bear with us for another maybe minute or two and then we’ll get going, thanks.

Hi everybody who’s just joining in, Marc who is helping us with our platform and managing everybody coming in, we’re just holding off for another minute or so and then we’ll get underway.

Okay, so I think we have the majority of folks who wanted to join us today so let’s get underway so that we can honour everybody’s time and everybody’s commitment to joining us, thank you all so much. For those of you who I haven’t met yet I’m Patti Pon, I’m the president and CEO of Calgary Arts Development and welcome to our town hall. We have a bit more of a formal format today learning from our last conversation a couple of weeks ago, and so first off I’m gonna look to my teammate Melissa Tuplin who’s gonna walk us through some zoom practical tactical as well as some etiquette, so Melissa over to you.

Melissa Tuplin: Hey everyone. We have an ASL interpreter with us today, Kimberley Johnson, if you’re on your computer you can pin her on your screen by hovering over her video and clicking pin video under the three-dotted menu in the top right corner. Her name is ASL Interpreter Kimberley Johnson. When you pin a video it will set your view to speaker view automatically. If you’re on your phone please find her video and double-tap it to pin. We have put the link to these instructions in the chatbox and will continue to provide it throughout the session. Let’s just take a pause for Kimberley to introduce herself so that people can find her video screen and do the pinning right now.

Kimberley Johnson: Hello this is Kimberley.

Melissa Tuplin: Thank you very much Kimberley. We will be taking a 10-minute break halfway through this meeting, both for our interpreter and to give participants a chance to refresh your water or take a bio break. We are using a transcription app called click the red box at the top of the screen if you would like to use it. Unfortunately it is only in English for the time being and it is not 100% accurate, but it can be used to follow along today’s conversation. You will see that we are recording this meeting for future reference and to share with folks who can’t make this time work. Please be aware that if you are using the private chat to chat with other participants, we may be able to see the chat including all of the private chats when we download it. We have attempted to turn that feature off, but we know that zoom gets updated quite frequently and things can shift, so please be aware when you are using that.

When we release the recording we will not share any private chat in anything that we upload to the website, we will include an accurate transcript of the video.

You can use that three-dot menu on your own video screen to update your name and share your pronouns if you wish.

The preceding copy came through on transcript only, due to a glitch. The video portion picks up from here.

Melissa Tuplin: We use group agreements to set shared expectations and a commitment to safety and bravery in the spaces that we occupy together. The agreements for our online town halls have been adapted from the group agreements used for our peer assessment meetings internally. They are listed in the document that we have posted in the chat if you would like to follow along. I’m not going to read all of them for the interest of time, I know all of you had access to those peer assessment agreements when you registered, but I wanted to highlight a few things that are really important to us today.

  • Sharing language that respects everyone.
  • Not interrupting others.
  • Keeping our mics on mute unless we are speaking.
  • Being mindful of how much time and space we each take up in discussions and making time and space for others to speak.
  • I do want to emphasize that this is a town hall around anti-racism and the actions that we can use to move forward together and so we do want to ensure that this is a platform that elevates the voices of those of us who are joining us who are from BIPOC communities. When we are thinking about anti-racism we are thinking about anti-racism against those communities.
  • Recognizing that vulnerable interactions can occur and creating space to acknowledge and discuss hurt or offense if it does.
  • Honouring the knowledge and the experience that others share, no one knows everything but together we know a lot.
  • Acknowledging that we are all learning and may be at different places on our journeys. We’ll be patient with ourselves and others as we remain open to continued learning.
  • We acknowledge the difference between intent and impact, and that the impact of our words can sometimes be harmful even when the intent is not.

And also that any participants who do use harmful or disrespectful language, or who are actively disregarding the group agreements will be asked to leave this town hall. If they choose not to leave, they will be removed by our hosts.

Please privately chat with my colleague Taylor Poitras if you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, or see that a participant is using harmful or offensive language, and Taylor can take action on behalf of the group. Taylor, do you want to take this moment to introduce yourself so people can find you on their screen and on the participants list?

Taylor Poitras: Yes hello everyone, welcome. My name is Taylor Poitras and I work on the CADA team under the community investment side helping individual artists but today I’ll be your, what you might call an active bystander so I’m here to support and just let me know if you see anything that needs to be addressed. Thank you.

Melissa Tuplin: Thank you Taylor. If you would like to speak when we open the floor here, please open the participants list at the bottom of your screen, at the bottom of that list you will see a raise hand button. You may also indicate that you would like to share in the chat, we are collecting the list of speaker names and those who have raised their hands have indicated that they would like to speak. When you speak please clearly state your name and then pause briefly before beginning so that people have time to find your screen, particularly our interpreter. If your zoom user name is different than the name you’ll introduce yourself by, please use the menu function to update your name so it is easier to find you. My colleague Gregory Burbidge will be collecting questions from the chatbox and watching for those raised hands. We will try to get to as many people and questions as possible in this short time together, Greg do you want to quickly introduce yourself so that people can find you and your name in the list?

Greg Burbidge: Hi this is Greg I’m with research and policy, the impact team here at CADA. If you click on the participants button on the bottom of your screen you’ll see the list of participants pop up, you can then choose to click the raise hand button. When I see folks with their hands that are raised I will be adding them to a list that Patti can see, and if people put in any questions in the chat I will also be adding those to our list of questions. Thanks Melissa.

Melissa Tuplin: Thank you. If you have any issues with the technology or with accessibility or with anything to do with the zoom logistics, please privately message myself and I will work with Marc to figure that out for you as quickly as possible. Thank you very much, I am going to bounce this back to Patti to kick us off.

Patti Pon: Thank you so much Melissa and to all of the team at Calgary Arts Development. As I’m sure you are all aware our town halls and the work that we’re doing around anti-racism and equity diversity inclusion and accessibility is something that’s a team effort throughout the organization and I’m very very grateful to all of you who are helping to make this town hall happen, so thanks so much to the team from me.

The next thing that we’re gonna do is invite Sable Sweetgrass from our team to provide our land acknowledgement, so Sable, please.

Sable Sweetgrass: Oki hello, n……. Sable Sipatsimo, my name is Sable Sweetgrass and I am with the community investment team as a specialist in Indigenous programs and I run the Original Peoples Investment Program.

For the land acknowledgement, I thought I would just talk a little bit about traditional Blackfoot territory. I can really only speak for my culture the Blackfoot but as my elders have shared with me over the years the traditional territory of Blackfoot or the Niitsitapi people has been from the North Saskatchewan River, south to the Yellowstone River, all along the Rocky Mountains the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains, and then east to the Cypress Hills in Saskatchewan. And within traditional Blackfoot territory, there are the four nations of Niitsitapi people the Siksika which is just about an hour’s drive east of Calgary, Mohkinstsis, and the Piikani Nation which is about two hours south of Calgary, Mohkinstsis, and right next to there is where I’m from, Kainai nation, and the United States in northern Montana is the Sc… Piikani. So the border between the US and Canada kind of split our territory at the southern end.

We also share this territory with our neighbours the Tsuut’ina Nation which is just on the southwest edge of Mohkinstsis and near Exshaw and Canmore is the Stoney-Nakoda Nation. The Chiniki, Bearspaw and Wesley bands are part of the Stoney-Nakoda Nation so the Stoney-Nakoda people have relations with the Dakota and the Kota people in the States in North and South Dakota, the Tsuut’ina Nation is Dene and so there’s Dene people up north and south, the Navajo nation is also a Dene Nation so there are Dene people all spread out all over Turtle Island, north and south. The Blackfoot people we are, you only find Blackfoot people in one place and that’s southern Alberta, northern Montana. I’ll just leave it there and hand it back over to Patti.

Patti Pon: Many thanks, Sable. You know every time I hear the land acknowledgement I always try to make it personal or bring personal meaning to me and when I hear Sable speak and share with us different aspects and elements, it is a reminder to me that we cannot hear the land acknowledgement too many times. We cannot ever forget these wonderful elements and stories and protocols that are passed down from generation to generation and I think there’s something to be learned there. Especially as we think about the purpose of this town hall. You know Black lives matter, Indigenous lives matter, and we’re only ever gonna be reminded of that if we talk about it. If we share these stories, and if we listen. And again as I said, there’s just no, you’re never gonna talk about it too much. You’re never gonna listen too much. You’re never gonna hear people too much. And so I’m very very grateful to Sable and all of those who have helped us in our own journey of reconciliation and I’m very keen to see what more we share and learn from each other going forward.

So, on that note you’ve heard me say thank you to the staff of Calgary Arts Development, there are a whole bunch of us here on the call today and if you look in the participants list you can see that we’ve identified ourselves by putting CADA in front of our names, I won’t name everybody in the interest of time and I again I want us to allow for as much conversation as possible, so similarly we have members of the Calgary Arts Development board who are also on the call with us today as I look through the participants list and so thank you to those of you who are able to join us.

I say these things explicitly because I do want everyone on the call to know that our journey and our work around equity, diversity inclusion and accessibility, EDIA, is something that we’re committed to as an organization. And as individuals this time has been a great time of learning, highly emotional, and has afforded us a better understanding of where we all sit within this process which is a lifelong process. It’s not something that we’re gonna do and then just kind of tick off the box and away we go, and so as we learn, our processes change. It’s an iterative process. And I’m very very grateful to all of you who are taking part in the call today and those who took part before and those who will take part in some way going forward for your willingness to take part in this journey.

Just some context, a few weeks ago you’ll see that I released a statement related to Black Lives Matter, we will be posting a link to that statement in the chatbox, so if you haven’t had a chance to see it or you want to be reminded of what we said, the link will go into the chat box shortly.

Today in particular, is a continuation of the town hall that we held on June the 17th. There were a number of questions that came up that we didn’t get the chance to answer, there was some really wonderful discussion from people who were able to stay on past our allotted time, and so it just became really apparent to me and to the team that this is something that people found to be worthwhile and so we didn’t want to stop it and even as I say that the learning that I have continued to derive has been especially beneficial and so this is again an effort for all of us, not some of us and not CADA to everybody. We are in a circle, and so I’m very very grateful for that.

And having said that, the circles, there are many circles that we all are a part of and work within that I hope contribute to that one bigger piece. For those of you from our last call, you recall Cesar Cala who’s working with us as a sage in residence, an inclusive designer in residence alongside our good friend JD Derbyshire. I’ve mentioned that Calgary Arts Development can do some but we can’t do all, and we’re looking to work with and find solidarity with other like-minded like-hearted circles to do this work because when we talk about systemic racism, right, that is gonna take all of us who care to make those changes. And so we’re quite thrilled to be a part of that movement and moreover thrilled to be working within the arts sector in particular and artists, to do our share of the change-making in this respect.

You know as a public agency anchored on EDIA values we are informed by our historic and current marginalization of communities based on race, abilities, sexual identities and fuelled by aspirations for social change. As you have seen in any of our documentation concerning our own mandate and ambitions our desire is a vibrant arts community that reflects the diversity of Calgary, inclusive of and accessible to diverse artists and artistic practice and meaningfully participating in the shaping of a more equitable city. So, all that being said, I know and we know we’re not there. And on some days it feels like we’re a far distance from being there. That said, we won’t give up, we continue to work, we continue to find the accomplices and co-conspirators and allies to keep on doing this work and more importantly seek the actions that we can undertake in a decisive and intentional way to create that change.

So as I said there were a number of questions and thoughts and ideas that were shared a couple of weeks ago and with everything we heard and our team did go through all the transcripts, we watched the video again, we grouped the questions into a series of themes, and there are five. And so these themes are intended to be initial starting points for deeper conversation, and they are in no way limited to those five. For us it was about trying to identify a starting point where we know there will be more conversations to come. And the first thing that we’re gonna talk about today is with respect to the working group.

And so we’re at about 1:25 and what I’m gonna try to do is take the next 15 or 20 minutes to go through the working group’s piece and where we’re at around that, and then also surface the other four emergent themes that came up and talk a bit about those in hopes that we can that we address the questions that came up that fell within each of those themes. And then at 1:45 we’ll take a 10-minute break so that people can, as Melissa said, bio breaks, refill your water glass, and also maybe have a chance to reflect on how you might wish to respond because then when we come back at 1:55 we’ll open up the conversation to include everyone and again in the chatbox we’ll give you some reminders about raising your hands or if you have questions you want to ask and then members of the team will be monitoring that and we’ll go from there.

So okay, so that’s how that’s what we’re gonna do. The CADA working group, so you’ll recall that in our statement which is now in the chatbox, the link, we committed to commissioning and compensating a working group to help us redraft our statement, our commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility, so that is different from the statement that we posted a few weeks ago. And we wanted to further develop anti-racist policies and practices that govern our own work. So that continues to be our intention and our plan. We’ve had many conversations about this external working group, going forward and one of the questions that I would pose back to the community in the circle that’s here today is about how we identify or how we populate that working group.

Again, I’m very very conscious that in the actions we undertake, they have to have meaning with the very communities that we’re here to work with and serve. And if they don’t and if they aren’t a transparent process that, where we have that understanding of meaning, then this is all for nought. So we didn’t want to assume how we populate it, many of you have actually come forward already and indicated your interest in participating and so we’re mindful of that and we’re mindful that we also want this to be a table that is safe, that has got many voices around the table that reflect the various communities within the arts sector that are present, whether they have a relationship with Calgary Arts Development or not, it’s more important that they have a relationship to other artists and arts enterprises in the community, and so that’s a question that I’m posing upon how might we populate this working group and that that’s some feedback that I’ll seek from you at 1:55 when we’re in the open conversation or you know feel free to put your thoughts in the chat box, again we will review all of these questions and comments that you have.

We are committed to compensating people for your time, we heard that, and especially for those of you who are independent artists or sole proprietorships where you know, your time is quite literally money. We didn’t want to take advantage of that. So know that it is our intention that people will be compensated. I also want to be clear and transparent that for some members of the working group, you may already garner a salary from the existing organization or institution that you work with so we would ask that if this is part of the work and commitment that you might be making within your own organizations towards anti-racism and/or EDIA, then that’s a consideration. If however it’s not considered a priority in your organization, we don’t want to dismiss that either, and we would make steps to ensure that your expertise and your insight is acknowledged appropriately.

In addition to this external group that we have, I wanted you all to know that we already have an internal working group comprised right now of staff. However, we are looking to add one or two board members from Calgary Arts Development on that working group as well. And that is all part of you know, what we hear and what we learn from our external working group, we have to be able to apply or undertake action for. And so that internal group is one that will be taking the information and the insight we garner and really trying to apply it to our own internal work and our internal processes, and then forming us that way.

Further to that, Calgary Arts Development’s been working with JD Derbyshire and Cesar Cala as I mentioned earlier and they are helping us on all kinds of fronts, but specific work that they’re undertaking is one that is about a smaller group called the cultural instigators. And the cultural instigators is a group of individuals that we will be working with closely and also compensating and expect that there will be some overlap between the external advisory or working group and the cultural instigators, and in town halls to come we’ll be inviting JD and Cesar to speak more to what the cultural, who the cultural instigators are and what it is that we’re attempting to undertake with that work in this regard.

And then the last thing that I wanted to say about the working group is while the board always has the final decision-making with regard to the overall strategic direction and fulfillment of our vision and our mission and our mandate at any given time, we are looking to the working group, working groups both internal and external, to challenge Calgary Arts Development in our own processes and our own systems. We want to empower and give agency to these groups to be able to call CADA in or out as the case may be. So that I don’t want anybody to see this as tokenism, I don’t want anybody to think that it’s about kind of virtue signalling or have fear that well if I say something bad about CADA that’s gonna affect my status in terms of an ability to get a grant. We will live by the group agreements that Melissa’s already spoken to and so I just want to be able again to say that to all of you that these are the things that we’re living by and the kinds of things that we’re talking about at both the board and the staff level in the days and weeks to come.

And then as I think you’ve seen us address in these last few weeks, we don’t assume we have an answer, so please know that it may be “I don’t know” or “no, that’s not something we’re doing right now.” As we undertake this journey because again we want to give transparency to how we are undertaking this work in this regard.

So that’s all I wanted to tell you about the working group, it will continue to be in motion and again if you are subscribed to our newsletter or check in at our website or check in with any member of the CADA staff, all of our contact info is on our website, we’ll be happy to talk with you further if anything comes up.

Okay, ten minutes to get through the other four sections. Get ready Kimberley! I’ll try not to talk too fast. So the other four areas that, where we sort of grouped the questions that we weren’t able to answer a couple of weeks ago fell into four areas. The first one was around Calgary Arts Development’s internal workings and our internal process, processes and how we might be changing those. The second one was around accountability, the third was about building and working with the broader community with regard to EDIA and forming a coalition or movement making or how we come to gather more broadly in the sector, and then the fourth piece was dealing with current inequities in the sector. So those were the four categories, I’m gonna go back to the first one and then speak briefly for a couple of minutes on each of those categories.

In terms of CADA’s internal workings we had questions about our leadership structure, our decision making processes or hires, will they exemplify EDIA values and principles, how do we effectively do our own EDIA work and you know it starts with composition on our board and our staff, composition of grant recipients through our grant investment programs, how we undertake assessments and ultimately how we might make recommendations or other, whether it’s in granting or any of our arts development programs. So all of those things that have been identified are absolutely things that we are always contemplating, always thinking about. The internal working group that I referenced earlier is all part of helping us look at EDIA from a global perspective.

One example of how we’ve been trying to identify or articulate a process and rather than hire a director of equity or of EDIA as an example, we’ve chosen to take those dollars that we would have spent on the position and brought in the expertise of Cesar and JD and others to help us find the way that we can embed this work throughout the organization. You know as I’m sure all of you are aware there are many institutions that have hired directors of equity and here we are. Where are we in facing these issues? So how have we effected systemic change is a good question for us and so I made the choice to not focus all of our work on one person, but instead try to find ways to spread it out throughout. What it’s done, however, is hidden the work or buried it and so that is something that we’ve become very aware of and so again in our internal working how do we surface the work that we’ve done in EDIA for years as a matter of fact, how do we bring that to the surface and that’s where JD and Cesar have been very very helpful to us.

And again where we’ll look to the working group to assist us in this respect and where we can work harder. I do believe that we need to be more intentional around our work so for example we don’t have a budget page that is around EDIA, we’ve kind of got lines from all different budgets. Well we need to formalize that, so we make it very clear internally where we spend our money and why and how. Our strategic framework, that will be something that I’ll be working with our board on to ensure that we’re intentional and transparent about how our work in EDIA affects all of the seven focus areas we’ve identified. So those are things that will be more apparent and I hope, transparent in our work.

Who undertakes our work or who oversees our work is something that we have concerned ourselves with for quite some time, and maybe I can ask one of our teammates to put a link to our accountability report for 2019 into the chat box so again if you haven’t looked at it, we had an AGM last week with our shareholder, City Council, and um a couple of years ago we were actually challenged with our board composition as an example by our shareholder and we’ve made some interesting strides in that respect, and interesting good strides, you know again I can’t challenge people on what our arts community looks like if I’m not even walking the walk ourselves, and so I hope that you can see through the accountability report where we’ve tried to make changes and have the faces associated with Calgary Arts Development look more like the faces of Calgary in a meaningful way and not tokenistic.

And that leads us into the discussion around accountability and the measures and mechanisms that will show us. Greg who is the manager of research and impact for us within the organization, I’m wondering if I might call upon you a bit to talk about how we’re starting to do that and shift some of our measures?

Greg Burbidge: Sure it’s something we’ve been thinking about and challenged with for quite a while now. A few years ago we did do, as soon as I say that years seems like a long time, in my heart years feels like a very short period of time. We did do a demographic survey. We asked all of the organizations we fund if they could send out a voluntary demographic survey to all their staff, artists and volunteers. It was the second time we know of that happening in North America. Los Angeles did one after that, Vancouver and Canada Council for the Arts modelled some of their work after ours after that. Because we don’t expect some of those numbers to change rapidly—it’s hard to see the differences year to year, we are doing that on a census cycle so next year we will again be spending a full year capturing demographic information about the sector.

From there we did use that to help build our case for support for increased funding from City Council, and so we set some very specific targets where we knew the arts sector was not representative of what Calgary looks like, so we set some specific targets and goals around that that we presented as part of our case for support to City Council. Some of those we’re able to update regularly, some of those we’re not able to update regularly because they rely on that census cycle. We are now for the first time–it’s good timing for the question—this summer we’re shifting to collecting more information in between that census cycle on an annual basis, so for the first time individuals, and Melissa can give me a dirty look if I get this wrong, for the first time we’ve added to project grants for individuals, perfect, optional self-disclosure questions.

We get asked a lot about those programs, are they reflective of Calgary and we can’t say because we don’t collect demographic questions on those programs. So for the first time we’re putting some optional questions in there, they are not related to the jury or grant-making process, juries will never see individual information about the identities of people applying for grants, but when we aggregate and put together all that information it will help us have a better understanding of who our community is serving, who we are serving in the community and who we’re not serving. So that is going to be very helpful for us, the question did include a reference to KPIs or key performance indicators, they’re sort of like the individual little bits of information we track as indicators of whether or not the positive change we want to see is happening.

The research team right now is trying to put together a list of equity-related key performance indicators, we think a lot of indicators that we used to think were important are probably going to shift over the next year—a lot of that has to do with COVID, we’re not expecting audiences to grow in the next year, we’re not expecting ticket sales to increase in the next year, and we also want to as we’re doing all that shifting, shift what we’re thinking around key performance indicators. What are the indicators related to equity we can track and can’t track? I know our team has been looking very closely at the social determinants of health, there are not a lot of organizations out there doing arts indicator tracking around equity so we’re trying to look at other fields that are doing a great job at this and see what we can learn from that, those fields.

So when somebody like social determinant of health what are all those things that determine your health success, the social-economic factors, the race factors, the gender, all the forms of identity, that play into health and do those, can we learn from those in the arts and see how those same indicators are relating to help in the arts sector. I could go on and on about this but I won’t because I know that there’s actually four buckets of things that you need to talk about.

Patti Pon: Thanks very much Greg, and so I think to all of those pieces that Greg has spoken to, we are very conscious of how we measure our success across all streams, so again it’s not like EDIA will have its own little section and it’ll be pocketed or segregated there. We’re really trying to understand how this impacts all of our work, and then in turn we’ll be asking the grantees or the grant investment clients that we work with and I think for many of you that I’ve had the great honour and privilege of having relationships with and I know members of our CI team have worked with many of you, you’ve heard me go on and on and on over the last few years, we are Canada’s third most diverse city, so what do your stages look like, what does your office look like, what does your board table look like, that’s a first place.

And I’ve also heard from many of you, particularly who are associated with institutions, that that’s a hard conversation to have inside your organization sometimes, and Calgary Arts Development wants to be there to be able to have that conversation with you. That being said, I would be remiss if I didn’t say that I feel like it is a responsibility of Calgary Arts Development as a public institution stewarding public dollars for the benefit of the public good, we would be remiss in not beginning to assess our programs with EDIA, a much more intentional piece.

That said, it’s not like I’m gonna throw you to the wolves and say hey, if you don’t meet these benchmarks you are out of the game my friend, figure it out. That’s a little bit of it. But we want to be there with you as you undertake those challenges inside your own organizations, how can we help? If it helps to have Patti or Greg or Melissa in a board meeting with you or with your staff in a staff meeting to talk about these things, we will. If we can refer you to other ways in which your organization might learn more, that’s a big element. If there are other BIPOC and AWD artists that we can help connect you to, we will. But know that in time I’m giving you notice, that it will become a criteria, not tomorrow, but I can assure you that in time for a new budget cycle in 2023, as long as I’m here that’s gonna be a criteria. Many of you have heard me say EDIA and my work as the president, CEO of Calgary Arts Development, EDIA is the hill I’m willing to die on. And guess what folks? We’re on the hill.

So I say this as much for my team inside as for the community outside to know that I want you to know how much of a commitment this is and a priority that this is for me, and I think that relates to the third and fourth pieces because I’m running four minutes late, past our time, building and working with a broader EDIA community coalition. We’re going to build capacity inside and at the same time try to find ways to build that capacity externally and part of being transparent is about how we want to do this and also finding other organizations who are working in this realm to do that and then as far as dealing with current inequities in the sector, I don’t have the road map yet.

That’s where I hope the working group will help us as well as our own work internally, as well as our own learnings across the sector, as well as finding those other allies and co-conspirators. So stay tuned as we continue to work our way and you might hear us kind of using you as a sounding board, using these town halls as a way to test some of our hypotheses. So, know that we look to you to help inform us and hopefully create that exchange.

So that’s all I wanted to say, again thank you for indulging me that extra few minutes. What we’re gonna do now is we’re gonna take a break for 10 minutes, I have 1:50 on my clock, so we will return and start promptly at 2:00 and at that time we’ll open this to a conversation with all of us so if you have something you want to say, maybe you want to raise your hands right now as Melissa had guided us, thank you Heather! I’m not looking to die on the hill, by the way! And if I have a big army behind me the chances go way down, so, hello! An army. I don’t like those military terms. A big movement, a big community alongside me, then that’s how we reduce the chances. So here we go, and there’s going to be a countdown clock, so break! Break—10 minutes we’ll see you all at 2:00.

Okee dokee, so we are back and I’m gonna get us going right away and looking at my list of questions so uh, currently Wunmi has raised her hand so maybe Wunmi if you’re online and ready I can ask you to make your comments and questions?

Wunmi are you there?

Wunmi Idowu: Yes hello can you hear me? Thank you so much, and thank you for taking my question. I just want to thank CADA for this town hall, I think it’s really needed and necessary at this climate right now with everything that’s happening in the economy and in the community.

I just have a quick question, with everything that you have said about the working group and your plans to ensure that the work is done, what do you say in regards to performative allyship, people who just want to be there but they don’t want to be the solution because I feel that there’s a lot of groups right now that are doing similar work that CADA’s about to undertake and we don’t see any actions being attributed to their work, and I’ve spent, my goodness, four weeks in several different meetings about next steps and it’s just more or less conversations and not really actions, so I just want to know what CADA plans to do in regards to maybe a scope of action, work or something that would kind of lead the project going forward so we can see real affirmative action in the community. Thank you.

Patti Pon: Thank you very much Wunmi, and that’s a great question. I you know as I said earlier with respect to the kinds of conditions that we’re looking for with this particular working group, and again where I would welcome any insight that any of you may have to our thinking, being able to and I’m not even sure if this is a word, actionize, to create action around what we hear from the working group is a really important aspect of our work and one of the conditions that we want to ensure we are honouring with that group, I’m with you Wunmi, there are lots and lots of conversations taking place, oftentimes with the same people, and so for us if we can include that our recommendations or whatever recommendations may come from the working group also include a context of doing something, that’s gonna be really important.

And as I said earlier compensating the members of our working group will be important, but also know that we have budget to implement, to activate, and some of that may not even be us, you know, to your questions, comment Wunmi about how many other conversations you’ve been a part of in this last four weeks, um, you know if the arts or artists are a part of those conversations and we can help activate something there I’m you know, CADA doesn’t need to be leading everything or doing everything, we will do our part as part of the bigger circle, so we are not in any way wanting to step on anybody else’s work, but if we can help provide a resource or amplify what’s happening, that would certainly be something I’d invite, to sort of be considered an ally on in that respect. Thank you for the question.

Do we have any other hands raised so far? If not that’s okay, because we have some email questions, and so we want to make sure that we get to those as well.

There’s a question here about how is CADA ensuring that the funding provided to institutions reaches marginalized communities and that there are equitable and just practices?

I think that that’s one of the questions that we’re really trying to unpack and unravel within our own systems that we know are rooted in historical bias that have barriers built in for particularly marginalized communities and we’ve been trying to sort of unravel and unlock those and so that continues to be part of our journey. I hope that you can see that manifesting and presenting itself in some of our programs, in particular, I think about the program that Sable is leading for us around the Original Peoples Investment Program. That program has been designed specifically with an advisory of Indigenous artists and elders so that we’re honouring a context that belongs within the FNMI communities, and isn’t rooted in CADA, but is centred around Indigenous art and art-making. So I think we are starting to kind of shift our own kind of thinking and again, who we invite to participate in those conversations, those co-design conversations with us.

We still have a long way to go and when you talk about being provided to institutions, I’m making an assumption, and perhaps I am wrong, because I don’t know who asked the question, that you’re talking about the big organizations, who we have sometimes referred to as the Cornerstone companies. And so I want to just be transparent about how we’re gonna work with all organizations within the spectrum of grant investees, and we recognize that people are at very different places. And we also know because of the relationships we’ve developed with all of the organizations that we make grant investments with, that everyone is working in their own way around EDIA, and quite, I honestly mean it. It just may not be as far as you are working in EDIA, or maybe it’s even farther than you know, the larger cornerstone companies or larger organizations and institutions because they’re bigger, the spotlight is brighter, and the consequence is bigger and they know that, and I know some of you may be on the call and you may wish to respond on your own, but this isn’t something that is only with a certain community or only with, we’re looking for those kinds of measures and contexts in all ways and I guess the last thing I’ll say about that one is if you’re an arts organization of any size or shape or whatever you do, and arts is at the centre or the core of what you’re doing then EDIA work can’t be excluded from that.

You shouldn’t be an arts organization if you’re not supporting the art and artists and we are living in a time now where we are very conscious of how broad that is and so the question is more rooted in that—how clear are you on what you do and why do you do it? And if it doesn’t include the art or the art form that you are here to support and the artists that are undertaking a practice in that regard, which by the way come in all sizes and shapes and colours and expertise and experience, not just one, then you should be doing it because that’s a responsibility of being an arts organization anyway. That’s the bigger question. That’s the one we will be asking, and EDIA will have its part in that.

Anyone else got, I’m just checking for raised hands, no raised hands currently. Okay we’ll move on to the next question which I think Greg has already answered. Has Calgary Arts Development considered asking for equity metrics, concrete plans, and KPIs when arts organizations and institutions do their reporting to Calgary Arts Development on grants and if not, why not?

We are at work in… Greg has something else to add!

Greg Burbidge: Just in case you needed to take a little break (to Patti). In terms of what, we I think a lot about the identities of individual artists but in our last demographic profile we also asked a series of questions to organizations to better understand where they are in the field right now and I think that that type of questioning will be a lot more robust next time we do our demographic profile in the next year. In the past we’ve asked things like do you have an equitable hiring process? Do you have a harassment or sexual harassment policy. We’ve asked about a few different kinds of policies, but as we’ve been learning a lot more over the last four years, I think we’ll be asking at the organizational level a lot more questions about what people do and do not have, not just, I know you talked about equity as a measurement in grant funding in the future but it also provides us an opportunity to understand where the biggest gaps in the field are, and where Melissa and her team and the research team can come alongside to provide resources.

We don’t expect that extremely small arts organizations are all going to have all the policies already implemented, but seeing where the big gaps are is where we can identify what we can come alongside with, with best practices to help to grow the field in some of those areas.

Patti Pon: Thanks Greg. So there you go, so that’s our question there. I was just typing a note to Sable under private chat, so Sable I’m giving you the heads-up.

The next question we have comes from Heather Morigeau. Hi Heather, thanks for joining us. I’m going to read her questions verbatim because I want to make sure that all of you hear the language that she’s used in this respect. Heather says while attempting to launch my arts career in Vancouver I met with a Haida Gwaii elder who said Alberta, the prairies, have the potential to be an even greater success with Indigenous arts if they’re willing to learn from the mistakes we’ve experienced here. Those mistakes included pitting artists against each other for grants and artist calls in a competitive way. Not making space for traditional learning and passing of knowledge. Expecting all Indigenous art to fit the same style. Not rewarding the mentors for their volunteer time helping youth and new artists. Not recognizing art as a pathway to cultural healing. Can CADA be a champion to avoiding these mistakes?

So, uh, my short answer is yes. As we undertake our own learning I wanted—I was just messaging Sable in, with regard to some of the learnings that we have encountered and have learned through our Original Peoples Investment Program. Sable, is there anything that you want to add here?

Sable Sweetgrass: Yeah, thank you for bringing me in on this. With the Original Peoples Investment Program we have an advisory that, an Indigenous advisory made up of Indigenous artists from different First Nations, different Indigenous groups and all different levels, skills, expertise in different genres and practices, and very aware of the issues that are taking place within Indigenous arts. We still have our Indigenous advisory, we still consult with them and we’re about to consult with them again coming up soon, so working with them, CADA has been working with the advisory from the beginning of this program. And so we’re, we still have a lot, there’s so much to explore, so much to think of, because I know in the past, Canada, Calgary, has looked at Indigenous groups as one homogenous group when in fact we’re like here in Treaty 7 there are three different cultural groups.

We do not speak the same language and our nations are different nations from one another, we have different, we’ve always had different styles when it comes to design, when it comes to cultural practices, but this is, has never really been recognized by Canadian arts and culture. And I understand where you’re talking about in the past how artists were expected to.. Indigenous artists were expected to have their work fit into a particular style or design, to suit the mass market non-Indigenous market out there, and western institutions, western art institutions were determining which style Indigenous design suited them and suited their taste and so now I think our artists, this generation and previous generations we recognize that Indigenous art is not static, it’s always evolving just like any other culture—our forms, our designs are constantly in fluctuation and growing and emerging in different ways. So we have that on our minds always and when it comes to funding this is always a challenge across Canada in every city in every region of the country.

The Original Peoples Investment Program is still new, this is the second year of the Original Peoples Program, and from the first year we’ve doubled the number of applicants this year to the program. And I only see it doubling again going into the next year so we’re just like it’s really exciting and we have a lot to think about and a lot to consider as we move forward. But when we come together as a community of artists we have these things that we call a community circle – we gather all the artists that are thinking about applying to the program and we bring them together and we sit in the circle and we go around the circle and every artist has an opportunity to introduce themselves and talk about their practice and their hopes and dreams for what they want to accomplish. And they get to hear from the other Indigenous artists in the room with them and what they say in the circle stays in the circle, we respect each other. And this has really helped make our community really a stronger community and so this is really exciting and this is, as far as I know, has not really been done in other parts of arts funding in Canada. So I think what CADA is doing what we’re doing is really ahead of what has been done across this country. So I mean I’m really proud of the work that we’re doing here at CADA in terms of Indigenous funding in the arts. So, yeah.

Patti Pon: Thank you very much Sable, and I think that Sable’s response also relates to another question that we had emailed to us which is How can we, how do we untangle the colonialism from the arts, and one of the things that we originally talked about when we asked Sable to join our team and particularly lead us through the Original Peoples Investment Program co-design and process, was also to learn how what we discover in that program, how could we apply it to our other programs? Specifically with a view to decolonizing our processes.

So that is something that Greg and Stephanie and other members of our team in the community investment realm have been paying a particular eye to. All of our programs are intersected in a variety of ways and something we learn from one program we apply to other programs and we create that kind of cross fertilization, because we know that our programs and our processes can be improved in all kinds of ways, so thank you very much Sable for making that comment.

We have a hand raised from DJ Stagez, over to you, hi!

DJ Stagez: How are you?

Patti Pon: Very good thank you, thanks for joining us.

DJ Stagez: Thank you so much for the opportunity to be here. One of the side effects of…

Kimberley Johnson: This is the interpreter, DJ could you speak up I can barely hear you

DJ Stagez: Can you hear me now?

Kimberley Johnson: That’s perfect, I just want to be sure I interpret what you’re saying.

DJ Stagez: Okay I’m going to speak slowly. I said one of the side effects of racism is that people who are directly affected tend to hide, and I’m one of those, and I got to know about this town hall because it was on my Facebook feed and I didn’t even know that there were these great opportunities, I’ve never had anybody talk like you Patti, you know, saying that this is going to work and this is a long haul and this is very encouraging for me as a person and I want to say thank you and since the town hall meeting I have been in touch with Taylor from CADA and she’s been amazing and phenomenal and supporting me as a solo artist, but my question to you is, with all of this on one hand I feel like is this really true? Is this real because these are good people. On the other hand I’m like yeah we’re going to give you a shot and see. So my question to you is this group that you’re putting together, which I would like to be a part of anyways, that you’re putting together there are people like me who if it wasn’t on my  Facebook feed I would never would have known about this opportunity and I would still be in my bank thinking is there any opportunity for black people especially in Calgary. What are the strategies or what are the ways that you are putting forth in this strategy to include people like me who would have been in the shadows? Thank you.

Patti Pon: Thank you very much for the question, and um, I mean I think your point’s a really good one, if it hadn’t have been for Facebook there’s no way you would have known about this town hall and we’re very aware that there are many in the sector who are working within arts and cultural activities that probably have no idea who Calgary Arts Development is, nor should they.

I think for us this is about recognizing that while we have a broad community, it is not the whole community. And so to your point, as we reach out and seek advice on how we will populate that working group, we do want it to be made up of those who know us and know us well, to those who are only finding out about us through social media or through maybe having talked with Wunmi and then she goes to one of her other meetings this month and she’s able to share that broadly. I mean I think and this is a question and an idea that I’d offer to you, we do want to put together an external working group who has its own kind of networks in community that we may not know and may never know but you have that relationship, so that would be one of the attributes or traits that I would be looking for with this group, this table.

Heather, I noticed that you identified perhaps a means of governance for that and I’ll have a look at the YouTube video, or we’ll all look at the YouTube video, thank you very much for the suggestion. All of these things that you can maybe can provide for us is absolutely very very helpful. I only know you by the name on your zoom, so DJ Stagez please know that as we put these, the call out we’ll make sure to have you on that distribution list so that you know what the process is we’re going to undertake. Heather, I know you’ve put your name forward as well and so, duly noted that we want to encourage a broad representation within that group.

We have about five minutes left and I know that two other questions have surfaced in the chat so I’m just gonna say them out loud and know that we’ve got a bit more, we’ve only got about four or five minutes’ worth of time before the formal proceedings end. If there are those of you who want to continue the conversation past 2:30 I’m available until 3:00, so I’d be willing to stay on for those of you who can afterwards. Sable, did, I got Sable—current raised hands Sable and Pam. So why don’t we go to those of you who have raised your hand and then I can go to the questions that were in the chat box. Sable did you have something else or is this maybe another Sable?

Sable Sweetgrass: I have just, um, I just wanted to add that one of the things that was that CADA had changed for Indigenous for the Indigenous funding for artists was opening it up to Treaty 7 First Nation artists in southern Alberta because a lot of our artists go back and forth between the nations, the reserves, so a lot of people work in the city and live on reserve. And so it’s not always easy for people to write on an application that they have an address here when they’re actually living on reserve and are always back and forth. That was something that, that was a big thing that CADA changed in their funding for Indigenous arts and just an example of how CADA’s making things more we’re making things more accessible for Indigenous artists.

Patti Pon: Thanks so much Sable, umm, Pam, Pamela Tzeng

Pamela Tzeng: Hi! My video doesn’t have my she/her for some reason. Okay, I use pronouns she/her. Hi everybody. So my question is I’ll try to formulate as we go, um, so I’m curious about how CADA sees its role or potential role in ensuring that the organizations and institutions with public dollars, privilege, have in place succession plans in terms of executive leadership, because I think that’s something that we’re really grappling with across Canada, and in order for us to have this anti-racist future where we’ll see more BIPOC folks in leadership positions, that there needs to be some sort of turnover that’s possible. So as a funder and steward of our arts community, do you see CADA being able to play a role in that? Because I don’t know where else accountability for organizations in that kind of commitment is going to be otherwise possible.

Patti Pon: Thank you for the question Pam, and it’s actually related to another question that was sent to me privately, and that it’s similar but not exactly the same: What will or can CADA do to support the removal of persons, officers or groups within arts institutions that have participated in or maintain systemic racism and barriers for marginalized voices. Many institutions especially the larger orgs have directors and senior administrators that have embedded themselves and are difficult if not impossible to remove. Additionally many of these spaces do not have the number of or level of security for BIPOC staff, artists, audiences, to take on the work of dismantling these oppressive structures and individuals.

So, I think similar but not exactly the same question. Back to earlier when I said we’re a public institution stewarding public dollars in the interest of the public good, that has a very very broad meaning and context. But it does speak to an accountability that I believe we have as an organization to ask the questions. The practicality of it is even at our target which we are not at, by the way, for organizations that have a budget size over a certain amount, I’m talking about larger organizations, we set a target of 8% as ideally what we would like our grant amount to be, our grant investment to be in those organizations year over year, and so 8 cents on the dollar in the whole grand scheme of things is not a lot financially, but reputationally and I think maybe this is Pam where you’re speaking, if CADA were to say we’re not going to make an investment in you because you continue to foster or encourage systemic racism, that’s a big question and a very big statement for CADA to make and we would want to be sure that we have had many many conversations in community, both with the institutions themselves as well as the marginalized communities who may be feeling excluded, to really understand this.

You know, Pam I know the breadth of the work you’ve undertaken with organizations both large and small, this is a very very complex issue for us to unpack, and CADA’s responsibility in this I think is to be really really clear with the community on the things we believe we can do, and that we can affect, and the things we believe we cannot. And it is not our job to tell a board or to tell an organization You are being, you have to do this, you have to fire somebody, you have to program this, you have to find an audience that looks like that. That’s not our role, and we would never ever undertake that. We can, however, ask questions. We are Canada’s third most diverse city, we are one of the youngest cities in Canada. We have an artist community that is underrepresented. In your organization, how are you addressing these? And if by 2023 if that’s part of an assessment, that’s how we will influence and affect change, I think.

That’s just one idea from me, I have 13 other 14 other super smart people in the room who are my CADA team who will also have perspectives to bring. We will have working committees or working groups, so I hope that we start to undertake this exchange and again, it cannot exclude the participation of the very institutions who I know are seeking ways to change and at the same time keep afloat. You know we live in an interesting time where COVID-19 is potentially, you know we have 60% of organizations who are saying they maybe have six months worth of capital, and I know we’re probably years in the making for recovery for the arts sector. Lots of opposing forces working on these organizations, all organizations, and so, so I hope we will be more vocal, Pam, I intend for us to be more focused and that’s all I can sort of commit to right now as we continue our learning journey, if that’s fair. Or even if it’s not it’s the truth, it’s kind of where we’re at right now.

Okay, so we’re at 2:34, so we’ve exceeded our time, and so just a couple of things I want to tell you about to close out, and if people want to continue until 3:00 I will stay on the line as I’m sure many of my colleagues will. What I just wanted to make sure you knew is that we want to continue these town halls, so specifically around anti-racism, anti-racist practices.

So our commitment to you right now is for the rest of the summer, so that’s July and August, every other Wednesday at 3:00pm we will continue this conversation. And then beyond that we’ll talk in August about how we want to continue these more, kind of town hall or open dialogues with each other and the formats that are most helpful with respect to these conversations. So that means that our next town hall specifically around anti-racism, Black Lives Matter, Indigenous Lives Matter, and CADA’s work around EDIA will take place on July 15 at 3:00, registration is open now on our, I’m going to ask this because I’m not sure, registration’s open now on our website? Yes, okay, I see people nodding yes. So go to our website and you can register for the next one or all of them for the rest of the summer, and thank you very much to my team for making all of that happen.

I think that Melissa, I’m looking to you just in terms of our administration and kind of wrap up, is there anything that you had that you wanted to add at this time?

Melissa Tuplin: Uh, no, we don’t have anything to add right now. The links to register for those town halls have been put into the chat there and you can if you weren’t able to watch and listen to the last one that we ran, that recording is also available on our website. I believe we do have to let Kimberley go because it’s the end of our formal session here, so we are going to shift to a more conversational perspective right now.

Patti Pon: Thank you Kimberley! So for those of you who are relying on ASL interpretation please know that we also have the transcription piece happening and that will continue past 2:30. I guess it is after 2:30. Bye Kim.

Okay, and so for those of you who maybe have to leave the call now, thank you all again so much for joining us, I hope you’ll join us in the weeks ahead and we’ll continue to address these questions. And any that you have, by the way, if you want to bring those questions to the group, I hope that this becomes that kind of an exchange back and forth.

So I think we addressed all of the questions, there’s one more here that came from Anne on the chatbox and I’m just… oh I’m in the wrong page trying to find it. The team tracks all of the questions in the chat box so that I don’t have to be going all over, um, okee dokee, maybe I haven’t… okay I can’t find it in there, so I’m going to go look for your question in the chatbox Anne, it was related to expanding oh here we are, Could you expand more on your thoughts as to the make up of your board and leadership team in terms of alignment to the values of this work, not just in terms of expertise but more in terms of centring non-white identities and lived experiences? So at our annual general meeting last week part of our process was also the appointment of four new board members to the organization.

Those individuals were Lisha Hassanali who is a senior marketing executive with Rogers in Calgary, Oliver Ho who is a lawyer with JSS Barristers which is a criminal litigation firm, Kelly Morstad who is an IT entrepreneur and Brian Krywulak who is a finance CFO most recently having worked with an organization a new start up in the cannabis industry. All of them are arts champions in their own right, many of you, some of you may know Oliver was a former member of the Calgary Boys’ Choir and the Youth Singers of Calgary, Lisha has worked quite a bit with the International Film Festival, has done lots of work around EDIA in the arts in particular and around governance, Kelly is one of the planners and organizers behind the Parkland Music Festival and Brian, his championship of the arts is rooted in his daughters who are dancers and are in various dance programs in the city and on to post-secondary. So one of the questions that we asked all of the interviewees as we were looking for our board members did relate somewhat around their expertise in the field, but we have recently added to our board skills matrix lived experience—experience within the context of inclusion and diversity.

So that’s one of the criteria we now have that wasn’t there before. And so part of our recruitment and our appointment to the board included that as a consideration, in addition to all those other kind of traditional categories that you would find and it really came down to if we want to have a more diverse board, as an example, then the matrix that we were currently using was never gonna do that. You know, when does somebody who looks like me more often than not ever rise to the top of a matrix? If you were to look at the matrix prior, I wouldn’t have been at the top to be considered as a board member, and so those are the kinds of things that our governance committee which is now being chaired by Sophia Lebessis who is an Inuit gallery owner, she owns Transformation Fine Art, is helping us to work and Barb Howard before her has really started us on this journey. So we are undertaking different processes of recruitment like we have on our staffing. The last few positions that we have hired for, take into account a different approach and a different way of describing our work and one of the things I say to my team all the time is that we want to change our culture such that you can bring your whole self to the organization and we recognize that means a change in practice.

Okee doke, I we’re opening it up to kind of a more informal conversation if you still want to raise your hands please do. I don’t see any, Cesar, I wondered if there were a couple of comments you wanted to share perhaps?

Cesar Cala: Sure, I’ve just been monitoring the chat and Heather I think left already but she suggested looking at a different process of governing composing and governing the working group, I think a part of our creative challenge is really what will be the tools and mechanisms and structures that that we need to utilize that will really shift us away from more hierarchical and colonizing tools, processes and structures. And how can we be informed by these approaches while we create and engage the communities through the working group.

My sense is that the working group is a community-building process, and it would be great to connect the working group and its workings to the things that we need to build in terms of capacity and collective voice in the community. The second thought that came to my mind as well, we had a Chat & Chew last Tuesday with Citizen Artists that JD and I helped facilitate and so one of the discussions we had and I think Sable kind of led us into this is what are the roots of anti-racism or what are the roots of EDIA in Calgary or Mohkinstsis history. Because we know very well the foundations of inequities and the foundations of colonization, but we also have deep roots around welcoming and inclusion and diversity and equity and accessibility in Calgary, how do we actively elevate that?

So those will be some of our historical and community based resources that we can draw from. Because I think anti-racism work is both an effort to dismantle, but it’s also there to reclaim and reconstruct, evolve and create. So I think we need to do both and looking at the questions and suggestions from the chat it’s both. How do we currently dismantle some of the inequities that we see but also how do we start reclaiming and constructing as well? So I think this will be the creative and design challenge that we will face both in terms of CADA as a public institution but also as members of a community or communities that are seeking EDIA in a more just and anti-racist Calgary.

Patti Pon: Thank you very much Cesar. I have a, Marichu has brought forward a question and I just have some clarifying to ask you, to ask you Marichu, I don’t know, what does FW mean?

Marichu Antonio: It’s framework, Patti.

Patti: Okay!

Marichu Antonio: I’m sorry I couldn’t find the raise your hand thing so I decided to write it down.

Patti Pon: Oh sure, thank you. I would say that the majority of our town hall participants, hmmmm. That’s a good question I don’t want to make any assumptions about people who signed in, I think we had representation from a broad cross-section of primarily organizations that we make grants to, I don’t know that there were a lot of people like DJ Stagez who maybe found out about us through Facebook, but I hope that starts to, that shift starts to change, I saw a couple of comments in the chat around people sharing this on some of their own Facebook feeds and with other groups so I think that will change here.

Something that Cesar and JD remind us of all the time is when you’re trying to make this kind of change, you have to go where people are. And I think it would be safe to say that where people are within our granting streams particularly our operating grant stream are, the spectrum of position is wide. And I think it’s tilting towards the beginning of the learning journey as opposed to the end of the journey. That’s a generalization I’m making.

I will say though, I don’t think there’s any shortage of people who are who have the desire to speak to exactly these things that you’ve referenced here, Marichu in your comments, and I believe our role if we are if we mean what we say around developing relationships with all of the organizations that we work with, then we also have to understand where they are and work with organizations to ensure that they equip themselves with whatever training or learning or capacity building or other communities or other networks, are present in Calgary. And so that’s where I think our work with other like-minded or like hearted organizations becomes very very important because again, as I am reminded by JD and Cesar, we’re one organization in this who’s doing this work and we can’t do it all. So our task is to be very very clear about what it is we think we can do and what it is we think we can’t. And how do we find others to help us kind of fill that circle.

Marichu Antonio: So as an additional point, Patti, I was wondering because these town halls are mainly CADA in relation to participants, right? I wonder if you are thinking of creating ways of connecting the different participants who have different levels of experience and different levels of acceptance of this because for sure what we’re not talking about here is the level of resistance too, which is a reality, right?

That may not have the forum for dealing with these levels of resistance. All we can hear here are the good things the vision, the right things that we need to work towards but if we’re starting from where people are at, maybe we could also find a way for the different participants to interact, exchange, share among each other or in smaller circles that are safer for some groups, to learn from each other even if they’re coming from diverse perspectives and backgrounds with CADA of course, but not necessarily CADA leading the process. Because I see this as a very helpful venue, but maybe we need smaller and safer conversations to deal with the different levels of acceptance and resistance. Thank you.

Patti Pon: Thank you very much Marichu, and I agree, I think you’re right on in terms of how we work with various parts of various communities who may be at different places and that’s our first step was about committing to more town halls. And that within that as we start to dive deeper into those kind of five categories that we have initially identified that zoom has this great capacity for breakout rooms, so in time we anticipated that maybe there would be value in having other breakout rooms where this conversation at whatever place can occur with more people who find themselves in that place.

Again, I think for us we see this as the beginning in terms of these town halls, but I hope that this layered in with an external working group layered in with our internal working group layered in with cultural instigators, layered in with how we might work with other communities that are undertaking conversations, you know I’ve had a couple of conversations now with artistic leaders in the the community who are not BIPOC and not AWD, but understand that they have work to do and so how do we work with that community who are in places of decision making or are in places of power and that might not be necessarily the virtual town hall, but maybe about how we are aware that those conversations are happening and can work as allies and accomplices in this respect, right? If it’s about systems change.

So thank you Marichu we will definitely take that into account and recognize various levels of acceptance and to your point resistance. Which we’re still encountering. So, that ain’t going anywhere.

Any other comments or thoughts or things you want to bring up? Particularly still resting with how might we recruit or populate the working group, we’ve had a few suggestions in the chat that we’ll definitely look at. Another suggestion came up for these town halls that maybe we invite others to bring one other into the conversation which is a great idea. Justin, you have your hand up.

Justin Waddell: Hey, hi, how’s it going. Yeah, sorry I can’t seem to turn my camera on for some reason, it’s just not working, but I did as the question earlier you read it out it was in the chat, it was around the removal of board members or officers that have demonstrated in the past you know harassment, discrimination, systemic barriers or support systemic barriers, and I’m somewhat disappointed in your response to that, but I think I also understand where you’re coming from as a funder.

And the fact that you can maybe ask questions but can’t actually make any demands of those organizations, maybe along the line of funders, I guess the question that I would have for you is maybe how to redirect you know I’ll stop short of saying defund because I think it’s a bit triggering especially for some of those cornerstones, but how would you consider or start to look at redirecting some of the funds for those major cornerstone institutions towards new initiatives by marginalized identities, marginalized persons, or organizations that are doing far more than a lot of those cornerstone institutions to support those communities.

And and I’ll say this, and you know I think it goes back to my original question, I think you’re grossly underestimating the ability of these institutions to pivot themselves in a way that will align with all of the categories that you’re looking for in your surveys. They will populate their staff with BIPOC individuals but they will not populate their boards in any way that can dismantle the types of systemic oppression, white supremacy that has been the foundation of these institutions.

Patti Pon: Thanks so much for your comment, Justin, and I, you know I hear you in terms of you know how much is enough work that as a funder we should be concerning ourselves with and I guess there’s two things maybe further to add to what I said earlier. You know in those instances where you or others you know may have encountered specific acts of racism or bias or barriers, you know when you indicated that there were perhaps those in various positions who were preventing you, all of these organizations are public organizations, right, their board lists are on their website, they receive public dollars, so while as a funder I may have a different kind of influence, as individuals that may encounter racist acts from those inside the organization, if we can help you use your voice in some way to reach into somebody in an organization who will hear you who does have influence and can make change, we can do that.

But it’s hard for me, well you know yourself, I heard from someone that someone in your organization is racist. And then right away we get into a conversation about well who and what were the specifics and did the individual speak with another individual? Those are the practices that we learn around harassment policies, around anti-racism policies that I’ve been reading up on, so there’s risk and there’s vulnerability to that and we know that and so how we might so the hence the desire on our part to have a working group who’s helping us with our own anti-racism policies so that we can do so that we can create that safe and brave space where people can speak to what they’re encountering and I forgot to raise it in the formal part of the meeting but you know City Hall has a public consultation a public town hall where they’re inviting Calgarians to share their stories of racism, how they’ve encountered racism in Calgary, and I really hope there’s a lot of artists that share that story, their stories, that being said I know how much risk there is because I’ve had to get in front of that Council and talk about all kinds of stuff.

You know they’re asking you to speak and be vulnerable in the very system that we’re trying to change that has them sitting in the power that has them deciding what does or doesn’t happen and they want you to share your own personal stories of racism and not have any idea of what risk you’re at? You know, will this prevent me from getting a grant from CADA? Will the City blackball me in some way? Will I be, like there’s lots of vulnerability there, and that really sucks at the same time we gotta figure out a way to share these stories with City Hall, otherwise, everything they pass, everything that they’re calling upon us as civic partners to undertake means nothing. And so, um, like again I guess just I don’t have the answers but I’m trying we’re trying to in an iterative way begin to give voice to those who have felt like they didn’t have a voice before. And I we can be that.

I’m not sure how, but I um, I know I know I can be that. Um, because for some organizations they may not be aware that their processes have bias, or that they are racist, or that they have excluded others, right? And sometimes it’s about having a conversation with someone and you know and I’m certainly willing to do that at the very least. And then we work harder to bring it more to the surface, to create that recognition and that’s where I mean this is all about a long game, right? This isn’t just going to be this next four weeks or until the end of the year or whatever, we have to commit to this as part of who we are and at least that’s what CADA’s doing right now. So thanks again for raising the question, Justin.

We are at 3:00, I don’t know if I’m seeing I think we’ve covered everything in the chat, I’m kind of looking to my teammate, oh, there’s one more thing, Greg?

Greg Burbidge: Patti you do have one more question, it’s a soft…. It’s perfect timing. Someone has asked if they can share the invite to these town halls with their friends and other colleagues. They are very conscious of the fact that many arts groups function … and other places probably have no idea that this is happening, is it okay to share this, the series of town halls with other people in ….

Patti Pon: Absolutely, completely. Further to that, if there are other methods of accessibility that we need to be thinking about, please let us know about that as well. I’m trying hard to speak slowly and to use plainer language, but I absolutely know I fall into the trap of acronyms up the ying yang, and I didn’t know what FW was and then I just assume I’m dumb, so we also welcome any suggestions people have. Upcoming town halls are also on our Facebook page, so that’s another way to share them if you like, our membership is such that we can allow for larger groups so I don’t think we’ll reach capacity on any of these things and then the days and weeks to come our teams will continue to try and ensure that these sessions are meaningful for all of you who participate. So I think on that note I will end our proceedings here. Many many thanks to all of you again, for taking part and to those of you who asked questions of us, thank you, thank you for the bravery in doing that and I look forward to speaking with you all in a couple of weeks. So, bye! Take care everyone, be well.

00:34:51    CADA Greg Burbidge (he/him): For those of you just joining us you can find our zoom etiquette, accommodation instructions, and group agreements for participation at the following link:

Please private chat with Taylor Poitras if you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, or if you feel the group agreements are not being respected.

00:36:19    Mark Hopkins (he/him): I can’t hear Melissa. Just me?

00:36:33    Cesar Cala (he, him, siya): I can hear Melissa

00:36:38    Mark Hopkins (he/him): Just me!

00:36:49    CADA Patti Pon she/her: I think just you Mark…

00:37:15    CADA Taylor Poitras (she/her): Hi Mark – everything she is sharing is also in our zoom etiquette link shared above. Are you able to hear Greg?

00:37:31    Mark Hopkins (he/him): Sorry y’all, my headphone batteries died. False alarm!

00:38:07    CADA Greg Burbidge (he/him): I can hear. I also have extra headphone batteries, so am sad Mark doesn’t live close to me.

00:38:23    Marc Lavallee: You Can also message me here for technical Issues

00:46:26    CADA Greg Burbidge (he/him):

00:46:51    CADA Greg Burbidge (he/him): Patti Pon/CADA Black Lives Matter Statement

00:46:51    JD Derbyshire: Thanks Marc

00:56:15    CADA Greg Burbidge (he/him): For those of you just joining us you can find our zoom etiquette, accommodation instructions, and group agreements for participation at the following link:

Please private chat with Taylor Poitras if you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, or if you feel the group agreements are not being respected.

00:59:51    Marc Lavallee: Hi All, Lost the live transcript for a bit. It is called “Live Streaming Service”. Click it, and click on “View Stream on Custom Streaming Service” to get the Transcript

01:05:25    CADA Melissa Tuplin (She/Her):

01:09:25    CADA Melissa Tuplin (She/Her):

01:15:48    Heather Morigeau: Don’t die Patti! Just plant a flag on that hill and you will rally to this mission! 🙂

01:16:04    JD Derbyshire: There will be a count down clock

01:16:46    Pam Tzeng: Fancy timer!

01:17:40    Shari Wattling (she/her): Hello everyone. Letting you know that Trevor Rueger from Alberta Playwright’s Network is also here with me.

01:20:20    CADA Greg Burbidge (he/him): Hi Trevor and Shari! Great to have you here!

01:21:31    CADA Greg Burbidge (he/him): Just a reminder that if you have responses you can use the raise hand feature by clicking participants, and then in the new box there is a “raise hand” button below the participant list

01:21:51    CADA Greg Burbidge (he/him): You can also post questions here for the CADA team and we will keep track of those.

01:24:27    CADA Greg Burbidge (he/him): Of you’re just joining us, we are on a very brief break and will be back on when the clock hits zero.

01:24:49    CADA Greg Burbidge (he/him): When we come back we’d love to hear from you about what questions you still have, and responses to where we are.

01:27:55    CADA Greg Burbidge (he/him): For those of you just joining us you can find our zoom etiquette, accommodation instructions, and group agreements for participation at the following link:

Please private chat with Taylor Poitras if you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, or if you feel the group agreements are not being respected.

01:28:02    CADA Greg Burbidge (he/him): To see the live transcript click just to the right of the red LIVE button at the top of the screen, and select  “View Stream on Custom Streaming Service” to get the Transcript

01:32:20    CADA Taylor Poitras (she/her): The themes are listed as questions here if anyone missed them or would like to

01:37:53    Heather Morigeau: If I was tasked with designing this external working group

I would recommend using Sociocracy-Dynamic governance as the governance model.  In this way each demographic would have their own working groups (circles) and come together to collaborate. It would use Talking Circles to ensure all voices are heard and remove the systems of hierarchy governance which is detrimental to us all.  

I’ve included a basic info video for context

01:38:52    CADA Greg Burbidge (he/him): Thanks for the great info Heather!

01:46:55    Anne Azucena (she/her/siya): Could you expand more on your thoughts as to the make up of your board and leadership team in terms of alignment to the values of this work? Not just in terms of “expertise” but more in terms of centering non-white identities/lived experiences?

01:49:32    CADA Taylor Poitras (she/her): This is important to consider when we think about engaging a working group as well…

01:49:41    CADA Taylor Poitras (she/her): Thank you Tarrence

01:49:51    CADA Taylor Poitras (she/her): (DJ Stagez)

01:50:05    JD Derbyshire: Absolutely. People we know invite people they know

01:54:59    CADA Greg Burbidge (he/him): Thanks Pam!

01:55:03    Kara Bullock (she/her): Yes Pam.

01:55:22    Anne Azucena (she/her/siya): Thank you, Pam

01:57:49    JD Derbyshire: thank you Pam

02:00:07    Allan B. Rosales | he/him: Thank you everyone. I appreciate listening to the discussion. I have another meeting. Take care.

02:00:19    CADA Taylor Poitras (she/her): Thank you Allan – take care!

02:00:27    JD Derbyshire: Thanks Allan

02:00:30    Wunmi Idowu: That’s great news

02:00:53    CADA Melissa Tuplin (She/Her):

02:00:57    CADA Greg Burbidge (he/him): You can register for those town halls already!

02:01:10    CADA Greg Burbidge (he/him): (Thanks Melissa!)

02:01:24    Allan Wilson: Thank you Calgary Arts Development

02:02:06    Elizabeth Smith: thank you everyone ✌️💜🙏👍

02:02:10    Heather Morigeau: This has been wonderful thank you for making space and welcoming feedback – Ill be sharing these town halls in the activist facebook groups I am a part of as well

02:02:17    CADA Greg Burbidge (he/him): Thanks Kimberly!!!

02:02:29    CADA Helen (she/her): Thank you Kimberley!

02:02:47    Michele Gallant (she/her) – Calgary Fringe: Thanks everyone!

02:02:47    JD Derbyshire: Thank you Kimberly

02:03:22    Wunmi Idowu: Thank you everyone

02:03:23    CADA Melissa Tuplin (She/Her): Thank you everyone, I have to step off as well.  See you in two weeks.

02:06:54    Marichu Antonio: I wonder if you have a sense of the % of your town hall participants in terms of level of acceptance and practice of ” the EDIA (or IDEA FW) or the marginalized and the big mainstream organizations. How do you plan to engage more organizations or arts groups that need to practice this FW?

02:08:13    Pam Tzeng: Thank you Marichu. Excellent point.

02:08:43    Marichu Antonio: HI Pam. Thanks as well for your point!

02:08:46    CADA Greg Burbidge (he/him): Great question Marichu!

02:10:01    CADA Greg Burbidge (he/him): I should have posted this earlier. Here’s the last demographic profile we did of the arts orgs we fund. We’ll be updating this next year:

02:10:07    Anne Azucena (she/her/siya): Amazing question – thank you Sable and Cesar 🙂

02:13:02    Pam Tzeng: Thank you everyone. Be well, until the next town hall!

02:13:30    Beni Johnson: Thank you so much everyone! I’ve gotta run, but looking forward to the future consistent conversations!

P.S. maybe theres an idea to get each arts person to bring one new person each time. It was Wunmi who reminded me about today!


02:15:55    CADA Greg Burbidge (he/him): Thanks Beni!

02:16:19    Kara Bullock (she/her): What you describe is something I would be 100% interested in Marichu. Thank you.

02:16:36    Pam Tzeng: Thank you Marichu. Different levels of accepteance and resistance must be acknowledged and unpacked.

02:23:49    JD Derbyshire: Thank you so much Marichu

02:25:05    Mpoe M: thank you Marichu and Justin for bringing up those recent remarks!

02:25:39    JD Derbyshire: Thank you Justin

02:26:15    Marichu Antonio: Thanks JD and Mpoe. We really need to deal with the elephant in the room.

02:26:33    CADA Taylor Poitras (she/her): I have to hop off the call now. Thank you for everyone’s brave and honest sharing. I appreciate it.

02:27:00    CADA Nick Heazell (Him He): The upcoming Town Halls are also on our Facebook page now as another way to share and follow.

02:27:52    Clare Preuss (she/her): Thank you!

02:27:53    CADA Greg Burbidge (he/him): Thanks Nick! I’ll head over there to mark it down as attending :o)

02:28:06    Elizabeth Smith: I am learning please forgive my weaknesses ty

02:28:12    Jeanne Kwong she/her: Thanks everyone!

Contact for More Information

Calgary Arts Development Group Agreements PDF

Business / Arts boardlink

Introduction to Ancient African Wisdom

Dj Stagez’ Ancient African Wisdom Podcast

Gorilla House LIVE ART on Facebook

Add Black Canadian History and Anti-Racism Curriculum to Alberta Programs of Study

Anti-Racist Organizational Change at CommunityWise

Ad Hoc Assembly’s Voluntary Addendum to Engagement

The “Problem” Woman of Colour in NonProfit Organizations

White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh PDF

Citizen Artists YYC Chat & Chew Zoom Meetings

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