Anti-Racism Virtual Town Hall

Anti-Racism Virtual Town Hall

On July 15, 2020, Calgary Arts Development held another anti-racism virtual town hall. The purpose of this town hall was to hear from as many as possible about what is working, what isn’t working, and what you would like to see changed in our programs.

We invited a few people from the community to speak about their experiences to start things off but invited everyone to consider the following questions and share thoughts.

  • Do you see yourself in our programs?
  • Have you experienced a barrier in reaching out or engaging with Calgary Arts Development?
  • Have you had an experience where a barrier was removed, that gave you better access to our programs?
  • If we were starting a new granting organization from scratch, what would you want to see?
  • What would you like to see us prioritize in our work?
  • Where should our energy be applied, knowing that we have finite resources?

The town hall was hosted on Zoom and was interpreted in American Sign Language (ASL). A transcript of the town hall is available below as well as an unedited version of the chat and a list of links that were shared.

Patti Pon: Hello welcome, as people start joining us for our virtual town hall. We’ll wait a minute or so before we get started.

Um Helen maybe can you let me know when we feel like we have the bulk of the people who registered with us, like the number? Like we’re pretty close to that registration number?

Yep I can.

And we’ll get going.

We’re at 57 and we’re expecting 77, so we’re getting there.

So we’ll wait a little bit longer and then get started.

Okay well maybe we’ll get started and given that we’ve got a little bit of preamble so there’ll be a few minutes of just going through some technical instructions and all those kinds of things before we get underway with our guests. So, welcome everybody to our third anti-racism town hall. For those of you who don’t know me my name is Patti Pon, I’m the president and CEO of Calgary Arts Development. Thanks all of you so much for joining us today. Speaking for myself personally, these town halls have been just a really great space to hear from people, to be able to have conversations and respond to questions that individuals have had. I really appreciate the time that you’re all taking with us to take part in these conversations in our community, so welcome. 

I’m going to hand it over to Melissa Tuplin, a member of our team, who’s going to walk us through some etiquette and Zoom protocols. So Melissa, over to you please. 

Hello everybody, my name is Melissa Tuplin, I’m the Community Investment and Capacity Manager here at Calgary Arts Development and my pronouns are she/her. We have Marc Lavallee running the event for us today, thank you very much Marc. He is the person that you should speak to if you have any technical issues throughout the event. We have two ASL interpreters today as well, Kimberley and Janice. They have renamed themselves on your Zoom windows to be ASL interpreter and then their names, so you can easily find them in the participants list. 

While we really love to see everybody’s wonderful faces in these events, in order to ensure that the interpreters and speakers are actively visible, we are asking that if you aren’t speaking at the time, you turn your camera off. You can click the top menu of your video then and select “hide non-video participants” and then only the speaker and the interpreter will appear on the screen and that makes it much more simple for those using the ASL interpretation to not have to be swapping their pinned videos out, especially as Kimberley and Janice will be switching off throughout the event. You can still pin a video to your main screen through that same menu, the three dots on the upper right-hand corner of your Zoom screen. We are also using a transcription app called – that is the red box at the top of the screen if you would like to use that. Unfortunately, it is only in English for the time being, although I know they are working on other languages, and it is not  100% accurate but it can be used to follow along with today’s conversation. 

We are recording this meeting as we have in the past for future reference and to share with folks who couldn’t make this time work. So that will be recorded and posted along with the full transcript on the website in a couple of weeks here. We are trying to stay on top of Zoom updates and we are endeavouring to keep your private chats private, but please be aware that when we download the recording and the chatbox we may be able to see private chats, so I just wanted to be very transparent about that with you. However, any private chat in the recordings will not be uploaded to the website and we will include the accurate and edited transcript. 

For those of you who have joined us for the past few town halls you will know that we use group agreements to share expectations and a commitment to safety and bravery in the spaces that we occupy together. So the agreements for the online town halls and our online events like this have been adapted from the agreements that we use for our peer assessment meetings. Those have been available in the registration links and are available on the website and I think somebody from our team will also post those in the chat if you’d like to follow along. The agreements are extensive and so in the interest of time and making sure that we can leave lots of space for folks to share, I’m only going to share a few that are really important to us today in this space. 

So the first is that we will share language that respects everyone. We’ll speak from our own perspectives and we’ll avoid making generalized claims or assumptions about others’ identities or experiences. We’ll agree to not interrupt others and keep our mics on mute and our cameras turned off unless we are speaking. We’ll be mindful of how much time and space we each take up in discussions and make time and space for others to speak. We’ll recognize that vulnerable interactions can occur and create space to acknowledge and discuss hurt or offense if it does. We will honour the knowledge and the experience that others share – no one knows everything but together we know a lot.

We acknowledge that we are all learning and may be at different places on our journeys. We will 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 that we should focus on the impact of our words rather than the intent. We acknowledge and respect the unique traditions and rights of different First Nations, Métis and Inuit nations and communities. We recognize and acknowledge that Black, Indigenous or other racialized voices are not monolithic or representative of all Black, Indigenous or radicalized experiences or voices. This conversation today is centred on the voices, experiences and perspectives of Black, Indigenous, People of Colour, and racialized people.

We recognize that asking people to share in this space is a request that requires emotional labour and vulnerability, and Calgary Arts Development commits to the promise that there will be no retribution against people for the stories and the perspectives they share, and we do ask that all participants in the space with us today commit to the same thing. Any participants who use harmful or disrespectful language or who are actively disregarding the group agreements will be asked to leave the town hall. If they choose not to leave they will be removed by one of our hosts. 

My colleague Taylor Poitras is here today as somebody who could be called an active bystander. If you feel uncomfortable, unsafe or see that a participant is using harmful or offensive language, or want to share anything privately with Calgary Arts Development staff, please privately chat with her, she is here for that today. Taylor, perhaps you could introduce yourself so that people can find your screen and your name in the participants list.

 Hello everyone! Here I am. 

 Hello Taylor!

Hi hi!

Thank you. We have invited a few guests today to get the conversation going, and then we will be opening the floor for questions and other comments after that. We really hope to hear from as many of you as possible today, so if you would like to speak, please open the participants list at the bottom of your screen and you can see a raise hand button. You may also indicate that you would like to share in the chat, or drop any questions that you have in the chat and we will collect those in a document and try to get to as many folks as possible. But as I say, we’ll start with our invited speakers and then move on from there. 

When you speak, please clearly state your name and pause before speaking so that people have time to find your screen and …. For the interpreters. 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’s easier to find you, and please feel free to update that with your pronouns if you so wish. Again that’s the three dot menu on the top of your video screen there or from the participants list. 

Greg and I, as we said, will be collecting questions from the chatbox and watching for raised hands. And if you have any questions or challenges with the technology or accessibility please chat with myself or Marc Lavallee M-A-R-C L-A-V-A-L-L-E-E, or any other member of the Calgary Arts Development staff who is identified by CADA in front of their name, but myself, Marc and Gregory and Taylor will be actively watching the chat. 

I think that is all for me, so I would like to move over and introduce my colleague Sable to do a welcome to this space today. So Sable? Over to you, thank you very much.

Oki! Niitaniikowa, Sable Sweetgrass. Hello! My name is, Sable Sweetgrass and I am the Specialist for Indigenous Programs with Calgary Arts Development. Thank you all for joining us today. And so this conversation is taking place here on the traditional territory of the Niitsitapi people, Niitsitapi is what we call ourselves, Blackfoot is what people around the world recognize us by. So the Niitsitapi people as the Siksika, the Kainai Nation which is where I’m from, and the Piikani nation and we also have our relatives to the south, which is the Nomoskopi Piikani, they’re known as the Blackfeet in northern Montana, so that is the Blackfoot confederacy and then there’s also the Tsuut’ina Nation which is Dene and the Stoney Nakoda peoples out by Canmore in that area there, and they have three bands, the Chiniki, Bearspaw and Wesley make up the Stoney Nakoda nation. So today we are on Treaty 7 territory which is a treaty that was signed in 1877 between the Niitsitapi the Blackfoot, Tsuut’ina and Stoney Nakoda. But today we also have within Treaty 7 territory we share this land with all of our brothers and sisters from First Nations across Turtle Island as well as Métis and Inuit. 

And then we also now share this land with people from all over the globe, from all around the world call this place home, here in Mohkinstsis and in southern Alberta, and so the most important thing for Indigenous people who have lived here for thousands of years, since time immemorial, has been the land—because the land is what gives us everything, it gives us our water, it gives us our food, our shelter, it gives us everything, and so it is very important that we all, who call this place home, continue to make sure that this place is a healthy place, a healthy environment for our children, thinking not just of our generation, but the generations to come and how the actions that we take today will affect them in the future and so we must be very careful about what we do and this is something that is a responsibility of all people regardless of race, regardless of religion or culture. We all love this land and we all must take care of it. The animals, the plants, and the landscapes, the mountains, this is very important. So I will leave it there and thank you.

Thank you very much Sable. Sable is very wise and I learn so much every time I hear Sable share the land acknowledgement and as always I invite you when you hear someone offer a welcome and a land acknowledgement, to actually take that time to think about what it means that, what the words Sable is sharing, and how they mean something to you. As much as it is an acknowledgement, a protocol of where we are, it is also an invitation to you to think about what this relationship is that you have with the land and with the original peoples of this place. And as I think about our town hall today, in particular our guests who will be sharing their stories with us, I am reminded of the oral traditions of the First Nations people and that how they share who they are and how they have withstood on this place since time immemorial, is done so through storytelling. And it’s a tremendous gift to be able to hear and receive those stories. So thank you for reminding us of that Sable, and again I think a good place for us to start our session today. 

So if you’ve opened up the participants list, which Melissa shared with us is at the bottom, you’ll see all of the people who are on the call today. And in particular I just want to call your attention to those of us who have CADA C-A-D-A in front of our names. That is the CADA team who is here with us today and you can see that there are quite a few of us, and thank you all very much for joining us on the call today and I hope that it is is also a sign to all of you that this work and these conversations that we’re undertaking around anti-racism, around equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility are an organization-wide effort. And I’m very very honoured to be a part of the team who has just taken this on with such integrity and sincerity and really brought their whole beings into these conversations so thank you very much. If you have any questions for any of us at CADA, you know, Taylor is your person specifically if there’s a particular item or matter that you want to raise concerning today’s town hall, but all of us there are available to you and please feel free to chat, or call upon us if you need to. 

So today’s gathering is, as Melissa said, one where we want to hear from as many people as possible about your experiences with our programs here at Calgary Arts Development. At the time we announced the town hall we also included a series of questions that we would invite you to think about, consider, respond to in preparation for this meeting. There were seven questions: Do you see yourself in our programs? Have you experienced a barrier in reaching out to or engaging with Calgary Arts Development? Have you had an experience where barriers were removed that gave you access to Calgary Arts Development and/or our programs? If you were starting a new granting organization from scratch, what would you want to see? What do you need in order to feel included and participate in events? What would you like to see Calgary Arts Development prioritize in our work? And Where should our energy be applied, knowing we have finite resources? 

It’s quite a mouthful of questions. Maybe if I could ask one of our teammates to just type those questions into the chat box then there’s a way that you can reference them by scrolling up. If someone could do that that’d be awesome, thanks. And so those are the questions that we’re holding in this space and we’re asking for responses to or comments to, and before we get underway with that part of the agenda, we have invited three individuals from the community to speak and share their experiences with Calgary Arts Development, in particular what has worked, what hasn’t worked, what would have been helpful or what would they like to see changed? So we have three people with us today, Jessica McMann, Toyin Oladele and Jaqs Aquines, and so if I might, I’d like to invite Jessica to start us off and share her insights with us. Over to you, Jessica.

Jessica McMann: Hello, this is Jessica McMann. Okay, umm, yeah? 

Patti Pon: Yeah! You’re good to go!

Jessica McMann: My name is Jessica McMann, I am from Cowessess First Nation in Saskatchewan, I am a member of the ‘60s Scoop, a thing that happened back then and I was displaced into Calgary and I was raised here and I have known Calgary as home and Mohkinstsis as home for my entire life. I was raised by third and fourth generation settler families of Ukrainian and Irish descent. My last name is McMann as you can see, that’s from my dad, and I have large families outside, I’m also married into the Kainai nation as well. And so I’m grateful that I was asked to share some things from here for, about this, about these grants and programs, and my experiences. 

I, before I guess maybe five or six years ago, I tried applying for some grants at CADA when CADA was still in the building that was at the corner of the, it’s now the Telus building I think, it was like an artist hub building, and I was successful in receiving a few dollars to go to Ontario to attend a circus event. However, my flight was $1,500 and my lodging was much more than that, and so I had to turn down the grant because I was not, there wasn’t enough monetary support to go to that event. That was the only grant I received after applying a lot to this program. I feel like I’ve been very lucky with experiencing granting processes through a variety of various mentors in my own community, my community I’m referring to would be the Indigenous Contemporary Dance community, where I have experienced the changes from, like with Canada Council, not AFA, but definitely with Canada Council to the new models. And I hadn’t actually ever considered applying to CADA again until recent years when I heard about an ArtShare grant and that experience, from the change from before to now, was really amazing and maybe it’s because my first experience was with an ArtShare grant. And I found that by not having to fill out forms and figure out buttons and struggle through what other granting agencies have as their online application forms, was just really really nice. And I think that there was a chance to actually build a relationship with the program officer whereas most of the time you don’t really know who the person is behind the screen in Ottawa or in Edmonton doing these things. And so I have experienced that barrier being raised and also the massive structural change that happened with CADA from my experience as a good thing. 

The one thing that I really rely on is travel funding dollars. And that is something that I would really like to see from CADA. I can have projects sponsored or projects funded through other things, but the hardest thing for me to get is, pre-COVID and now, is to find travel funding dollars that is adequate to cover the rising cost of traveling outside of the country and in the country. And that does prevent some performances and shows from happening. I think that’s the biggest thing for me personally, in my experience and I think that I come from a place where I have been very lucky to have lots of people help me figure out the granting process, so from other agencies, so I’ve, you know I’m not, I don’t experience as many barriers as most other people might, and I recognize that too. And so you know I really appreciated the barriers that were reduced for Wild Mint Arts to act as organizational funding and something that we would have never been able to do if it wasn’t for the people who worked really hard with us to be able to access that. Yeah. Which is really nice. 

I don’t really, I think that’s all I have to say, because I experienced a really not so great time and right now it seems really great for me personally, so you know I’m, there’s probably a lot more things that could be done better, but I can’t really speak to those right now. Yeah. 

Patti Pon: That’s great Jessica, thank you very much for starting us off. What I’d like to do is invite Toyin and Jaqs to speak as well and then once we’ve heard from all three of you there may be other comments that the three of you might want to share or respond to, and then we’ll open it up to everybody if that’s okay. Uh, so next we have Toyin Oladele. Toyin over to you.

Toyin Oladele: Thank you very much Patti for inviting me, thank you everyone. I really appreciate this opportunity and because I’ve taken I think a couple of times I’ve taken advantage of my individual connection with a lot of people to kind of share a little bit about my story and the story of, about newcomers. My name is Toyin Oladele and I’m originally from Nigeria. I arrived here 2017 October and I pretty much started looking for the arts community before I got here and trying to like connect to people who know what I need to do or how I need to find my way. It took me a while to eventually get to that spot where I thought okay I’m making progress and of course it took me a longer time to even get to know about Calgary Arts Development and so before I go to that spot of actually applying for a grant, getting to know what a grant is and things like that. So I think I’m going to start from that angle of saying that one of the things that worked for me or that has worked for a couple of, I am not just speaking for myself, I think I’m also speaking for a couple of newcomers, that, whose stories I’ve heard lots of times, and whose experiences have kind of enriched my knowledge, so I’m going to be sharing from that point of view also. 

One of the things that worked for me was the flexibility of conversation in the sense that the experience that I was exposed to was the ArtShare which is one we’ve been using at the Immigrant Council for our programming. It was very flexible having that conversation with CADA staff, explaining what we were planning to do, once we got to that stage, what had happened for those who might not know where the immigrant Council for Art Innovation is ICIA, we’re, what we’re trying to do is to make sure that the gap between newcomers and the arts community is kind of reduced and hopefully eventually taken out. Where, when newcomers come to the city as creative people, it doesn’t have to take them five years, it doesn’t have to take them being scammed, it doesn’t have to take them going through all sorts of very very unpleasant experiences before they discover where the art is, because for other professions it is not like that, they don’t have to go to the Children’s Hospital or any of the hospitals and connect to like a practically look and search for opportunities, no.

They are kind of like established programs, established exams or interviews, things that they need to do to kind of get them back. If you’re a doctor or whoever you are, there are exams that you need to write as an accountant and then you just need to write those exams and get back to where you were before you left your country. So all we’re trying to do is create something like that to create it for artists so that they are not literally on their own. It was very flexible communicating that with the team, with Taylor and Jordan back then, it was not difficult communicating what we wanted to do. 

What I realized was that having that conversation with them maybe kind of like gave us more ideas and opened our minds up more to the possibilities in the city that we did not even know. One of the challenges we had, I’m going to say what didn’t really work was the fact that the knowledge of the fact that there is Calgary Arts Development was not even there. This is the arm that takes care of creative people.

I wonder if it is possible to make CADA more visible and more, yeah more visible to people who are new to the city. And not just CADA, generally the arts community and I know that I’ve had this conversation a couple of times with Taylor, even last week I think we still talked about it, but the goal I’m trying to achieve with this conversation is that if it is possible to do so that people don’t have to stay confused, because what then happens if you don’t, a lot of people don’t know anything called grant. Let’s start from there. Whatever country they’re coming from they have probably never received a grant. I might know the word grant but I don’t know what it means in practical terms, in practical terms of actually receiving one, and you know create a report or doing a program with it–no, because I had never received one before. So the knowledge of the fact that there’s actually something like this would be very very good for people that are new. 

I’m also going to say the process of mentorship—for someone like me it might not have been extremely difficult but I’ve spoken to and I’ve met a whole lot of people who were not very lucky. For me I found people in the community who you know assisted me, mentored me, kind of like read what I wrote, we had the back and forth before I eventually submitted what I was going to submit. But some people aren’t that lucky and they don’t find anybody to do that for them, so they get really frustrated and then this mental barrier comes into play. What then happens is that even when tomorrow you come and you see them, hey, there’s this grant and or there’s this program, or even the artist relief fund that came out because of COVID-19, I know more than, about 10 to 15 artists who could have easily applied, but they didn’t, and I tried to convince them, I tried to like, give them information about how it is not so difficult to apply for because at some point or the other they’ve either experienced the situation where they didn’t know how to go about writing the grant, they’ve had that difficulty, they’ve hit that wall. And so the next time you tell them Oh there is, it is not so difficult, you can actually still do it, they complain about—I don’t want to use the word complain, but they are concerned about their English, they’re concerned about a lot of things.

Even when you clearly write it or state it there that you know what, we can get interpreters for you, you don’t have to be worried about that, they still don’t come forward. There is an email I’ve been expecting from a lady who just got here, for almost two, three weeks. She asked me if she could send the email in her language. I said it was fine, even though I do not speak her language. I figure out I can always get someone to read it out for me, she still hasn’t sent the email, so those are the kind of issues. There is a mental barrier that I don’t think into the people that can apply for that grant. And I think it’s one of the things we can do or one of the things I think might help that is being, making those grants more specific, being more available to that community of people who are new into the city who don’t know what a grant is, who don’t know what Calgary Arts Development is, who don’t know all those kinds of things but they are artists and they would like to be a part of that community. 

One of the things that also worked for me that I wanted to quickly touch base on is the recognition of, I thought I really appreciate the fact that every effort we made was recognized, was appreciated and it was given the right support. In the sense that if there was something we needed along the line that was not initially provided we would get a message, we would you know get suggestions and you know, I remember Taylor would say it would be useful to talk to this person, I think that he or she might be able to help you better and things like that. That was very important because for someone that is entirely new there’s a lot of things going on. You’re in the city, you’re new, the weather might not be pleasant, you’re coming at a time when it’s not, so there’s so many things there’s the mental health aspect and if you want me to then write a grant and not necessarily recognize the uniqueness of the type of art that I bring and who can help me, it might be very discouraging, so I’m very glad that happened. I’m very glad that everything we put on paper and we discussed was appreciated and given the right support. 

I’ll finally say that one of the things I figure was a little bit difficult for me personally and one or two people that I’ve spoken to in fact, this morning, is the detail situation. Like, I understand that when you’re writing a grant of course, you want to know what you, what this person wants to write, wants to use this grant for, you want to know the information, you want to know how they’re going to go about it and use the funds and things like that. But have you ever thought that people who don’t even who probably don’t even know the name of the second the next community to where they live, like they’re so new they only know how to get themselves from their house to maybe downtown, or maybe where they’re working or maybe to your office, and you kind of want them to give you details of who, I mean, of the who, what I realized with that is that it is very very discouraging because when they go back to put those things on paper they sometimes don’t have answers.

They have an idea of what they want to do, they know what they want to do, they know how they want to do it and they will kind of explain it in the best possible way, however there are some details that they might not necessarily be able to give, especially they’re just sending emails to you and things like that. They might want to have deeper conversations maybe with someone that of course speaks their language or something. They might want to have, I’ll say it better, they might want to start the journey before they get a lot of details. So if it is possible that as it is from the beginning asking for a whole lot of details of the who where what why and things like that, because it might increase the time that they need to spend on the grant application, it might increase the time that they need to, it might actually make them give up on the process at some point. Like, okay, you know what I should put this down here I don’t think I’m ready for this year and then they go back and that might be it. And then they have this idea at the back of their mind which then becomes a mental barrier that oh, the process is not for newcomers. 

The reason why they say that is because if you’re asking them can you list the 15 venues you are going to use for this event in the next two years, for crying out loud, I might not be able to give you that. I might be able, I probably would have spoken with some people that would give me an idea of where I’m going to use for the first three and then I’d figure the rest out, but if you want to find out, okay well we’re going to need for the next one year, I mean we might not be able to figure that out, or they might not be able to give you all those details. So if you want to follow up as they go, as against wanting to have everything at the beginning that would also be very helpful. So basically those are the things, I think as we go on I think I might be able to share more but I think that those are the things that I would like to share first from the top of my head. Thank you very much.

Patti Pon: Thank you so much Toyin, we appreciate you taking the time. And now we have Jaqs Aquines and I’m looking on my screen. Oh there you are! Hello!

Jacqueline Aquines: Hi, thanks everybody for having me and for inviting me into this space. My name is Jaks Aquines, I identify as a FilipinX queer person, I was born in Tiohtià:ke, it’s a territory of the Kanien’kehá Montreal and I have lived I grew up here in Mohkinstsis Treaty 7 and returned in 2010.

I would like to actually thank the Black communities and protesters and organizers who are able to build such conversations and platforms that centered black voices in Calgary and to bring to attention that there is a need to recognize that systemic racism is an actual thing in Calgary. And it is these, this forum has been sparked because of the murder of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and many other senseless murders of Black people, and we’re now in the space, like in a cultural revolution at this point to understand that our government, our institutions, our funding models and the arts communities are very much immersed in white supremacy. I want to talk actually about equity, which is the removal of systemic barriers. Much of my practice has been informed by my work with the Anti-racist Organizational Change project through CommunityWise as part of the advisory group, also with voices of the Calgary coalition of two spirits and racialized LGBTQIA+. I am a photographer, a videographer, and a writer, I’ve also worked with ActionDignity as a program coordinator for the Initiative for Diversity Inclusion and Equity in Nonprofits, and I was asked, was honoured to actually be nominated as an assessor for a granting stream here at CADA, and I want to talk about that process, how it actually, while there are voices in the room that represent equity-seeking communities, those who have the privilege of being white, cis, heteronormative, the people that were in that space were not informed with an equity lens, an equity-seeking lens, or understood the way that it seems like our lenses were pitted against each other.

I was with another BIPOC person and it was our voices versus the other two, three non-BIPOC voices for the entire duration of the granting process for assessing multiple projects. And while it was very clear for some instances of equity-seeking, it wasn’t like that obvious for some because to understand equity with lived experience is an entirely different way of learning about it. I think we can all, I think many people here in this participants list were present and actually spoke at the City consultations on systemic racism. And I applaud you and I appreciate and thank you for all of your shares and if anybody here who hasn’t been able to hear or watch any of that material and content, I do recommend that you have an opportunity and make time to see and hear those stories. They were brave people who were also put into a space that was unsafe.

But I’m bringing that up because equity is something that, that even as a BIPOC person I needed to let learn through a process. The AROC process is something that gave me time and space just like the chat and chews that are hosted by CADA where we get to talk about and unpack experiences and effects of systemic racism. But going back to the assessment, I think there’s, what could have been done differently, is to onboard assessors so that there’s a shared language around what systemic racism is, what barriers, artists, sorry, artists in Calgary in Treaty 7 experience, because you could go through an entire 12 years of high school, of education, years in university and never talk about systemic racism, or even talk about race, unless if you’re intentional about making those conversations available to you. And, and I think, and I’m not saying that there isn’t value to having white people in the space for being assessors at all, the people in the working group at AROC, were intentional about making sure that they understood their privilege, their power dynamics that were at play in the spaces that they worked in and utilized their voices so that if there was opportunity to be an advocate for somebody who was equity-seeking they would use that voice. 

Now that we’re, like many people, have been exposed to hearing stories of the effects of systemic racism of violence, of people losing their jobs, people just being targeted, there needs to be a shared understanding of how to improve that equity lens when you’re an assessor when you’re in a position of power, when you’re in a position to change peoples’ lives, literally. I think even, whether you’re white, Black, Indigenous, a racialized person, I think there is value to understanding how to navigate with, with the language of tearing down systemic oppression because we’re working, we’re working in this system that doesn’t serve people who it, the system, isn’t designed for.

Good intentions do not solely create equity-seeking lenses in practice. There has to be a way to build that capacity to push against it. And I know that CADA is up for a lot of opportunity, much opportunity and, and there are mechanisms in place right now to change the way things are playing out. But while those stories that were shared, in the words of Nenshi to, as a symbolic way, a symbolic way of hearing peoples’ experiences, I don’t, I feel like it wasn’t really necessary to prove that systemic racism is a thing with very traumatic traumatizing consultations. And I’m saying that because all they need, all the City would have needed to do was look through minutes in, in sessions, in meetings and you can find racist system-protecting statements from people in power saying that they’re afraid of giving up the power that they have, which is why something like the Community Representation Forum back in 2018 didn’t evolve to something beyond being a motion passed in Council, which blew a lot of money of taxpayers. 

But when we’re getting back to processes, the people in the room need to be equipped with the language that will serve people who are equity-seeking. And I think that having people with lived experience, more informed in equity-seeking processes, can help shape and improve these assessments. I gave my notes to someone on the staff after about how arduous the process was in that we seem to have been pitted against each other. And I was told that I got a little quiet after a few, after the second day, although I still kept my points. I got quiet because it’s just exhausting, I think. We don’t need to be on different sides. I know we all have good intentions. It’s just understanding a different lens.

And I, and I hope that those voices, who were sharing their stories are heard and and really understood, not, not just taken for granted for a symbolic sharing of stories at a consultation but really understood for the lived experiences that need to shift how we operate. I’m getting tired of all of these talks. I’m being honest, about systemic oppression, about sharing stories of pain and, and what’s not working. Because, like, I’m getting tapped out about hearing about what’s not working, when we are in a system like we are in the water of white supremacy. And then that’s not going to change unless we really look at systemic change. And we’re talking about, like, small incremental changes that are only going to be transactional instead of looking at a whole tear-down. And I, and I, and as change of how the systems are presenting to us.

And I heard, I was at that BIPOC discussion, I was at the town halls, listening, and, and these chat and chews, and there are people who are being protected, who have positions of power in this theatre and performance industry, who don’t, who aren’t even, who are safe because people don’t want to do the call-out culture thing. We need to find a way of having restorative conversations.

And yes, Melanee Murray Hunt even said, we need to have a space to have conversations around lateral violence, because even though I’m BIPOC, even though I’m a person who’s racialized, there still are ways where I’m harming other people who are racialized who are in equity-seeking experiences that I don’t share. And I, I feel that, and I, these are valuable and now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that we should get rid of these town halls, but a way of having a generative conversation or space to, to build a utopian future, a science fiction, social justice future that we could live, walk into because I don’t think we ever imagined these things, we just, we’re stuck in this… yes co-design, thank you JD. We’re stuck in, in swimming in white supremacy and I, I know some people out there probably don’t really feel comfortable saying white supremacy, but I’m saying that, you know. I grew up in southwest Calgary, as one of the few racialized people thinking like, oh, I just happen to not look like everybody else. And I’m saying this because we’re forced to live through like two degrees of education looking at western culture looking at colonizers like champs. And then we come out and realize that, oh, wait a second here. There’s, there’s, I’m going to do really bad math, 358 more degrees of the world that we need to understand, and then renegotiate the two degrees that we were forced to live and understand.

So, returning back to assessor processes, yeah, I think, I think it’d be really valuable to, for everybody to do the internal work and, and listen to some posts from the Calgary Cultural Mosaic Foundation. Iman did some immense work and in tracking a lot of the transcriptions. And I think organizations like CADA, The City of Calgary, like monstrous corporations have the responsibility of informing people who apply for grants, about what is systemic racism, what exactly is systemic racism, what is equity, what how inclusion and diversity really are like thoughts and prayers like Iman said. They don’t have a grounded value because you can’t measure them.

Anyways, thanks.

Patti Pon: Thank you very much Jaqs for those words and again, people are responding in the chatbox and thank you very much for that. 

So I wonder, I’m just mindful, 4:00, we have about a half an hour or so, for Toyin or Jessica or Jaqs, is there anything that the three of you might want to sort of respond to or comment on from what you heard? I’d invite you to do that. And then for the rest of us on the call, if you have questions or comments that you’d like to make, again, Melissa and Greg are tracking those questions so you can either raise your hand through the participant chatbox or you can type your question or your comment into the, into the chatbox and we’ll be sure to address it. So, maybe I’ll kind of start back at the beginning, Jessica Is there anything that you wanted to sort of add further or respond to, and you’re you’re welcome to say No, I’m good or add anything else.

Jessica McMann: Yeah, umm… thank you, Jaqs. I’m not very articulate with things that I want to say sometimes anymore since, since COVID started. So, I have permission to share something, an experience with CADA that is not, I have completely different experiences with CADA than my husband Elijah does. And I’ve heard a lot of good things about the ArtShare program. And I know for myself, that the ArtShare program was really an easy application process.

I had a discussion with Jordan and Sable, and I can’t remember who the other person was in the room. I think Taylor was there and there was somebody else, I think. And, you know, then it was an email. And just like a quick project outline and I got, I got funded to create an Indigenous classical music CD. And I thought oh this is like the best grant application process ever—a conversation, and like not having to write and write and write, write and write, when somebody when writing may not be, and English may not be somebody’s strongest strongest skill set. With Elijah, he, I was helping him through the ArtShare process. And one of the things halfway through the ArtShare process he almost didn’t want to finish because he felt discriminated against as an Indigenous transgender individual, and he, for his ArtShare application he had multiple emails, multiple revisions, he had to write 10 pages in a Word document, and clarify more, clarify more, additional questions additional questions until he was approved for his ArtShare grant. And to me, that is, that is the type of systemic discrimination that’s here, especially against racialized transgendered individuals.

And so I just, I get emotional because it makes me really mad because I know that me as a cisgendered queer Indigenous woman could go through that ArtShare program and have no problems, but my husband could not. And it just makes me so mad because there’s other issues here that are not being addressed and nor do the people who are affected feel that they can share these stories so they have to have other people like myself come and share these stories. There was never a clear answer from CADA about why, even though things were clearly written out in the grant, in his grant application, why he kept having to re-clarify things like seven or eight times. And so yeah, so that’s what I wanted to speak to, that yes there’s lots of good things and I’m glad that I had permission to share this because it just makes me so mad and I have to be quiet sometimes right. So, yeah.

Patti Pon: Thank you, Jessica. Toyin was there anything else you wanted to add?

Toyin Oladele: Yes, thank you for asking. And what I really want to add is about something I already touched base on, when I spoke the first time about mental barriers. The reason why I really want to talk about it is because it is that thing that is not seen, but that occupies a very important place. It is that, that thing that is not visible, like colour is visible, you can say oh yeah because of my colour I can get that or because of my colour I’m getting this, that is easier to explain. But the issue of mental barriers is something I really want to break down to the best of my ability, so that just in case you meet people from my community of people from, anywhere really, that have symptoms of this thing, you can easily know what is going on, and put it as a part of you, as a part of your, your processes, ways to further assist them. 

So, for instance, I’m gonna use myself as an example again. I’ve applied for grants, and the second one, I honestly did not have to do a lot of revision. Just like, you know, just to cut just there for the second one we didn’t have to, it was very clean. It was about explaining what we wanted to do and it was about the fact that it was understood and basic communication, not because I cannot communicate well, but it was really flexible. The first one wasn’t so much like that I guess because, of course, a lot of details were needed, and I felt, I felt like it was because I was applying for the first time, I was a newcomer, I felt like I wasn’t, I wasn’t trusted, to be where I felt like I’m being asked all these questions because some of those questions took me like a long time, a lot of revisions a lot of double-checking, which is okay, I understand that sometimes you have to fine-tune things, I’m not offended by that. But there were some points where I was beginning to feel maybe somebody’s suspecting you’re gonna run away with the money or something or maybe you’re not going to do a good job or things like that. And we literally had to keep pushing because we had worked on so many things on the project and we had to continue.

And that brings me back to what I just want to reiterate. That automatically created a wall in my mental space. For me, I could have been able to handle it well, like maybe before a whole lot of people, it’s not the same people who are just coming, people who are just hearing of the word grants for the first time, people who are just, people who had to literary summon all the courage they had, and had to speak with 10,000 people before they were able to courageously pick up their phone to call CADA or send that email.

It took them a lot of push, it took a lot of encouragement to get them to that space. When they finally get to that space and they send that email they get that invitation, they make that call, and they’re finally trying to explain to you what they’re trying to do and things. And those questions then, that makes them feel, makes them feel better when some people have been practicing for a decade more than a decade before coming here. So when those questions, when those, when those comments, when those compositions that that sound like we just want to make sure you can do, or things that kind of like subtly insinuate that they’re not able to do something, it just creates this stop, this wall. And they leave the place, going on to think that, well, like I said, it’s not, it might not just be for people like me, maybe you when I’ve been in Canada for another five, six years, and I’ve tried to do things my way or struggle with things, maybe they will listen to me when I go back.

It’s just like asking someone to come and do a job and saying that you need someone with and saying that, oh, you don’t need experience, you just need to, you just need to come, apply. And then the person comes and you’re saying, you’re asking for things that would have come out of experience. You know what I’m saying like, you just think, Oh, you don’t need experience just come. You only need to see that you’re an artist and we’re going to be able to figure this together. But then you start asking questions that would need them to, to have done something like that before they can answer. It’s automatic, you don’t have to see, there’s now weariness that call’s ended, and they just become not interested. 

Another thing a lot of people have to overcome before they’re even able to reach out, is what we’ve been talking about—the race issue. And this is not just for, this is just for the BIPOC community generally it is. And apart from the race, authority, because authority is different in, in a lot of countries, the way things work and the way people on the authority and the people in authority, work together. It is different for so many people. A lot of countries when you say a Calgary Arts Development, they don’t even see themselves having access to that kind of office, to that kind of environment, to the staff working in that kind of place, then only but from where they’re coming from.

It is not something people like them even have access to, maybe just a few government officials, and their children, and they’re, I mean this is I’m just being very, this is very personal, for me, and a lot of people like like with, that kind of name, it is something that very many people that are just, well connected, people with money in the community have access to. So when you say that, that is the first thing that comes to your head. However, if they’re able to relate, and they’re able to, you know, come to you without having to break down every other aspect of the project or every aspect of something they’re trying to do in a first conversation, I think it’s creating a lot of encouragement. Thank you.

Patti Pon: Thank you very much Toyin. And then Jaqs, if there’s anything further you wanted to add? After we hear from Jaqs we have Melanee and Wunmi, who have raised their hands so I’ll be inviting you to ask your questions or make your comments then.

But Jaqs anything from you?

Jacqueline Aquines: No, I think we’ll just open it up to the rest of the floor. Thank you.

Patti Pon: Okay, thanks so much. Melanee Murray-Hunt. Hi.

Melanee Murray-Hunt:  Hello, hi. Can you hear me? See me? Okay. Hello everyone, thank you all for sharing. Thank you, Jesse, for sharing that was really moving and powerful. Thank you Jaqs and Toyin, everything that has been said is really resonant with me. In terms of my trajectory in Calgary I’ve mentioned this in several different meetings and situations, as an activist artist I’ve seen this evolution and progress in the community. CADA, I remember when it was first started, and it was started by one of my neighbours who is a white male and, Terry Rock, and watching Calgary go through the process of having visible minorities and racialized people in positions of authority within funding organizations, has really meant a lot to me and I’ve had very positive outcomes and interactions with CADA. And I think it is because there are racialized people who are sensitive to those concerns staffing that organization.

I would like to echo something that I think was in the thread to everyone and I think it’s important that that point be amplified by multiple voices at this point is that the instruction and the, sort of, enlightenment of people who are chosen for assessment, as assessors in the community, I have a lot of observations about the Calgary art scene, some of you might know, and I’m not, I’m not saying this as a cloud kind of thing I’m saying that like just the exposure that I had through my husband, as the critic for the Herald for 10 years. And a theatre, just a general theatre or arts reporter, not even theatre just arts reporter and watching the evolution of racialized consciousness take place has been heartening and inspiring, to a certain extent. However, I want to amplify that the education about racialized art processes and and approaches to storytelling, whether it’s visual storytelling or through dance or through theatre, there is a barrier in the community in general. There’s a, there are, you know like I came through theatre and I’m working on more film now, and film is a very diverse, you know film reaches many, many people, and television on a daily basis.

There is a kind of problematic situation that arises when assessors don’t have the education. I’ve seen a lot of dismissal or dismissiveness because there’s an insularity in certain art forms where people don’t even understand why you’re saying what you’re saying, the way you’re saying what you’re saying, how you’re saying what you’re saying, and it’s a kind of reflective thing.

So you have CADA which is staffed with marginalized people, visible minorities, people who have different orientations and all of that, gender designations, etc., like you have that within the staff, but I think various arts communities have to have some sort of formal education about the value of, of other ways of expressing. And other concerns, and I call them my obsessions, as an artist I have various obsessions, things that, you know, occupy my mind and and things that are not necessarily initially relatable to people that have lived in a community that’s been rather insular, had reflected each other back for many many years, bringing up people in the educational system of these arts practices that reflect their values and their, and it’s so unconscious.

Jackie mentioned water, and it is, it’s so, it’s like a fish in water I think that’s a bit of a reference to Robin DiAngelo—kind of like you don’t even know that you have blinders and obstacles and barriers to something, or to a way of thinking about things. And one of the things that I said at the town hall meeting, is that there’s nothing generous about allowing other voices and other points of view to come in through the arts. As a Black person and since all of this, as Jackie mentioned, has been a, has been catalyzed. The deaths of Ahmoud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd in public view, these are the catalysts for the conversations that we’re having now. And I think that we have to look at the fact that a diverse arts community has always enriched Western culture.

It is from Picasso’s emulation of quote-unquote primitive African art, to every single musical genre, almost every single one that most of us enjoy, that has been from Africans, it spread through the diaspora or from Africa itself through, through these hybridizations and these cultural clashes due to the transatlantic slave trade. So it is not an act of generosity, to allow us to the table. It is what has enriched our culture, the very original cultural offerings of the quote-unquote new world have often been, the source of that has often been African people, Indigenous people. Jazz is a mixture of African, Indigenous, and European art forms like musical expression. Musical theatre itself has a lot of its naissance in how Africans expressed. Jerry Lewis, whatever you think of him, many comedians would go uptown to Harlem and emulate and replicate these art forms as Wunmi has shown many times in her UNGANISHA project.

So it is, even if you don’t understand it, even if it’s weird, even if it doesn’t resonate, even if you have an unconscious superiority complex, sorry, about the offerings of other people, doesn’t mean that that is true. When jazz started, when a rock and roll started, this was called N-word music, this, this was totally held in contempt. And so as people in the arts community assessing your peers, there has to be some kind of understanding that even if it’s not an easily palatable or digested approach to storytelling, or, or point that you want to make it doesn’t mean that just because you think so, because you’ve been supported and lauded and given opportunities that you don’t even know about, doesn’t mean that you actually know the value of it, and that you can assess that value immediately. And I think it’s really, really important to start talking about that in the assessment process. You know, I have been labeled angry Black woman, as if anger isn’t a source of creativity, as if every hip hop dancer that you enjoy hasn’t worked out some kind of rage in those moves, those movements.

I would, one of the things I’d like to see is a land acknowledgement for hip hop, for jazz, you know for someone to say, I remember there was a play at ATP and it was, you know, sort of, you know, was just a story but unconsciously there was a whitewashing of the origins of hip hop. So all of the kind of demographic that go to the theatre, they were unable to understand the origins of this music. There needs to be a cultural land acknowledgement, there needs to be some sort of, when you do rap, when you do hip hop, to say this was started by African people living in the ghettos of the United States. Because as a, as a Black American Canadian I carry so much stigma with me. And as soon as people, you know, there’s there’s, and as Africans there’s so much stigma. There’s, instead of recognizing that that’s the source and origin of humanity and civilization, there’s you know images of, of, of starvation and civil war. All of these things are perpetuated through the media that can land in someone subconsciously. 

So in terms of assessment in terms of how we assess our peers, something has to be done so that these rote dismissals, angry Black woman, or whatever, whatever tropes that come up, that there has to be some ability to self-analyze. Like I’m pretty vibey and I’m feeling a vibe around the word anger, but your anger and your emotions are what it’s, where your art comes from, like you can’t sit and be afraid because a racialized group has anger. Nobody, you know, you have to understand, that that anger you know, as my husband would say, tragedy plus time equals comedy. He quotes someone when he says that, but anger plus time equals art as well. So I think that’s it and that’s just one minor example that might be, that might be missing on people in the community. 

The other thing I want to talk about is visibility and tokenization if, you know, in terms of assessing artists. A lot of my time is spent like not going out and sitting at home and writing and not being out there. Sometimes I go through phases where I am and where I’m not. I know working with Wunmi, I know that, like, I’m pretty sure Wunmi’s, Wunmi because she works on this rad project and it’s a huge kind of multimedia spectacle, that maybe people aren’t out once a week at the whatever, maybe their projects maybe they’re toiling away, maybe they’re not in the mix, in the same way. And so, that visibility, you know.

It becomes very social here, and this was brought up in another situation that I was addressing, which had nothing to do with me or anything but I saw that like those social levers become more important than the goal of the artist and the work of the artist and the process of the artist. And that’s the thing about an insular small predominantly white community, probably dominated by males, is that that conversation and dialogue and all of those things that would happen if people were on the scene every five seconds, often don’t happen. But it doesn’t mean that the work is something that is not worth serious consideration.

I’ve been in assessment at CADA and one of the things that was great about with, so Jordan, when he was leading it and he would always ask us to look at our prejudices and our preconceptions about the community and people in the community and the work in the community and what we come to the table with, and I really appreciate that about CADA. I think that in all of the whole community though, there needs to be more of a conversation about that because once again, it’s not an act of generosity to have us at the table; you’re not letting like the poor, you know meagre minorities at the table. These people in the throes of survival often have the most powerful things to say about our society, and often have some of the most creative and resourceful things to contribute. If you are, if you are dealing with things every day, you have to come up with a way to entertain, distract, analyze, survive your situation, and that contributes to the art that you bring to the table. So it’s not like, okay, we’re going to do our, you know, once a year Black History Month, you know, nod to the minorities; you are actually enriching your own practice, you’re actually enriching the community. 

One last thing and I’ll end on this, there’s a YouTube video that said, what would America be without, without, well I’m from the States, so what would but it’s basically North America, what would it be without Black people? And because of the Protestant English culture that we live in and I think this applies to Asian people, I think this applies to Indigenous people, to Latin people, to Middle Eastern people; what would the culture be? It would be a whole hell of a lot more boring, and it wouldn’t be as rich as it is. This diversity actually makes us who we are. And it’s not a nod of generosity, you’re not like oh I guess I’ll be nice to the minorities, you’re actually giving yourself a gift by letting us and and exploring your own blocks and barriers and letting us in at the table. So I just wanted to say that. 

And I once again thank you for this opportunity, CADA and Patti and for the people who spoke, every single one of you really resonated with me, and I agree that the access of, to, you know, to funding say for immigrants etc. etc. all of that, you know, this is our lovely goals that we can work on together, so thanks.

Patti Pon: Thank you very much, Melanee. We have Wunmi and Pam who have raised their hands and we want to be sure to hear from them. I just want to give people just a time check. We’re at 4:26 so some of you may have to leave at 4:30. And if you do, thank you very much. We will continue on to hear from Wunmi and Pamela for their comments and I would encourage and invite any of you who can stay on to continue to participate to please do so. Once we end those conversations I’ll share a little bit about our next town hall in two weeks time, and what we can expect there. So, if you have to leave, thank you very much for joining us. That said, Wunmi please, we welcome your, your thoughts.

Wunmi Idowu: Thank you so much, Patti, and thank you for everybody who has spoken so far. I just wanted to chime in a bit about my experience as an arts equity broker for ActionDignity in 2018. I actually implemented strategies for art equity consultation with various different groups who are arts organizations or individuals in the city. And it was very interesting because we wanted them to speak about cultural equity challenges in the arts and cultural sector.

We wanted to discuss some, you know, issues that they face and come up with some type of research and action-based research from what we heard, and it was really useful for me to be able to hear everybody out and see how impactful being access, being accessible for grants is. And a lot of the South Asian and the Indigenous and the Asian groups that spoke, spoke about language barriers and spoke about the opportunity not to know exactly what is required from the grant application because they don’t really understand what they’re reading, and having the information dispelled to them in a way that would make it easier for them to consume would allow them to understand exactly what they need to do. And if you want Patti, you can definitely contact Marichu about the research that I have done that they have created into a program now just to get more in-depth information of what has happened and how that has changed the trajectory of artists coming to ActionDignity and asking for funds.

I also wanted to mention, you know, marketing and communication is very very big. And we are always busy running around doing multiple things. And I’m just wondering where CADA is advertising their grants funding and advertising who they are as an arts-based grant funder because if I didn’t do my research, and my due diligence, I wouldn’t have found CADA. And I believe it’s very important for more visibility for equity-seeking artists and those who are new immigrants to be able to know exactly who you are and how to find you. Maybe getting some type of information through to CCIS or through to the Centre for Newcomers for other artists who just came into the country to be able to know where they can access this funding. So I wanted to also mention that because that was another issue that was raised during that opportunity that I had with ActionDignity that they didn’t know where the funders were and how to access it. Thank you.

Patti Pon: Thank you so much Wunmi and, yes, we are trying harder to ensure that we reach out to our other partners like ActionDignity, Toyin’s organization the Immigrant Council for Arts Innovation, trying to reach more communities and certainly welcome any other ideas or outlets. CCIS Calgary Catholic Immigration services, actually sponsors the New Canadian Artist Award as part of the Cultural Leaders Legacy Artist Awards. So, yeah, thank you for reminding us that always going to the usual places isn’t how we’re going to find the, those who don’t know that those are the usual spots.

Pamela, over to you. 

Pamela Tzeng: Hi everyone. Good to be in this virtual space with you all today. I just wanted to bring up a couple of thoughts in terms of the question of, like, if you’re starting a new granting organization what would you want to see or prioritize and just kind of dreaming of possible programming, grant programming that could support a lot of the important issues that were raised earlier in the conversation.

So I wonder about the success of past small, like, experiments grants, although I actually as an artist had a lot of challenges in writing that grant it was, I don’t even think it was ever I started, each time a grant and was never able to submit it I actually got really discouraged halfway through. But that was the process then and I see that within the granting forms that it’s shifted and that that experiment was also an experiment in a format of a grant, of a program. But I wonder about a program, a micro-grant program that’s specific to newcomers that is allocated specifically for artists who have just come and, therefore, the accountability measures and language and everything can be measured in a different way.

And also I’m just in tracking and saying, oh, measure it in a different way. We have to like acknowledge that we’re working in a system that is measuring and equating success by, like, a colonial structure right, so like I went, I did a biology degree. I learned how to do scientific writing and actually that supported me in actually being able to figure out how to write a grant and to do research, having come from a science background. And that is my privilege and fortune. And I think that that is not everyone’s experience and so, like, for example, thinking of my experiences that I’ve learned how to work the system.

If that sounds, that sounds really horrible like I’m not trying to work the system but I’ve learned how to adapt to a system and when I think about developing, not only as an artist but as an arts professional, it’s like all opportunities these days, including like, arts management programs, etc. are called, framed within how to deal with existing systems. It’s not about innovating a new system. And so, a new approach, so I think that’s important to keep in mind. And I think there’s a really big gap that I think we’ve all had conversations in many town halls past, which is a mentorship.

My dream would be for there to be a program that’s specific for mentorship or that dedicated time for supporting folks, navigating their careers and these granting bodies, because folks that do not have access to be paired with someone who, who are in waters alone and trying to figure out their way, it’s like if there’s a way to link that but also to have it, I think everyone tries to volunteer their time, I myself try to volunteer my time as much as possible, and support others but we all know also that, especially for BIPOC artists like we are spread effing thin and we’ll do as much as we can, as much as we can to love and support, but there does come a point when burnout is real. And I’m just trying to think, that in the thinking, what are the ways CADA can support. And then, alternatively also I’m thinking about a comment around the time we’re in now and kind of like a lot of BIPOC folks disclosing their experiences with racism in the community, and and Jaqs’ kind of comment about like us being, like I would say myself I’m trying to be sensitive to call folks in, rather than call out, but there’s also, like, conversations need to be had.

And I wonder about a lot of organizations; that a lot of organizations have really great intent but whether or not they are, whether there needs to be an alternate body like CADA to fund and offer, I don’t know maybe this is off the chart, not a huge public program, but that actually supports paying for a third party, so that these discussions these dialogues can happen between groups of artists with specific artistic leaders and etc. etc. Like what are the ways that we can not just brush these things under the ground, but have like a constructive conversation and acknowledgement of what has happened past and how we can move forward. So, I don’t know what that looks like. But I know that for myself there are many conversations I need to have, but it’s extremely it, I seek counselling, because I have to deal, like, because of those experiences. Um, and I’m really fortunate. I have a really awesome counsellor, but that with my, my small income that takes a lot and then to think about, I need to find money to have, to pay for a third party witness to be able to have these conversations with people is is just like, when I’m already putting myself in a vulnerable space is unreasonable. And I think CADA has the potential to support a lot of us to do this work that I think a lot of us are willing to do if we were able to create the context safely for ourselves, which is with a consultant and administrative labor, unfortunately. So, there we go. Those are my points. Thank you all.

Patti Pon: Thank you very much, Pamela. Toyin, you want to add something else?

Toyin Oladele: Yes, very quickly. It’s very interesting that this conversation is going on, because everything everybody just said was what myself and Taylor discussed last week, because I’ve been doing a lot of research about what, because one of the things we’ve been doing in ICAI is providing resources information and kind of like one on one mentorship, helping people navigate and things like that.

It brought me to a conclusion that the work is a lot. There’s a lot of volume, and we might not be able to or, let me say it’s gonna take a very long time for us to be able to achieve what we’re trying to create. So for like, I always compare other professionals, there are established, established platforms or processes for them to get back to what they do. And what myself and Taylor, Taylor and I were discussing last week was what the ideas I had was; how we can assist newcomer artists to get back professionally? So whether they are art administrators or artists, whatever, how they can we navigate in a more professional way, mentorship is a huge part of it, and I sent to all and I’ve, Taylor mentioned she says reported that email to Melissa and we had a discussion about a couple of cities that are already doing this.

I had a meeting with the New York Foundation for the Arts, interestingly, and in Toronto also had a meeting with the Arts Council they’re how they’re able to create a mentorship program for newcomers. Just for newcomers. And of course, for other communities also but being that that’s kind of where my focus has been and that’s where my research has also been. So this process makes it easy for people that are just coming in, not to like be waiting to find your way, or resources or information or, but when they go to CCIS or Centre for Newcomers, even though CCIS supports a category in the Mayor’s award, when I came in I asked one of the staff, where staff were the artists, if I have the email so I have proof, where she thinks I can go for as an artist, she told me she didn’t know.

So, but if there is an established mentorship program, something where you come as an artist and you can apply to or you can connect with and you’re assigned a mentor who then woks with you to like design a project or, and it’s not about the project, it’s just about the experience of going through that project, the things you learn the people you meet the contacts you make, which is why we have networking events right. The connection you build in the process of going through that project, it helps you then establish yourself as a professional in the city. I’m going to send the link to the chat so that everybody can see it and you will understand extensively well that we had, you know, I had in my discussion with Taylor last week. I’m so glad everybody’s doing it because it’s like words we use, it’s just like everyone was in that meeting last week. It’s just about creating a connection, a professional connection, not just you randomly, hoping one day, like I randomly walked into Arts Commons more than four times, hoping that I would meet somebody that would like say okay this is what I do, what do you do here? I see this is what you do, how can I be a part of it?

Before I was able to meet people that then helped me so we can have something that is established, something that is concrete, something that is from The City something that is from Calgary Arts Development, and people at the, the team at the newcomers agencies, they all know about this. It’s not something some people know, and some people don’t know if they know about it like oh you’re an artist. Good. There’s a mentorship program that has government assistance and blah blah blah, you can go there. And you know it’s easier, like you’re a doctor there’s the set of exams, you have to take it is kinda if we can. I know that you might not be able to replace or it might not be able to totally occupy the same thing with other professions because art is very diverse and individual based, but at least it will be a good starting point. And I’m so glad to share the links. I’ve already shared them with Taylor and the team, I’ll do that same here too so we can all read and hopefully this can be done someday soon. Thank you.

Patti Pon: Thank you so much Toyin and Taylor has started to put some of those links in the chatbox but please put more in if you know of them.

Thank you. I think we don’t have any current raised hands, and maybe what I’ll do is just take this moment to talk a little bit about the next town hall and then if others have comments that you want to raise, that’ll give you a couple of minutes to kind of think that through.

Helen Moore-Parkhouse: There is a raised hand. 

Patti Pon: Oh, there is a raised hand okay sorry I missed it. Who has, who’s raised? 

Helen Moore-Parkhouse: Mpoe has a raised hand, sorry.

Mpoe M: Hello, Patti…

That’s right, that’s right. One of the things that I love going back to, and I love that people raise this metaphor of water, one of the things that I love going back to is that white supremacy is the water, not the shark. So, and this can be translated as well into grant writing, that we often go for solutions that are the shark per se, and not necessarily addressing the water. So, and we see, we see symptoms of white supremacy in the fact that, for example, we’re constantly, or, I mean BIPOC folks, are constantly asked for clarification on their applications. They are disproportionately rejected in applications so we’re seeing symptoms that this, the body of water is not meant, it was not built for BIPOC folks.

This is coming at this discussion, I love it, it’s coming at a really, really great time because my organization has just submitted a grant so we just went through a grant debrief process. And we identified that grant writing is, has become so systematized and codified that it’s a very very particular skill that only a few people have, to be honest. And, yeah, it takes many years to learn and all of that. And I feel that many people who submit grants and are accepted, often their grant writing skills are top-notch. They’re amazing. However, when I look at the other picture as to who is rejected their ideas are brilliant. So there’s a disconnect there where I’m just going to be frank right now that grant writing sometimes allows for crappy ideas to come to fruition, because they possess the skill. And then, yeah, and then shut down. So we’re not really assessing ideas, it seems like we’re assessing the skill. 

So I think, in looking at solutions, we really should probably be assessing how, sorry, not assessing, be addressing how are we going to start moving towards assessing ideas, because BIPOC folks are brilliant. They have, yeah, they’re genius, they’re, yeah, so brilliant. But it makes no sense that they’re disproportionately rejected. So, there is a gap there that exists and I personally do not know how to, because I don’t work in grant writing, I don’t know how to mitigate that gap. But perhaps that is a way, an entryway for CADA to come in to see how do you mitigate that gap? Thanks.

Patti Pon:  Thanks very much Mpoe. Pam, you have your hand back up Pamela.

Pamela Tzeng: I’m sorry. I’ll make it super quick. Which is just that I, when we think I’m thinking about our youth, like BIPOC youth, and how challenging it has been for myself, and a lot of my peers, but for up and comers that like, the way programming has happened has taught many people, has taught us, or internalized that even if some sort of programming is calling out for BIPOC artists, there’s something, there’s an additional barrier of believing that it’s for you. Do you know, like a barrier of trust, a barrier of confidence, a barrier of basically white supremacy, that has always taught you that you are not enough.

And I question how we actually address that, and uplifting the voices of our youth aside from of course mentorship opportunities. That’s just one really great thing but I think like we’re addressing something that’s very like internalized and I don’t know where the funding agency like, again, the programming has the capacity to expand or attend to these things by supporting either those who are trying to guide or by finding some sort of other outreach approach, an alternative outreach approach. And I know CADA has been trying to work on this but I think there’s more that can be done. And I just wanted to make sure that that was tossed into the pot.

Patti Pon: Thank you. Duly noted and, again, I think we said this before but just in case, notwithstanding that we’re recording these events so that others may be able to watch them, we’re also taking notes for all of the kinds of suggestions that people are making or the questions that you’re posing. These are exactly the kinds of things that we want to be able to take to the external EDIA working group as an example, and I’ll speak a little bit about that in a few moments. But for now, Wunmi you wanted something else to add.

Wunmi Idowu: Yes, thank you so much Patti. I just wanted to add to what Pamela said in regards to youth being mentored, to be able to access grants. What we’re doing with ActionDignity with the Black projects, the BLACK project stands for Becoming Leaders Acquiring Critical Knowledge. I’m actually one of the steering committee team members there and we’re going to be having grant sessions, so they can learn how to apply for grants, and that’s coming from Woezo Africa Music and Dance Theatre in that program, so that’s just to let you know that we’re going to have a bunch of youth from the ages of 12 to 22, and we’ll be able to provide that for them.

I also wanted to segue to being an assessor for CADA. I appreciate being at that table, I appreciate being called to assess grants and especially when grants are written by Black artists, I take it as something that is very dear to me because I want to see my people succeed. I feel that we have been so marginalized for so long that having their voice at a grant assessing session is really really amazing. And I know that when I’m there I’m always on the defense; I’m always ready to dig deep more for the others who are making the decision with me to realize where these people are coming from, just because I have the lived experience, I’m also a Black artist and I know what it takes to be where we need to get to and how much work we have to do in the, in the, I guess woodwork before we come out to apply for a grant application, and I really appreciate if we can have more of our voices there whether there’s training for assessors or, you know, assessors specifically for BIPOC artists, I would really appreciate having more voices there so it’s not just me trying to defend the whole community. Thank you.

Patti Pon: Thanks Wunmi.

I’m, okay, I’m kind of leaning on my teammates here to tell me if I don’t see any other raised hands. We can see all of the links that are in the chat, we’ll make sure to include those as part of the transcript that gets shared out later on. And I just want to share with you some information about our next town hall meeting. Thank you again all very much for staying with us.

As we’ve gotten to have more experience with regard to these town halls, there’s a group of individuals internally, working an EDIA internal working group who are helping us craft the topics and the agendas for each town hall, based on what we’ve heard in the previous town halls so we hope that this is an iterative process. Also very much what I heard from, from our three guests, but also the others is, you know, these conversations and these consultations and sharing our stories and all those things are fine and wonderful. At a certain point something has to give; something has to change. We have to be undertaking different actions, and I wanted to just iterate here again that we absolutely intend to use what we are hearing as the basis upon which we undertake our own changes here certainly within Calgary Arts Development and affect what we can within the roles that we play in our community.

And so, in that respect, the next anti-racism Town Hall is on July 29, so two weeks from today, and the focus of that town hall will be to develop a shared vocabulary, a shared language around EDIA as we continue to develop our own anti-racist practices. You know, as you can see from the participants list we get quite a wide variety of individuals who take part in these conversations and and so language, as we all know, matters, and and keeping it plain language, easy to understand, recognizing that not everybody comes at the same place or is in the same part of the spectrum is something that has become increasingly apparent over these last several weeks. So that will be the focus of the next town hall.

With regard to the EDIA external working group, you’ve heard us talk about this for quite some time. We are going to populate that group through a nomination process and information and the call for nominations will come out sometime next week. What we’re looking for is a group of individuals who have deep experience and knowledge, working within EDIA with social justice, with other kinds of community-led community activism kinds of processes, and the kinds of organizations that we would be looking to nominate these folks are not only from the arts community, but from throughout the sector who work in the areas of anti-racism, equity, social justice, and similar organizations.

So, we will put the specifics of the call together and get that information out to people. If you would like to be considered, you also are open, there will be room for self-nomination as well so I know that many of you actually on the call today have asked us about the process or what we’re going to do, and offered your expertise, and so that self-nomination process will be available as well. And so check our website, again, we’ll try to use our own channels of social media and pushing the word out, share it amongst your communities as you receive those messages if you follow us, and we want to inform as many people as possible about this opportunity and and also just get to learn more and meet more people in the community. So, that’s happening on that front. Stay tuned to next week.

And again, if you happen to be with an organization and are invited to join the EDIA working group, that is, if you’re with an organization who undertakes this work, we would hope that your organization will cover off your fees. If not, we will cover off your fees. So this will be paid time that we are asking of the members of that working committee. Okay, I think that’s it I’m going to do one last check-in with my team to see if there’s other any other hands raised in the chatbox. Greg has invited people to, if you have vocabulary that you’d like us to cover, please let us know through our various social media platforms, or reach out to any of us at Calgary Arts Development; our contact info is available on our website and we would welcome that opportunity. I think that is it for us. So, again, you’ll find out more about the gatherings, we will have specific details about July 29th’s meeting soon and thank you all. I’m sorry I’m just, I’m reading all the chats as well because I want to make sure we’re covering everything. So that’s it for us. So thank you all very much. I really appreciate you being with us, and we’ll see you soon.


15:02:05 From CADA Melissa (she/her): Hello everyone, and welcome! We are excited to have you join us.

15:02:28 From CADA Melissa (she/her): We have two ASL interpreters today, Kimberley and Janice. They will be swapping out throughout the session.

15:03:06 From CADA Melissa (she/her): I’ll speak to this in a bit, but in order to ensure that the interpreters and the speakers are actively visible throughout the session, we are asking that people try to have their cameras off if they are not speaking.

15:03:35 From CADA Melissa (she/her): This will ensure that interpreter and the speakers stay on everyone’s main screens throughout the session without having the swap their pinned videos out

15:16:49 From CADA Melissa (she/her): Hello all! For those who are just joining us you’ll see we have two ASL interpreters, Janice and Kimberley, who have renamed themselves ASL Interpreter Janice and ASL Interpreter Kimberley, and will be swapping out throughout the session by turning their cameras on and off

15:17:47 From Mpoe M: thank you Sable 💛

15:18:11 From Wunmi Idowu: Thanks Sable

15:19:10 From CADA Melissa (she/her): To ensure that the interpreters and the speakers remain visible on the screen, we respectfully ask that if you aren’t speaking, you have your camera off so that it is easy to view the interpreters and speakers. Click the 3-dot menu on your screen, and click “Hide Non Video Participants” and you’ll see the speakers and interpreters in either Speaker or Gallery view

15:19:49 From CADA Melissa (she/her): If you are speaking, please do not feel compelled to have your video turned on!

15:20:46 From Pamela Tzeng: As always – gratitude for your words Sable.

15:22:26 From CADA Melissa (she/her):
Do you see yourself in our programs?
Have you experienced a barrier in reaching out or engaging with CADA?
Have you had an experience where barriers were removed, that gave you access to CADA or our programs?
If we were starting a new granting organization from scratch, what would you want to see?
What do you need in order to feel included and participate in events?
What would you like to see CADA prioritize in our work?
Where should our energy be applied, knowing we have finite resources?

15:23:09 From CADA Melissa (she/her): The questions can also be found here:

15:23:28 From CADA Taylor Poitras (she/her): Welcome Jessica!

15:23:31 From Pamela Tzeng: Hello Jessica!

15:23:43 From CADA Sable Sweetgrass (She/Her): Oki Jesse

15:29:45 From Jessica McMann: Oki Sable and Pamela

15:44:25 From CADA Taylor Poitras (she/her): Thank you Toyin

15:45:28 From ICAI – Toyin Oladele – She/Her: Thanks Taylor

15:48:57 From Pamela Tzeng: Here is a link to the archive of the public hearings:

15:49:17 From CADA Patti Pon She/Hers: Thanks Pam for posting!

15:54:01 From Pamela Tzeng: Yes, to ensure that all assessors are literate with equity and anti-racist lens.

15:54:06 From CADA Gregory Burbidge: Jaqs mentioned the great program from CommunityWise for Anti-Racist Organizational Change. CADA used this, and it’s highly recommended. Definitely check it out and consider it for your own orgs:

15:54:35 From Melanee Murray-Hunt: Agreed, Pam!!

15:54:47 From Melanee Murray-Hunt: And Jaqs! Thank you for bringing that up!

15:55:44 From Beni Johnson: yes Jaqs, YES.

15:55:48 From Wunmi Idowu: Absolutely Jaqs, this change is needed!

15:56:00 From Pamela Tzeng: <3 Jaqs for your clarity, knowledge and heart.

15:56:31 From Beni Johnson: People are more afraid of being called racist, than actually being accountable for racialized decisions.

15:56:54 From JD Derbyshire She/They: This is a call for c0-design

15:57:16 From Melanee Murray-Hunt: The vision of the future really resonates with me.

15:57:30 From Michelle Robinson: white supremacy white supremacy white supremacy

15:57:31 From Wunmi Idowu: Yes Beni, it’s baffling

15:57:42 From Jessica McMann: Jaqs Yes!

15:57:58 From Melanee Murray-Hunt: Agreed with Beni. People have to stop fearing being called Racist. We are all racist!

15:58:00 From JD Derbyshire She/They: Re-imagining ourselves into new realities

15:58:04 From JD Derbyshire She/They: Thank you Jaq

15:58:29 From Jason Mehmel (he/him): Love the idea of a sci-fi utopia exploration!

15:58:36 From Wunmi Idowu: Internalizing our perceptions

15:59:18 From Pamela Tzeng: Thanks Jaqs!

15:59:19 From CADA Taylor Poitras (she/her): Thank you so much Jaqs.

15:59:29 From Melanee Murray-Hunt: Thanks, Jaqs!

15:59:31 From Wunmi Idowu: Great job! Thanks Jaqs

15:59:40 From JD Derbyshire She/They: Speculative Design: 3 Examples of Design Fiction

15:59:59 From Mpoe M: thank you Jessica, Toyin, and Jaqs. greatly appreciate you all and your brilliance ✨

16:00:13 From Pamela Tzeng: ^^ Double that

16:00:14 From CADA Gregory Burbidge: Thanks Jaqs!

16:04:22 From Pamela Tzeng: Thank you for your and Isaac’s courage to share your experiences.

16:04:52 From Pamela Tzeng: *Thank you Jessica for sharing your and Isaac’s courage to share your experiences.

16:05:24 From Pamela Tzeng: *typo day* 😉

16:05:27 From Wunmi Idowu: Thanks Jessica for sharing

16:05:38 From JD Derbyshire She/They: Thank you Jessica

16:06:43 From Pamela Tzeng: Thanks to Jessica for sharing her and Elijah’s experiences.

16:12:27 From jaqs aquines (she/they): thank you Toyin

16:12:31 From Diella Ocran: great points Toyin.

16:13:19 From Jessica McMann: Thank you Toyin

16:13:29 From Pamela Tzeng: Thank you Toyin

16:14:02 From ICAI – Toyin Oladele – She/Her: Thanks everyone…I am glad I could share

16:14:30 From JD Derbyshire She/They: Thank you Toyin

16:17:53 From ICAI – Toyin Oladele – She/Her: thanks JD

16:18:00 From Diella Ocran: yes

16:18:35 From jaqs aquines (she/they): 100%

16:19:01 From Pamela Tzeng: Yes Melanee

16:21:09 From ICAI – Toyin Oladele – She/Her: oh yes Melanee

16:21:29 From ICAI – Toyin Oladele – She/Her: recognition and respect for the art

16:25:05 From ICAI – Toyin Oladele – She/Her: Yes…. I find that with newcomers….a lot of ideas from them!

16:25:20 From jaqs aquines (she/they): Truth

16:26:12 From Beni Johnson: 100%

16:26:53 From Wunmi Idowu: Thanks Melanee

16:27:47 From JD Derbyshire She/They: Thanks Melanee

16:28:05 From Diella Ocran: Thank you so much Melanee

16:29:00 From CADA Patti Pon She/Hers: Thank you Wunmi we will reach out to Marichu

16:30:47 From Wunmi Idowu: Thanks Patti

16:31:27 From Mark Hopkins (he/him): I’m on the board of the Centre for Newcomers; we’ve been implementing art programs over the past few years, but certainly have more work to do! If you have any suggestions, feel free to drop me a line at, or check out CFN’s programs at

16:32:00 From ICAI – Toyin Oladele – She/Her: Thanks Mark, your works make a lot of difference

16:32:53 From Wunmi Idowu: Thank you Mark for the sharing this information

16:33:06 From Mark Hopkins (he/him): And I (and the folks at CFN) are incredibly grateful for your work, Toyin!

16:33:25 From Michelle Robinson: I run a book club on Settler/Indigenous and have not qualified for funding. same with my podcast. it’s all self-funded because all levels are so difficult to access.

16:35:08 From Joshua Dalledonne (he/him): Highly support a mentorship program like Pam is suggesting.

16:35:17 From Melanee Murray-Hunt: Mentorship is good but mentors need to be racially sensitive.

16:35:33 From Michelle Robinson: BIPOC should always be paid because the stats show BIPOC are not given equity.

16:36:37 From Wunmi Idowu: Great idea Pam

16:36:48 From Jessica McMann: I agree

16:38:05 From JD Derbyshire She/They: Thanks Pam. Great ideas

16:38:24 From Wunmi Idowu: Amazing points! Thank you Pam

16:39:48 From Melanee Murray-Hunt: Racialized artists need to mentor racialized artists OR there needs to be training for mentors in how to avoid fragility and embrace challenge to their comfort levels.

16:40:31 From Pamela Tzeng: Here is a mentorship I just became aware of in Winnipeg. Might be useful to reference:

16:42:11 From CADA Taylor Poitras (she/her): Toronto Arts Council’s Newcomer & Refugee Mentorship Program:,must%20identify%20as%20professional*%20artists.

16:42:46 From Melanee Murray-Hunt: Interesting. A reading list for people who mentor racialized people such as Robin Di Angelo, etc. As artists of color, you are right Pam stressed to capacity. For mentors from the dominant culture, the unconscious bias needs to be addressed.

16:42:46 From CADA Taylor Poitras (she/her): NYFA:

16:42:53 From CADA Taylor Poitras (she/her): I shared a few Toyin but keep adding 🙂

16:43:15 From jaqs aquines (she/they): Thank you so much Toyin and for all the work you do with ICAI

16:43:33 From CADA Taylor Poitras (she/her):

16:43:39 From JD Derbyshire She/They: Thank you Toyin

16:43:46 From ICAI – Toyin Oladele – She/Her:

16:43:56 From ICAI – Toyin Oladele – She/Her:

16:44:13 From ICAI – Toyin Oladele – She/Her:

16:44:24 From ICAI – Toyin Oladele – She/Her:

16:45:30 From ICAI – Toyin Oladele – She/Her: Few ones I gathered….so excited everyone agrees this is needed

16:45:54 From Melanee Murray-Hunt: I will volunteer as a grant writer for racialized people.

16:46:14 From jaqs aquines (she/they): 100%

16:46:15 From Melanee Murray-Hunt: And bridge that gap to make ideas palatable to the dominant culture.

16:46:18 From Melanee Murray-Hunt: culture.

16:47:01 From CADA Taylor Poitras (she/her): Thanks Mpoe!

16:48:32 From Melanee Murray-Hunt: Thanks, Mpoe!

16:48:55 From Mpoe M: 💛

16:49:24 From clare preuss she/her: Thanks so much everyone. Off to a meeting now. Looking forward to ongoing growth and change in community, Clare

16:50:25 From Pamela Tzeng: B.L.A.C.K. Project amazing!

16:51:42 From Melanee Murray-Hunt: Yes!

16:51:53 From jaqs aquines (she/they): Thank you wunmi

16:52:02 From CADA Taylor Poitras (she/her): Just going to throw this in here! We are always seeking more assessors. You can email us your interest or fill out this form:

16:52:17 From Brigitte von Rothemburg: The youth groups may be eligible for our Grassroots grants:

16:52:37 From Brigitte von Rothemburg:

16:52:41 From Wunmi Idowu: Thanks Taylor for sharing this link

16:52:44 From CADA Taylor Poitras (she/her): Please share with your communities.. we still have a few committees to form this year and lots of changes we can implement even this year!

16:52:59 From CADA Taylor Poitras (she/her): Thanks to everyone for sharing

16:53:09 From Brigitte von Rothemburg:

16:53:41 From CADA Nick Heazell (He/Him): The next Anti Racism Town Hall takes place on July 29, 2020, 3:00pm, to register visit

16:56:06 From CADA Taylor Poitras (she/her): Going to also share this anonymous comment to the group so that it’s saved in the chat transcript: Is it possible to have assessors for grants aware /consider newcomers experience? I.e. what we go through to understand life in a new country when they review an application, but still remain fair to all applicants.

16:56:43 From CADA Gregory Burbidge: If you have vocabulary you’d like us to cover in the next town hall, please let us know here, on FB, Twitter. Wherever your CADA friends that care about vocabulary can be found.

16:57:26 From Melanee Murray-Hunt: Also, remember folks from the States are newcomers as well. I know- the Evil Empire etc, but my experience as a newcomer from the US was hard. I carry “ghetto” stigma and

16:57:34 From Melanee Murray-Hunt: Evil Empire stigma. Just saying.

16:57:55 From CADA Taylor Poitras (she/her): Thank you again to our speakers! And everyone who shared today

Public Hearings

Anti-Racism Town Hall


Speculative Design

Centre for Newcomers
Email or visit

Foundation Mentorship Program Example

Toronto Arts Council’s Newcomer & Refugee Mentorship Program

RBC Newcomer Arts Award

NYFA’s Immigrant Artist Mentoring Program

Toronto Arts Foundation Mentor in Residence

CADA Assessor Nomination

Calgary Foundation Stepping Stones Grants

Register for the Next Anti-Racism Town Hall

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