November 16, 2018 UPDATE:
Diversity Versus Decolonization: an Honest Conversation in Technicolour
(or How to Avoid Doing a Robert Lepage)
Presented by Visceral Visions & The Museum of Vancouver
Date: Wednesday, November 28, 2018
Time: Doors open 6:30pm, Event 7pm-9pm
Location: Museum of Vancouver, 1100 Chestnut Street, Joyce Walley Room - Main Floor
Entry: Free | RSVP (limited seating!)
When someone mentions "cultural appropriation" or "decolonization", do you feel intimidated or confused – or even angry? Have you wanted to incorporate more equitable practices in your work or organization, but feel paralyzed because you're afraid of making mistakes? Or maybe you're wondering where the line is between artistic freedom and freedom of expression (protest), or the border between censorship and criticism?
Using Robert Lepage's responses to community criticism to his 2018 productions of SLAV and KANATA as a jumping-off point, six brave panelists reveal their best practices on the RIGHT things to do through three case studies – real-life situations in which people like you found themselves in the midst of a very uncomfortable cultural controversy. Talking through the process of how they created a space that resulted in positive outcomes – while ensuring all involved felt respected and heard – we are pleased to present:
- Omari Newton + Andrea Loewen | Re: open letter calling out the Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards for systemic racism
- Shanae Sodhi + Kathryn Shaw | Re: establishment of Studio 58's very first student diversity committee
- Margo Kane + Brenda Leadlay | Re: decolonizing the 2018 Unrestricted Conference
- Valerie Sing Turner, moderator
This talk has been programmed by Visceral Visions as part of its development of DiverseTheatreBC, a digital platform featuring a searchable database of Indigenous and racialized artists, due to launch June 2019.
Please note this event will be preceded by Visceral Visions' brisk-and-brief Special General Meeting.
DiverseTheatreBC (DTBC) is envisioned to be a digital platform that will promote and foster intersectional interculturalism throughout the BC professional theatre sector. Its central tool would be a fully searchable database of Indigenous and racialized theatre artists – performers, playwrights, directors, designers, opera singers, stage managers, and other theatre professionals – to which engagers (theatre companies, film/TV casting directors, indie directors/producers, schools, social non-profits) may access as subscribers. Other digital tools and educational enhancements would be added as demand dictates and funding allows; once established, the goal is to expand nationally to become DiverseTheatreCanada.
DTBC will be a powerful tool for building a more inclusive theatre culture that more authentically reflects Canada by promoting Indigenous and racialized artists (IARA); increasing hiring opportunities for IARA; and fostering intercultural connection, community, and artistic collaboration. DTBC would be searchable by gender, ethnic heritage (Indigenous, African, East Asian, Latin American, Middle Eastern, South Asian, mixed racial heritage), dialects, languages, artistic skills, and other fields as determined by research data gathered through community consultations.
In 2017, the support of a leading group of arts organizations was formalized through the establishment of the DTBC Working Group, whose membership includes:
- Brenda Leadlay, Executive Director, BC Alliance for Arts + Culture
- Dawn Brennan, Managing Director, Urban Ink Productions
- Jay Dodge, President, Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (PACT) | Artistic Producer, Boco del Lupo
- Kenji Maeda, Executive Director, Greater Vancouver Professional Theatre Alliance (GVPTA)
- Phillip Djwa, Creative Technologist, Agentic Digital Media
- Scott Bellis, President, National Council, Canadian Actors' Equity Association (Equity)
- Valerie Sing Turner, Artistic Producer, Visceral Visions | Creative Director, DiverseTheatreBC
It's been said that farmers don't grow crops; they create the essential conditions for crops to grow. DTBC will be a vital tool to break systemic divides, disrupt institutionalized structures, and create conditions under which theatre artists of colour – and by extension, the wider Canadian theatre ecology – can thrive. We are therefore grateful for support from: