Updated: Apr 1, 2021
As a part of our third cohort of the Rozsa Executive Arts Leadership (REAL) program we challenged our participants to work in pairs to tackle a complex issue facing not only their organization, but also the not for profit arts sector. We have already shared three of the final presentations through the Rozsa Foundation Review, and this entry completes this four-part series.
Presented by Nikki Giguere (Vertigo Theatre) and Trevor Rueger (Alberta Playwrights Network)
As a result of the final REAL project Nikki and Trevor identified some shared internal institutional perceptions and beliefs regarding their organizations. Particularly around inclusive hiring and access, working towards gender parity across creative teams, creating loyal audience/members, and accessibility and inclusivity within their respective genres. However, much of what they understood internally differed from some external perceptions in the broader community.
Some of the identified external beliefs included casting/access is generally white and that people of colour are discouraged from submitting for opportunities, scripts are male-dominated, heteronormative and from a first world perspectives, board makeup is white, male, older and wealthy, and the organizations values and the broader community stakeholders values do not line up.
Complex Issue: Specific to inclusivity, how does a long-standing organization change its perception to the community at large?
1. Communication Strategy: Re-aligning a communications strategy that puts our beliefs front and center in all communications.
2. Outreach: Actively engaging with diverse communities outside of the arts. Get out in the community, be on the ground.
3. Change board culture: Activate our boards to see beyond our current definitions of what makes a good board member.
4. Recruitment: Prioritize diversity in recruitment. Commit to hire/recruit in the demographic you are seeking.
5. Own Your Space: You can’t possibly be everything to everybody so be clear on your values and beliefs and work towards executing those.