Inclusivity, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility (I.D.E.A.)
A framework for the Aurora Cultural Centre
As the Aurora Cultural Centre grows and learns how to serve all communities, we act intentionally to create opportunities for artists from vulnerable or marginalized groups who face systemic barriers that have limited their ability to participate in the arts. We seek to work with individuals with lived experience in communities defined in society as Indigenous, Black and other racialized minorities, Persons with Disabilities, members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community and the artistic organizations that work with these artists. We look to create and sustain community relationships, and invite professional artists and organizations who want a voice and platform to:
- Show their visual art,
- Share their musical talent,
- Share their storytelling in performing arts for young people,
- Teach their art to others in the community as a paid instructor,
- Join us as volunteers, and
- Build collaborative artistic products in visual and performing arts.
We are ready to act. We invited an I.D.E.A. Collaborative Working Group to come together to support the planning of our initiatives with sensitivities to the communities with whom we wish to connect and serve. We honour the past participation of diverse artists who have been ready to participate with us, and work to actively break down barriers, create safer spaces, and build new opportunities for participation.
We are initiating conversations inviting the community to add their voices as we decolonize language, listen and learn, and together build the programing we all participate in.
If we encounter resistance to participating with us, we will be curious to discern why, to build understanding, strengthen our initiative, and learn from the experience. When we make mistakes, we will acknowledge them, apologize, and learn from them so we can do better.
We hope to learn:
- What barriers exist to participating with the Aurora Cultural Centre, by intentionally asking the community,
- How we can support artists from vulnerable or marginalized groups to bring their voices to us,
- What communities we have relationships with; and where we need to build relationships,
- What mechanisms are important to have in place to sustain these relationships,
- What an authentic connection looks like for the artists we aim to support, and
- How to collect and report on the underserved community to be accountable for change.
What we have done so far:
- Rebuilt recruitment tools to be inclusive, including
- changing language around communication requirements as newcomers may not see themselves as proficient,
- inviting participation from people from other communities who have not had a voice in our programming and administration thus far,
- choosing dissemination to broaden the reach.
- Hiring Artistic Outreach Coordinators to build a voice for us in diverse circles, including
- Building a self-identification tool to help us gauge how we are doing in our representation of new voices,
- Creating events to bring people together, including the I.D.E.A. Symposium in June 2022 to learn from thought leaders in Indigenous, Black, newcomer, person with disabilities and 2SLGBTQIA+ communities.
- Expanding our programming through new relationships, ensuring more diverse voices, expertise and lived experience in performing arts, education and gallery programming,
- Producing public art that brings new Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists together in a project,
- Hosting public art on the topic of decolonizing public spaces, and
- Building cohesive social media platforms to support engagement with younger audiences.
Next steps to move this initiative forward:
- Engage the I.D.E.A. Collaborative Working Group of social advocates from representative communities, Staff and Board representatives to be a collaborative working group and resource to the initiative and staff by meeting quarterly with strategic objectives,
- Create new partnerships with organizations that program for or represent communities we are trying to connect with. Partnerships should be meaningful to both parties.
- Act on initiatives with authenticity, intention, to build sustainable programs for the Aurora Cultural Centre,
- Review and reflect on the process, initiatives, and outcomes with intent to learn and improve,
- Trust in the process, and the open minds and hearts of the I.D.E.A. Collaborative Working Group to be supportive of action leading to success.
Created: April 2021
Updated: January 2023