The newly-formed Equity and Diversity Committee took up the major project during this off-forum year: the Rolling National Conversation on diversity. Funded by CNMN’s general operating budget, a special grant from FACTOR, and local presenting partners, the Conversations began in Halifax (January. 9), moved on to Victoria (March 26), and wound up in Montreal (May 1). There was also a live streaming component so that the larger community could be part of the local events. This diversity road trip was inspired by conversations – both programmed and spontaneous – that took place at FORUM 2016 in Ottawa, with additional practical impetus provided by the Canada Council’s new policies. One of the principles in partnering with local presenters was to allow discussion to be shaped by local preoccupations and realities. Each session displayed the personality of the host community.
It was an extremely valuable project, allowing for intense discussion on a huge range of diversity concerns. We heard the voices of under-represented artists and practitioners; and historically privileged or established practitioners began to understand that, while inclusion is a fine concept and sometimes appropriate, at times it is necessary just to step aside and make room. The substantial post-session materials published on our website are a valuable and essential part of the project that allow members of the community to benefit from the sessions, helping them to further their own work.
For their help in realizing this project we thank: Evelyn Cream (FACTOR), Lukas Pearse and Gay Osler (Upstream Music Association, Halifax), Norm Adams (SuddenlyLISTEN, Halifax), Christopher Reiche Boucher (Open Space, Victoria), Isak Goldschneider and Nick Horvat (Innovations en concert, Montreal), all the panelists, moderators, note-takers and circle exercise leaders, and all the participants who attended, in person or online.
Also, on behalf of CNMN and its Equity & Diversity Committee, Jennifer Waring attended a meeting called by Dylan Robinson and members of the Nisga’a and Metis community to discuss aspects of the opera Louis Riel.
Committee members: Jennifer Waring (chair), Jennifer Butler, Juliet Palmer, Norm Adams, Lukas Pearse, Isak Goldschneider and Chris Reiche.
Submitted by Jennifer Waring, October 2017