As the PAVED Arts staff and board navigated 2020 and discussed how we can implement positive and progressive organizational change in a transparent and accountable way, we realized that we needed to more formally address accessibility, gender identity/expression, racial justice, and other inequities within our organization and communities. As such, we came together and examined all aspects of our organization, including – but not limited to – board governance, HR and staffing, exhibitions and programming, accessibility, partnerships, visitor and member experience, and policies. We felt it necessary to create our own path for change that will outline how we plan to address the systemic barriers to equality that exist within PAVED Arts. To this end, all staff, as well as board representatives, met on a weekly basis for 8 months over the course of 2020/21, to develop this “Commitment to Action”, in order to promote a positive cultural environment within our organization and community.
In order to proceed, we have identified actions that PAVED Arts has implemented, is currently implementing or intends to implement. We have been and will continue to be working with community partners to help identify blind spots and provide guidance in areas where we do not have the expertise, as we enact organizational change which is actively self-critical and sustainable.
We gratefully acknowledge the work of the many individuals and groups who have offered guidance to us on our path toward positive change, as well as all of those who have attended our Anti-Racism Community Conversations.
The work we have been doing owes a particular debt to recommendations outlined in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action; the Saskatoon Anti-Racism Network; the Mackenzie Art Gallery’s Equity Plan; and an open letter to artist-run centres in Quebec, titled Moving Beyond Statements of Solidarity.
We hope that the organizational goals drafted within this document will not only hold PAVED Arts accountable to our commitments but will support our organization as we work towards becoming a more equitable and accessible community space.
PAVED Arts Staff and Board
”…a list is not the answer, and we must focus our reflections on how and why; the capacity to listen and (un)learn is an ongoing practice and process that can never be completed. - An open letter to artist-run centres in Quebec, titled Moving Beyond Statements of Solidarity.
Last Updated September 2021
This document is intended to be fluid and updated as issues are addressed or come to light. We hope this Commitment to Action will not only hold PAVED Arts accountable to our commitments but support our organization as we work towards becoming a more equitable and accessible community space.
1. PAVED Arts staff and board will work together to restructure the governance methods and approach of the organization.
HOW: Seeking consultation from equity-seeking governance leaders in our community, PAVED Arts staff and Board will undertake recurring anti-racism education sessions. In the context of our community and place within Treaty Six territory, PAVED Arts will seek out Indigenous governance models as a means to involve alternative perspectives. This “Commitment to Action” document, as a whole, is an articulation of the organization’s priority to decolonize.
2. PAVED Arts will work to ensure that the demographics of all future staff will be an accurate representation of the community in which we live.
HOW: We will strive to make all hiring calls more accessible. We will value lived experience as equal to the academic experience and intentionally hold space for new hires that reflect the demographic balance in our community.
3. Board of Directors – PAVED Arts Board of Directors will work towards being an accurate representation of the community in which we live.
HOW: We will actively recruit from underrepresented communities on our BOD, and hold space until the seats are filled.
4. Exhibitions – Exhibition programming decisions at PAVED Arts will be responsive to changing community dynamics and involve diverse voices. Peer juries are composed of three active members from the broader arts community working alongside the Artistic Director.
HOW: PAVED Arts programming jury composition shall be gender-balanced and include BIPOC and 2SLGBTQ+ voices. The annual PAVED Arts Call for Submissions will further promote diversity and inclusion by explicitly stating:
“PAVED Arts strives to reflect the cultural diversity of our national community in our programming, with particular attention paid to underrepresented or marginalized voices. To this end, PAVED Arts actively encourages members of BIPOC and 2SLGBTQ+ communities to apply to the annual September 15th open call.”
5. Additional Programming – Media Screenings, senior production residencies, live performance events, etc. at PAVED Arts will proactively encourage BIPOC and 2SLGBTQ+ (Two Spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) artists and curators to stage screenings at the centre by invitation. Such projects may include, but not be limited to, invitational curatorial initiatives.
HOW: The success of this initiative will be measured by a minimum of one invitational/paid/guest curated project per fiscal year beginning in 2021. PAVED Arts will strive to ensure that BIPOC and 2SLGBTQ+ voices are included in any foreseeable jury representation or community-driven screening projects.
6. Workshops – PAVED Arts will actively encourage BIPOC and 2SLGBTQ+ artists to submit workshop ideas for programming on the themes of media arts and/or community building.
HOW: We will hold space for underrepresented workshop leaders and shift our focus so that our workshops not only provide educational opportunities in the media arts but we will also host workshops for the public on the topics of anti-racism, indigenous/settler relations and community building.
7. Fees – PAVED Arts is committed to supporting artists with presentation, workshop, screening and residency fees that are above the CARFAC, RAAV, and IMAA recommended minimums. Furthermore, PAVED Arts is committed to supporting jurors, writers and independent curators for their contributions with comparable fees not otherwise included in these schedules.
HOW: There are deeper ethical reasons and motivations for providing artist fees than simply practical subsistence or even “a living wage.” Our commitment to the action of paying artist fees is such that we prioritize the following premise: diverse artistic expression is generally conducive to healthy communities. Having acknowledged the fundamental value of artistic production in this way, it becomes easier to identify artist fees as an important service to the broader community. Whereas capitalism tends to understand “value” as that which is derived from a “dollar value,” the artist-run register is a space in which the value of art does not have to pander to market forces. Put simply, art should be supported on the level of developing ideas and having meaningful conversations.
8. Microgrants – PAVED arts will actively encourage BIPOC and 2SLGBTQ+ artists to submit applications for our semi-annual microgrant program, and will commit to working with artists on application and project development. Previous microgrant recipients and/or representative community members will receive a $150 fee for jurying (under 4 hours).
HOW: We will strive to ensure that BIPOC and 2SLGBTQ+ artists are aware of the micro-grant program by reaching out to organizations that serve underrepresented communities so that they can encourage their members to apply. We will make ourselves available to help with applications and project development. We will establish peer juries composed of previous microgrant recipients, and members from the broader arts community working alongside Production Centre staff. PAVED Arts programming jury composition shall be gender-balanced and include BIPOC and 2SLGBTQ+ voices.
9. Equipment and Production Resources – PAVED staff will work to ensure that our resources and equipment remain accessible to all members of the community and we will commit to providing technical training whenever needed.
HOW: Through initiatives such as our 24 Hour access program, Members’ Micro Grants, Youth programming, free workshops (where possible) and community partnership initiatives, PAVED strives to make our equipment and production facilities as affordable and accessible as possible to all members of our community.
10. Accessibility – We are committed to providing a welcoming and accessible destination and workplace. We embrace the principles of dignity, independence, integration and equal opportunity to serve our members, staff and visitors, and our community at large.
- Physical Space – Conduct an accessibility audit and act on findings. In particular, look at doors, elevators, service animal welcome policies, gender-neutral washrooms, access to free water, way-finding texts and signage, and adjust viewing heights of works and signage for accessibility. Strive to make interior public spaces feel more community-oriented and welcoming to everyone.
- Exhibitions – Always free. Offer interpretive services as needed, implement accessible and inclusive language, and host “Relaxed Receptions”.
- Good Neighbour Practice – PAVED has become an official Winter Warm-Up/Summer Cool-Down Location, bathrooms and water are available to everyone and are gender neutral, a “Who to Call Instead of Police” list is provided to all staff and members, a Naloxone kit on premises & training for all staff, accessible programming and welcoming atmosphere.
- Online Spaces – Conduct a website accessibility audit, follow accessibility and gender inclusivity language guidelines, update the website with accessibility information, and commit to learning how to serve all of our online audiences better.
11. Affordability –PAVED Staff will work to make our resources as affordable as possible to all members of the community
HOW: We will create a free of charge sponsored Community Partner membership category for qualifying individuals and institutions which will include free access to all production facilities at the centre. For all PAVED members, we will implement flexible payment plans by offering the option to book half-days in editing suites.
12. Zero tolerance – Zero tolerance for hate speech, racism, sexism, misogyny, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, as well as abusive, harmful and/or discriminatory language/behaviour.
HOW: We will develop a policy to address PAVED’s stance on hate speech and discriminatory language/behaviour.
When PAVED Staff encounter anyone speaking hate speech or enacting discriminatory behaviour they will immediately address it. For example, in the recording studio if a member is using hate language: “You cannot talk like that in this space. You have to leave if you are going to behave that way”.
We will hold ourselves and our members accountable on all of PAVED Arts’ various social media pages in the same way we do our physical space. We will delete/block/report comments, posts or other online speech on our pages that spread ignorance and hate.
We will make an effort to raise awareness by recognizing that hate speech and discriminatory language/behaviour is a systemic problem within society. Doing so helps us to understand how this impacts the artists and the community that PAVED Arts serves.
We will make an effort to support members of our community who may encounter or become targets of hate speech.
We will model what we want to see through our online messaging, exhibitions and organizational communication.
We will, first, warn members, and then remove them from our facility and deny access to our facilities if they continue to engage in hate speech or discriminatory language/behaviour.