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Panel review: Exploring an Equitable Cultural Policy

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April 14, 2023 | Belfry Theatre, Victoria, BC


Rebecca Hass, Director of Engagement Programs and Partnerships for Pacific Opera Victoria

Jasmindra Jawanda, Urban/Social/Community Planner, Diversity, Anti-Racism & Gender Specialist

Kenji Maeda, Executive Director, Greater Vancouver Professional Theatre Alliance

Moderated by Taiwo Afolabi and Deniz Ünsal

On April 14th 2023, Taiwo Afolabi and Deniz Unsal facilitated a panel discussion titled “Exploring an Equitable Cultural Policy” at the Belfry Theatre in Victoria, BC. Along with self-employed artists from Indigenous, Black and racialised communities, we discussed how they experience cultural policies at local and urban levels in their art practice and community engagement.

Panel speakers shared their views on the impact of cultural policies on artists, arts organizations, urban cultural landscape as well as art creation processes. In this discussion, Rebecca Hass (Director of Engagement Programs and Partnerships for Pacific Opera Victoria) focused on the role of cultural policy towards Reconciliation in organizations and the impact of mentorship programs for Indigenous artists and art practitioners. Jasmindra Jawanda (urban, social and community planner and Anti-Racism & Gender Specialist) stressed the significance of cultural mapping in cities and its role in advocating for equity in culture. Kenji Maeda (Executive Director, Greater Vancouver Professional Theatre Alliance) underlined the difference between outcome and output-based cultural policy, and argued for flexible and unrestrictive cultural policies.

The panel was organized as part of the research project titled Equity in Cultural Policy, which focuses on the experiences of Indigenous, Black and racialised self-employed artists within the existing policy framework in Canada, as well as their strategies to employ art as a way to engage with communities. The research explores the social value of the arts in community building and engagement.

The research project received funding from Social Sciences Research Council. The panel was hosted by Belfry Theatre, supported by HERE Magazine and sponsored by Royal Roads University and the Centre for Socially Engaged Theatre at the University of Regina. Researchers include Yvette Nolan, Taiwo Afolabi, Deniz Ünsal, Luba Kozak and Fonon Nunghe.

Here is the link to the video titled Eyes Open: An Anti-Asian Racism PSA (2:32) mentioned in the panel:  

Recording of panel

Exploring an Equitable Cultural Policy(1:22:55)

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This research project is supported by funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council