HOW WE GOT HERE
In 2021, the BC Museums Association, Arts BC, Rural Arts Inclusion Lab and the Greater Vancouver Professional Theatre Alliance, formed a Consortium to explore, research, and design what is now the Pathways pilot program. Our organizations had been working separately and together on equity and access initiatives, and leadership had spent a great deal of time discussing how to facilitate greater sector change. We realized that our value-aligned and trust based relationships with each other, could allow for a collaborative and community-based approach to a large-scale program.
Message from the Partners
For over a year we have been working with and in our communities, listening to and collaborating with individuals and organizations to deepen our understanding of the equity and access landscape in the province.
There is a huge spectrum of experiences and unique perspectives that need to be acknowledged and involved in serving our arts, culture, and heritage communities. Historically, the sector has been constructed to amplify and support the voices of some while marginalizing and appropriating from others. There have always been examples of organizations that have led and continue to innovate and champion equity and access.
The Pathways program addresses the needs of organizations as they tackle the challenges of implementing specific equity practices into their work, regardless of scale, geographic or historical context. It is an individualized process that focuses on turning learning into action.
The Pathways pilot program will support organizations and individuals for a full year as they identify and reach learning goals, then begin to implement their learning into their organizations.
Each participant’s pathway and context is unique and the goal of this model is to practice new ways of learning that involve reflection and participation in wider community.
The Pathways pilot program will launch in September 2023. Participants will be supported with individualized learning pathways, peer networks and one-on-one guidance. The pilot phase will allow us to deepen our understanding of what individuals and organizations need to move forward, in order to evolve and grow the program.
This pilot project represents a significant investment in time and resources to try to do things differently. From its inception we have centered and woven collaboration, deep listening, holding brave space, embodying equitable relations and being accountable to our communities past present and future.
Our hope is that supporting individuals within organizations as they engage in this work, providing time for reflection and support for implementation of new learning will lead to a real change in the arts/culture/heritage sector in BC.
Pathways is developed by a collaborative community of organizations and our networks that include BCMA, Arts BC, GVPTA and RAIL. The Pathways project is a partnership between this community and the BC Arts Council.
Message from Sae-Hoon Stan Chung, Chair, BC Arts Council
BC Arts Council is grateful to be partnering with Arts BC, BC Museums Association, the Greater Vancouver Professional Theatre Alliance and Rural Arts Inclusion Lab on the Pathways program.
This partnership developed out of a shared vision and commitment to creating a more equitable and inclusive sector.
The BC Arts Council launched Extending Foundations: Action Plan 2022 – 2024 in Spring 2022. The plan is intended to support the arts and cultural community as it navigates through a period of renewal and recovery, emerges from the impacts of the pandemic and addresses calls for social justice. The Action Plan incorporates commitments and actions from the New Foundations strategic plan alongside significant new activities driven through seven key action areas.
Following the launch of the Action Plan, the BC Arts Council and the Parliamentary Secretary for Arts and Film, Bob D’Eith, hosted a series of roundtables where we heard clearly from the sector about the need for training for staff, volunteers, and boards around reconciliation, equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility. Participants called for practical implementation help with equity training, actions towards reconciliation, policy development, and resource sharing.
Partnering on a community-led approach and building off the great work already underway by arts service organizations throughout the province made sense to move this work forward in a way that was collaborative and transparent.
Providing financial support for the Pathways program was just one of a suite of activities that we implemented as part of the action to “Establish Diversity, Equity, and Access Program Supports.” We developed our designated priority groups policy and equity data collection to help provide targeted investment in underserved and equity groups. We launched Accelerate, a two-year pilot program for equity-deserving and regional organizations to build capacity. Together, these initiatives are meant to support organizations who are striving to implement more equitable practices, to make more space for those already doing the work, and to enact real change in the sector.
In recent years, our community has become increasingly aware of historic and continuing systemic inequities, and has worked to become more equitable and just, but there is far more we need to do. Our thanks to Arts BC, BC Museums Association, Greater Vancouver Professional Theatre Alliance and Rural Arts Inclusion Lab, and both the Pathways’ advisory network and BCAC’s Equity Advisory Network for their leadership, and to the greater arts and cultural community pushing for change.
Sae-Hoon Stan Chung
Chair, BC Arts Council