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  • 20Jun

    An Eye Opening Week

    By: Will Brooks
    Category: In the News

    This has been an eye-opening week for many.  SOTS, its Artistic Producer, and staff included

    From our listening this week we have heard and learned

    We have learned the distance between where we are at and where we need to be

    We have learned how much more listening is needed

    We have learned more about the extent to which North America has failed BIPOC people

    We have leaned more about the extent to which our community has failed BIPOC people

    We have learned more about the extent to which the Saskatoon theatre community has failed BIPOC people

    We have learned more about the extent to which the Saskatoon theatre leadership, myself included, have failed Saskatoon BIPOC people

    And, by far most crucially, we have learned more about how WE have failed BIPOC people

    We have learned that we silence by controlling the spaces and processes in which conversations take place

    We have learned that some need to hear our action publicly and some just want to hear nothing.  They simply want to see change

    We have learned that action is the only indicator and change the only goal

    We have learned that this is the tip of the iceberg and we have much more to learn

     

    I have learned that I have blind spots when it comes to which parts of the underserved, underrepresented, and oppressed communities I put my support behind

    I have learned that I have not used all the tools I possess to create change

    I have learned that I have not challenged myself, the company I lead, and my fellow leaders enough

    This message comes from a white, middle aged, middle class, privileged leader of an arts organization who is the current leader in a line of four with similar perspectives and I have learned more about the weight that carries

    This week we have tried to listen more intently than we have before and have been given many difficult gifts

     

    In terms of social media, we will spend the next week keeping our own promotion to a minimum and will amplify BIPOC voices.   We will listen to what we receive on social media and we will engage and respond to those who ask us to and attempt to do it on their terms

    We will be transparent and accountable while attempting to spend way more time simply getting change enacted instead of signalling our own virtue

    We would like to spend time and resources on both choosing and implementing our actions.  We would like to spend time choosing the best way to be held accountable for those actions and to be transparent while respecting those who simply want to hear nothing until they see the change

     

    Will Brooks,

    SOTS Artistic Producer

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3 comments
  • Will - Aug/06/2020

    Hi Joelyne. You are absolutely right. One of the things we have been trying to focus on recently is to understand where our blind-spots are on inclusive practices. We are trying to take a good look at where we have been and what we have accomplished and also take a good look at what we have not accomplished and what work needs to be done to get there. One of the areas that we have already identified as needing work is this one. Once we manage to get our site open there are a ton of improvements in physical accessibility but of course that is only one part of the puzzle. We are currently working with Listen to Dis who are a disability focused theatre group in Regina. They are working with us on a disability audit of the whole organization that looks at the whole puzzle not just the physical side. It has been great already and we only just started with them - we are looking forward to the rest of that process! Will

  • Joelyne Swidzinski - Aug/05/2020

    I’ve been hearing a lot regarding BIPOC and how they are not being utilized to their fullest. One thing that I find missing in this conversation is “What about people with disabilities?” I fully acknowledge that having programming for those with diverse needs. But I don’t see any representation of disability on the stage. You don’t see it in the audience. You don’t see (much) of this in the volunteers. But what if someone with a disability wants to get involved in the theatrical arts. Where would one go if all they see around them is no role models, no companies willing to rise to the challenge to help that person potentially finding their voice and passion for the arts? Is there room in this conversation with members of the BIPOP community to mention what roles people with disabilities play?

  • Cecilia Rajanayagam - Jun/12/2020

    A good start Will. I heard something that helped me a lot this week as a woman of colour. We are in a time of deep lament as a society...both the expression of sorrow and the creation of space for others to express their deep sorrow (in their own way and in their own time) is a very important part of allyship. This situation did not occur overnight nor will it be healed overnight. I just want to encourage you to be patient and strap in for the long haul! Peace to you as you do so!

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