The College is pleased to announce the appointment of alumni Austin Eckert to the Board of Directors and the formation of the Cultural Safety Working Group. The Working Group consists of board members Austin Eckert and Yukari Peerless, and alumni Alana Hibbert, Jaeyoung Park, and Jacelyn Perret.
I never expected to hold the responsibility and privilege of welcoming such a dynamic group to help formulate actionable change towards bettering the culture in and around CCPA, but I am gladdened such a group has come forward ready to participate.
I’d like to acknowledge that this working group has been called into existence because of a history of casual racism, cultural and intersectional discrimination at the college – perpetuated by many individuals over many years. I believe that the work of addressing inequity should not fall on the shoulders of the oppressed, and so I acknowledge that by submitting yourself for consideration you have already expressed raw faith and hope for a more equitable experience for all!
The members of the Working Group represent a cross section of cultural backgrounds, as well as a varied perspective on the industry and their college experience based on when they graduated. Currently there are no terms of reference for the Working Group that determine how often it meets, for how long, and what it intends to accomplish. These parameters and goals will be discussed and determined by the group in partnership with the College Directors.
While there is still much to determine, the commitment that can be made at this time is the College’s desire to have both the lived experiences of our IBPoC alumni and the discussion, observations and initiatives that come out of this group permeate the entire organization. The College Directors will be actively involved in the group’s work throughout; we are not interested in launching an initiative or program that operates in isolation, but one of many that can see a systemic shift and review of how the College has and does operate.
As the Managing Artistic Director, I would like to see change influence and impact the College’s thinking and decision making across our artistry, governance, staff, faculty, students & audience. We have identified a list of immediate and longer-term action items we can take, however, we are more interested in hearing from and empowering the group before making any determinations on what our priorities should be.
We are looking forward to providing further updates following their first couple meetings.
With much appreciation,
Managing Artistic Director
Canadian College of Performing Arts