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2020 Schedule of Events

Exploring Change in the Performing Arts
Date: Saturday, September 26, 2020
Time: 11:00 am – 1:00 pm
Location: Zoom

Facilitated by Carla Stephenson, Rural Arts Inclusion Lab
Saturday, September 26, 11:00 am to 1:00pm ADT.

Have you found yourself questioning the equity and diversity of the programming, audiences and structures of your organization? Are you struggling with how to reimagine your practice, livelihood or organization in the wake of Covid? Have you ever wondered how your participation in a colonial system may be playing into maintaining inequality? This workshop has been created to shift perspectives and begin talking about these difficult topics. We will be exploring many facets of equity work including:

Decolonizing organizations
Anti-racism
Disability justice
Gender inclusion
Systemic constraints that hold inequality in place

Please note all times are Atlantic Daylight Time.

Carla Stephenson - Project Lead
Who am I to lead this work? My name is Carla Stephenson, I am a mother, wife, daughter, and a multiracial woman of colour. I have the lived experience of having the lightest skin of one side of my family and the darkest skin of the other. I have experienced racism first hand and am also frequently surprised by how much I still do. I have ones very dear to me who identify outside the gender binary. I have gone on my own journey of learning about how I can best support them as they struggle to find their way.

I have lived my adult life in small rural towns and have worked in the arts in British Columbia for over two decades. I have studied community development, have innovated systems, and built community hubs and cultural events. I have been an entrepreneur and an executive director of a non-profit society. My calling has been to amplify the voices of others, mostly artists.

For the past 3 years, I have been exploring and thinking very deeply about the issues of climate change, displaced people, racism, and what we can do in our communities to live together and bring out the best in each other. I recognize that we are living in complex systems that are always in a state of friction. I recognize there is inequality and systemic racism in the colonial systems that we all live in. I have experienced the conflict and discomfort that lives just under the surface of these structures.

I believe that through listening, stretching collaboration, and collective story harvesting that we can find ways to support change by amplifying diverse voices and challenging the existing systems that are perpetuating the colonial narrative.

Arts play a role in disrupting and getting to the truth of issues in subversive and overt ways. I am honoured and grateful to have the opportunity to explore this challenge with as many people who feel called to participate as possible.


Carla Stephenson is the Executive Director of Renascence Arts and Sustainability Society, the co-founder and ED of the Tiny Lights Festival and the Project Lead of the Rural Arts Inclusion Lab (RAIL).



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