In mid November, Montreal Arts Interculturels (MAI) organized, with COCo’s support, a bilingual panel on cultural appropriation and other kinds of systemic racism in arts and culture (following a racist performance in our own building, elaborated here). The panel was sold out weeks in advance, and so we hosted a livestream of the event. That video has now been viewed over 9,000 times, and features powerful presentations from Dr. Philip Howard (PhD, Assistant Professor, Social Studies Education McGill University), Guy Sioui Durand (Huron-Wendat – sociologist, art critic and curator) Marilou Craft (dramaturgical consultant, writer and cultural worker), Kama La Mackerel (story-teller, community-arts facilitator and multi-disciplinary artist) and Angie Cheng (performer and choreographer). The discussion was moderated by Rhodnie Désir (choreographer, cultural mediator and President of MAI”s board of directors), with opening remarks from our own Parker Mah.
The archived video can be viewed below.
As we wrote in our original post about the incident of cultural appropriation in our own building, racialized people are marginalized in the arts world as in the community sector (in this case, overlapping). As our preliminary results from our own research on racism in community organizations has shown, in the last 3 years, over 25% of racialized respondents have either taken leave or resigned from a position in the sector due to an unwelcoming working environment for racialized workers. This is but one example of the barriers experienced by people of colour in the community sector, and the final aggregated report, slated for release by the end of the year, as well as our ongoing anti-oppression work, will certainly shed further insight on a topic both pervasive and current.