We All Have Something To Share. We All Have Something To Learn.

Date posted: April 6, 2021

Victoria and Regina Arts and Educational Institutions Announce the Launch of an Arts Leadership Training Program 

The Belfry Theatre is partnering with performing arts groups and educational institutions in Victoria, British Columbia and Regina, Saskatchewan to create a BIPoC arts leadership training program. The program will start in July 2021 and run through to April 2022. Applications are now being taken (details below). 

This initiative is a collaboration between the following organizations – Art Gallery of Greater Victoria; Belfry Theatre; Common Weal Community Arts, Regina; Dance Victoria; Globe Theatre, Regina; Pacific Opera Victoria; University of Regina, Faculty of Media, Art and Performance; University of Victoria, Faculty of Fine Arts; Victoria Conservatory of Music; and Victoria Symphony

We have come together with the above organizations to respond to ideas posed and needs expressed by BIPoC artists during a deliberative forum that was held in Victoria, BC, in June 2020. It is a way to create learning opportunities for the entire performing arts ecosystem in Victoria and Regina. 

We are opening the doors of our institution, with humility and ethical intentions, with the goal of creating a safe and healthy environment in which to share institutional knowledge, together with the wisdom and experience of leading members of the national BIPoC arts community. 

As an organization within the performing arts, we acknowledge the colonial and oppressive system that we have inherited and continue to perpetuate. We also realize the need to change the ecosystem. Through the process of thinking about and developing this project, we continue to question ourselves: How can we presume to teach BIPoC participants when we have inherited a colonial legacy, and are in the midst of trying to put down old tools and pick-up new ones? 

“As a BIPOC artist, I find this collaboration genuine and meaningful. The senior management of these organizations have come to the table to ask difficult questions about the current state of the art. They are hoping to develop a path towards an arts and culture sector that is deliberately inclusive, while at the same time creating exchange opportunities by which they can unlearn old practices and learn new ways while moving our sector forward” says Taiwo Afolabi, former Manager of Community and Artistic Connections at the Belfry Theatre, and currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Regina, who is co-coordinating this project with the Belfry. 

We are operating in ways that have colonialism embedded within them—ways that we may well not believe in, but that most of us have not had time to stop and question. We also acknowledge that the current system is not trusted by most BIPoC theatre makers. However, with a program like this, we hope that the BIPoC participants will help us to change—without putting the onus on them to teach us. 

APPLICATIONS

In this pilot year of the program, we will accept a maximum of 10 participants, with no age limitations. 

The program will be designed collaboratively, assembling the program components based on the stated interests of those participating.   

It will be delivered in two phases: 

> ZOOM Seminars twice a week for six weeks (July 12 through August 20, 2021)

> Three months of Paid Internships (January 10 through April 1, 2022).

Application Forms are available here, through any of the participating institutions or by emailing – nida@belfry.bc.ca

Applications may be submitted in writing or via video (please send a link to the video, not the actual video) to – nida@belfry.bc.ca

Application deadline: May 1, 2021 

For more information please use the following email addressnida@belfry.bc.ca