Inspired by a conversation between rocket scientist CJ Giovingo, and social justice warrior Autumn Brown (from the podcast How to Survive the End of the World), Engagement Lab is an immersive and intimate experimental “lab” to ask theatre-makers in Alberta how we can create a more equitable arts ecology and transform the relationship between historically marginalized artists and Alberta’s predominantly white theatre institutions (PWIs). The dream: offer a brave, caring, and deeply compassionate facilitated space in which participants have the opportunity to practice tools and fully engage with resources for anti-oppressive/anti-bias theatre practice offered in the program. We will reflect upon and explore the specific fears and hesitations our communities have regarding equity, diversity, and inclusion, and in turn grow and foster agency for real change and boundary-building capacity. This is an opportunity to work in community to try, fail, learn, keep accountable, and try again.
The Engagement Lab will start with a retreat at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity from December 10th – 12th, 2021, and will continue throughout 2022 with six different 4-hour online sessions held every other month. We may also add a final wrap up session back in Banff in late 2022/early 2023.
We are opening up applications from creators who identify as individuals from historically marginalized communities to sign up and be part of the conversation. We are looking for 20 theatre practitioners who have a solid understanding of the specific barriers that uphold inequality in Alberta’s theatre industrial complex, and radically believes that transformation is possible. These individuals are willing to take risks, fail, and learn with community in a space that is committed to supporting each individual at whatever point they are in their journey. These artists are curious and open to learning about themselves, with the desire to build upon and maintain their capacities and boundaries. This work is as much about community-care as it is self-care
If accepted into the Lab you will receive remuneration of $500 for participation in the Banff Retreat and $1500 for your participation in the six, four-hour online sessions. Your meal and accommodation costs will be covered by participating predominantly white institutions. Participants will be responsible for all other related travel costs.
The intention behind hosting an in-person Banff retreat is to offer the core facilitators and the participants the opportunity to get to know each other outside of a screen. We are hoping to build relationships beyond transactional interactions and move into working together to solve challenges and remove barriers that exist specifically in our communities.
There will be ongoing facilitation built into the program as a safety net to offer you support throughout this process as well as affinity gatherings at the end of each lab to ensure any emotional labour can be done safely and can be left in the virtual space.
If you are interested in participating please fill out the following application. Applications will be read by a committee composed of Theatre Alberta staff and folx from The 35//50 Initiative. Based on the applications, we may reach out to applicants to set up a brief interview on a rolling basis.
Applications will close November 20 at 11:59pm MST.