Cultural institutions play a significant role in shaping narratives by influencing the creation, dissemination, and interpretation of cultural works. Their curatorial choices, representational mandates, educational initiatives and engagements with the public can reinforce oppressive discourses and contribute to the censoring and silencing of marginalized voices. Alternatively, these decisions can elevate marginalized voices and amplify counter-perspectives to challenge hegemonic narratives and, crucially, to foster critical thinking and engagement. Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion are not just principles to be performed by offering a multicultural program or creating spaces for reflections and compilation. They entail a real commitment to social justice, and solidarity with the movements that strive to achieve it. In times of crisis, and within a climate of extreme political polarization, this solidarity can no longer be merely performative. It entails a genuine commitment that often comes at a cost for artists, cultural workers, as well as cultural organizations.
Are cultural institutions willing to do the work of solidarity as they lend support to marginalized voices and take a firm political stance during times of crisis?
How do institutions’ commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion and their investment in decolonization---as responses to calls by movements like BLM, Me Too, and Land Back---manifest in times of crisis and in relation to other social movements dedicated to justice and liberation?
How are the strategies employed by institutions to tackle these challenges intricately linked to scale, governance structure, funding sources, and audience demographics?
What does true solidarity look like for cultural institutions as they genuinely support underrepresented and oppressed communities rather than tokenizing them to fulfill EDI mandates?
And what new possibilities between different artists, organizations, institutions, communities, and movements does the work of solidarity open up?
This roundtable brings together cultural workers, researchers, and artists in a conversation on how they navigate different institutional spaces and engage with these urgent questions.
Participants: Muhammad el Khairy and Farah Atoui (Regards Palestiniens), Aude Renaud-Lorrain and Philippe Bouchard-Cholette (Cinéma Public), Krista Lynes (Feminist Media Studio at Concordia University), Sharlene Bamboat (Cultural worker & Independent Filmmaker), Chantal Partamian (Filmmaker & Archivist), Nour Ouayda (Filmmaker & Film Programmer)
Moderated by: Monique Simard