Equity, diversity and inclusion policy
The Manitoba Craft Council is committed to ensuring that diversity thrives in its workplace, events, educational programs, and all of its other aspects. Through listening, learning and engaging with our members and our community, we aim to foster a culture of inclusion.
MCC acknowledges that it was formed in a particular cultural context and, consequently, was shaped according to the vision of its founding membership. It also acknowledges that it must grow to reflect the richness of its current cultural community, to respond to the varied needs of the members of that community, and to engage the depth of their expertise and experience. MCC is committed to eradicating systemic discrimination and exclusion in its policies, practices and traditions.
MCC will strive to offer full and equal participation to all people, including Indigenous peoples, people of colour, newcomers and refugees, persons with disabilities, members of the deaf community, persons of all sexualities and genders, and persons from all regions of Manitoba. It will strive to remove barriers to participation in all aspects of its activities by examining its policies, practices and traditions, and by welcoming all persons based on their interest in craft.
Statement on the steps MCC is taking in relation to equity, diversity and inclusion — January 22, 2023
Craft, in its essence, is rooted in finding ways to solve the problems presented by daily living with the materials at hand, and to approach these tasks through creativity, aesthetic sense and manual practice. As a result, it is deeply connected to history and land, community and culture. For these reasons, the Board of the Manitoba Craft Council is committed to acknowledging the skilled and thoughtful people who work toward solutions to these problems.
We also commit to recognizing that different problems are presented by different environmental and cultural contexts and that different solutions are reached by the people living in those contexts. We recognize that we need to be more thoughtful and deliberate about ensuring that MCC’s membership and programming reflect the immense variety of problems and solutions in the rich cultural community we have the privilege to serve. We are committed to actively and responsively creating a safe, brave space for everyone who engages with us. We are also committed to build bridges with those we have historically excluded, under-represented, or under-served, and to foster new and stronger relationships with all facets of our community.
In 2021, we began that process with these first steps:
● We formed a committee to focus on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in all aspects of MCC’s activities.
● The Board President and the Chair of the Committee attended a day of equity, diversity and inclusion training through the United Way.
● The Board and staff attended two four-hour sessions of training in equity, diversity and inclusion with Charles Smith of Cultural Pluralism of the Arts Movement Ontario (CPAMO).
● We began using less formal paths toward community involvement, including less formal calls for submission and application processes.
Over the past year, we took the following steps:
● The Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee engaged in a comprehensive review of MCC’s policies and procedures, identifying gaps in relation to Indigenous peoples, people of colour, rural Manitobans, persons of all sexualities and genders, persons with disabilities, members of the deaf community, and younger persons.
● Through their membership in the Manitoba Artist Run Centres Coalition, Manitoba Craft Council staff participated in a multi-session anti-oppression training and follow-up led by Future Ancestors and an anti-ableist workshop led by Arts Accessibility Network Manitoba.
● The Executive Director and two members of the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee joined representatives of 20 other collaborative partners for a year-long study of comprehensive, community-based approaches to pluralist practices, with the guidance of CPAMO.
● The Board has begun each Board meeting with a land acknowledgement, with Board members taking turns speaking on an aspect of Indigenous history or culture and the impact that it has had on Manitoba, on craft, or on the Board member personally. Staff engages in a similar process in their weekly staff meetings.
● The Board has begun setting priorities for institutional change.
● The staff and the Board redoubled our efforts to engage with those historically excluded, under-represented, or under-served by its programming.
● Embedded diversity as a priority in decision-making processes including in the choice of Board and committee members, those asked to sit on peer review or selection committees for key opportunities, including CRAFTED, bursaries, juried exhibitions, and in selection processes themselves. Calls for submission now include an option to self-identify as being from historically under-represented groups using whatever descriptive applicants wish to use.
● The Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee, with the support of the Board, has committed to be transparent and accountable in the work we do in seeking to become inclusive and pluralistic.
In the coming year, MCC commits to the following:
● We will ensure that our policies reflect the inclusive, pluralistic organization we wish to be.
● We will develop a practice for reporting the steps taken towards equity, diversity and inclusion.
● We will set priorities for institutional change and begin making those changes.
● We will develop a formal land acknowledgement with input from Indigenous communities.
● We will implement changes that will make C2 more accessible.
On an ongoing basis, we commit to the following:
● We will continue to take concrete steps to ensure that working conditions and hiring practices foster an inclusive, pluralistic workforce.
● We will continue to foster relationships with Indigenous peoples, people of colour, rural Manitobans, persons of all sexualities and genders, persons with disabilities, members of the deaf community, and younger persons.
● We will nurture the craft practice of those we have historically excluded, under-represented, or under-served.
● We will welcome feedback about the steps we have taken in an effort to meet these goals.
MCC has embarked upon this process with awareness that these reforms are overdue and much needed. We are deeply grateful for the grace with which our early efforts have been met. We hope to enrich the practice of contemporary craft in Manitoba by embracing the skill and experience Manitobans have to offer, and by assisting those who have knowledge and skill to share to engage with those who have a thirst to learn.