Government of Canada art council to focus on “social activism” for subsidized art programs, seeking “a decolonized future for the arts”

The Canada Council for the Arts says that government-subsidized art programs need to embrace “social activism” focusing on “a decolonized future for the arts.”

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In a management report highlighted by Blacklock’s Reporter, the Canada Council for the Arts wrote, “Participants want the Council for the Arts to support the arts sector in promoting social activism and social justice,”.

The report said, “The Council should support the arts sector in promoting social activism and social justice and it should encourage and support actions that address racism and promote inclusion and diversity,”.

“The Council was urged to do more to address racism, diversity and inclusion issues that affect the arts sector primarily through additional funding for training resources and by defunding organizations that do not provide safe and inclusive environments,”.

They say the refocus of the programs was because “It was pointed out the Council’s current activities promoting diversity, equity and inclusion do not necessarily address racism.”

Last year alone the federally-funded  Canada Council for the Arts spent $428.6 million.

In another report, the council wrote, The Council recognizes the role it plays in this inequity and it is committed to acting respectfully, responsibly and collaboratively as we move forward together towards a more just, equitable and decolonized future for the arts,”.

Discussing the social unrest in the U.S. during the spring of 2020, the council wrote, “Many of the arts sector’s shortcomings, inconsistencies and injustices have come into sharper focus since the spring of 2020,”.

“We now have an increased awareness of systemic barriers that lead to a persistent lack of equity, diversity and inclusion in the arts particularly in the workforce and programming of far too many publicly funded organizations.”

Additionally, the council says they are seeking to “advance equity, diversity and inclusion, eliminate the consequences of racism and colonization in the arts sector, overturn misogyny and all forms of discrimination against women, advance gender equality and mitigate the effects of climate change in the context of its activities,”.

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