On the closing day of Orchestras Canada’s national conference in Montreal, OC Executive Director Katherine Carleton gave an update on the development of a new Manifesto for Canadian orchestras committed to strengthening their work in Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility (aka “IDEA”), and presented a near-final draft of the Manifesto for consideration by those in attendance.
This work started in Kitchener in April 2016, when attendees at OC’s national conference asked OC to coordinate the development of a framework that orchestras could use to shape, monitor, and report on their efforts in these increasingly important areas of work. By July 2016, we’d recruited a task force made up of Olga Mychajluk, Artistic Administrator, Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony; Meiko Taylor, Personnel Manager, National Arts Centre Orchestra; and Vicki Young, Managing Director, Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, and their efforts were supported by Katherine Carleton and (during her summer work term at OC in 2016), Natalie Paproski-Rubianes. OC sincerely thanks Olga, Meiko, and Vicki for their remarkable work on the Manifesto: their honesty, energy, realism, and enthusiasm were a gift to all of us!
This was no sinecure: the task force met nine times between July 2016 and March 2017, and did a significant amount of reading, peer exchange, and writing between meetings. We sought external input, and very much appreciate the wise counsel we received along the way. Not coincidentally, we each made “IDEA” a focus of our own professional development over the course of the year, too.
Herewith, the May 2017 draft of the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility Manifesto for Canadian Orchestras:
Orchestras Canada/Orchestres Canada
Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Accessibility Manifesto—DRAFT, May 2017
The [insert name of orchestra] is committed to inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility. Because we care about the vitality of our art form, we seek to better understand, reflect, engage, and celebrate our diverse community.
We acknowledge that Canadian orchestras benefit from supportive public policy and community investment, and we acknowledge our responsibility to Western classical music traditions, to music of other cultures, and to the development of music inspired by the diversity of the people of Canada
Inclusion: The commitment to ensure active engagement of all people, and the removal or mitigation of barriers to that engagement
Diversity: The representation of all people, including but not limited to: Indigenous peoples, people of varied gender identities, gender expressions and sexual orientation, ethno-culturally diverse groups, people with (dis)abilities (including physical, mental health, sensory, learning and/or chronic health disabilities), diverse language communities, people of various ages, people of varied socio-economic status, and people living in urban, suburban, rural, and remote communities.
Equity: access to opportunities for all individuals
Accessibility: the ability for all individuals to access, connect to, be aware of, and benefit from a system or organization
We are supportive partners, developing mutually beneficial artistic and community collaborations with individuals and groups with diverse perspectives
We engage in ongoing internal training and education to strengthen our work in inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility
We are familiar with funders’ requirements and legislation governing inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility, and seek to meet or exceed these standards
Leaders champion the commitment to inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility
Our artistic programming reflects our commitment to inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility
We acknowledge and articulate our role in developing future generations of orchestral musicians, conductors, and composers, and we help address inequalities of access to training and development opportunities, on our own or with partners
We consider tactical, strategic, and systemic factors as we recruit, retain, develop, and promote diverse artists, orchestra and administrative personnel, board members, and volunteers
Community and Audiences
We gather and use comprehensive, current information about demographics and trends in the communities we serve
Recognizing that everyone has the right to participate freely in the cultural life of the community, we identify and work to mitigate factors that impede access to involvement in classical and/or orchestral music.
Initial feedback from the presentation was positive. The next steps following the conference presentation, for OC and for Canadian orchestras?
- With leadership from Simon Gamache (I Musici de Montreal), Diane Pépin (Orchestre symphonique de Drummondville), and Natalie Rousseau (Orchestre symphonique de Trois-Rivieres), we are able to share a refined translation (see below).
- We are now circulating the draft manifesto in both French and English, with the goal of receiving comprehensive feedback to Katherine Carleton (firstname.lastname@example.org) by 31 July.
- We’ll then do a final re-write (as necessary) and circulate the final version of the manifesto in French and English to all OC member and associate orchestras by August 31.
- We’ll then ask each OC member and associate orchestra to take the Manifesto to their Board of Directors for adoption during the Fall of 2017.