Accountability has become one of the most important focuses in our work supporting the Indigenous Curatorial Collective / Collectif des commissaires autochtones’ (ICCA) members. Being mindful of who has access to having their voices heard, and recognizing that there is often a privilege within the Indigenous arts sector that erases nuance within Indigenous communities and draws with broad strokes about the experiences, needs and support that Indigenous arts workers face and require. We have been aware of this issue within the ICCA as well, and have spoken at length about how we can work harder to broaden our own reach and be more accountable to the communities we represent in our work.
The Community Relations Manager, Emma Steen, wanted to create safe and explicitly anti-racist, anti-colonial and anti-homophobic/transphobic spaces to conduct conversations around diversity of experiences and discuss the needs and support for racialized, non-urban, and marginalized Indigenous peoples. Through months of research and conversations we developed a four part roundtable series.
These roundtables took place over the first quarter of 2021 and hope to highlight the diversity and pluralism of identities, issues, and experiences faced by Indigenous art workers. The roundtable series, titled Issues in Art, Curation and Community Care, focus on the underrepresented voices of four communities: Black & Indigenous Perspectives; Francophone Perspectives; Northern Perspectives; and Gender Minority, 2Spirit, Queer Perspectives.
The conversations held within these roundtables will assist in the development of stronger mandates and structures to help the ICCA be a better, more equitable and accountable space, but also will aid in our work in making institutions and arts organizations develop better practices when working with Indigenous arts professionals that are informed by lived experiences, which we value above all else.