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35//50 Response

Commitment to Organizational Transformation

The 35//50 Initiative is a coalition of BIPOC artists across Alberta who believe in representation as an actionable plan. Over the next three years, we are committed to seeing our civic landscape more equitably reflected in our professional landscape: a minimum of 35% BIPOC and 50% women and gender minorities in paid, professional positions. Hence the 35//50 Initiative. While our main focus is on BIPOC representation within our province, we firmly believe in intersectionality and that this work can also advance gender equity. From website www.3550initiative.com

WP Puppet Theatre joins the arts companies across Alberta in publicly acknowledging our support for the 35//50 Initiative. We would like to thank the artists who have made the 35//50 Initiative a reality.

Our mandate is to use the power of puppetry to impact positive social change. Positive social change can start within our own organization as we work on organizational transformation through Anti-Racist and Anti-Oppression (AROA) training, the formalization of actionable and measurable practices supporting Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility (EDIA) and our response to the 35//50 initiative.

While we have tried to itemize concrete next steps for our support we understand that the first step is to learn what we don’t know. Further, that this work will be ongoing, interactive, iterative and multilayered.

Therefore, we will start with an assessment of where we are now, which will suggest the appropriate workshops to start with in our AROA training.

Additionally, we are committing to a curriculum of in-servicing over the next year for board members, staff, and stakeholders to undertake through paid consultations with local, national and international individuals and organizations. This is being coordinated by one of our Board members, who is herself Indigenous, and who is the chair of our Diversity & Inclusion Board/Staff committee. As a starting point, our curriculum will include presentations on Indigenous Ways of Knowing, The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action and The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Universal Framework.

Our proposed next steps include:

  • We have stated for many years, in both our board, staff and volunteer recruitment and in our program participation, that We are committed to policies and actions supporting diversity, inclusion and equity. We welcome persons of any race, creed, colour, age, sex, religion or national origin to be part of our organization and programs. Going forward we intend to be specific about how we realize this goal.
  • Work with community partners to establish practical ways to implement EDIA best practice within programming and operations starting with HR and the recruitment of volunteers, staff and contractors.
  • Work on a comprehensive succession plan for roles within our organization to encourage BIPOC leaders to potentially fill these positions.
  • The 35//50 initiative provides a benchmark of 35% BIPOC and 50% women and gender minorities in paid, professional positions. We will work to ensure that we meet or exceed the 35//50 minimum representation, as positions become available.
  • Current demographics for WPTS are:
        • Paid professional staff, including contractors: 75% women or non -binary//38% BIPOC//38% seniors
        • Board volunteers: 53% women or non-binary//29% BIPOC//12% seniors
  • In the creation of our theatre for young audiences, while we refer to current pedagogy on child development, we will purposefully include a more inclusive worldview, alongside our hallmark mental health and wellness themes. This means we will purposefully seek out performance themes that include BIPOC stories and artists.
  • We are aware of the influence that the arts can have on young people’s development and are committed to create a safe space for conversation, questions and advocacy.
  • In developing and facilitating these learning experiences, for children and youth, including those in Gay-Straight-Alliance (GSA) clubs, we will work to include BIPOC artists, stories, and power.
  • In all our programming, performances, workshops, conferences, festivals, and professional development, we will work to ensure and advocate for, equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility for all our participants. This means that we will, to the best of our abilities:
        • Make our international calls for presenters reflective of cultural traditions and practices.
        • Provide accommodations for differently-abled persons, seniors with dementia, marginalized and racialized persons.
        • Offer technical support for our online delivery and solutions for persons having difficulty with internet access.
  • We understand that we need to work on an Anti-Harassment policy to include a more specific and nuanced approach to Anti-Racism.
  • We will develop robust assessment tools to measure our impact and efficacy in this work and we will publicly report annually on the results of our initiatives.

We are committed to moving forward purposefully and sustainably to support lasting change in our community.
For further information or questions please contact:
Wendy Passmore – Godfrey at admin@wppuppet.com or Erin Prosser erin@wppuppet.com