Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Update: February 2021
In solidarity with Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) communities, the Textile Museum of Canada made a public statement on June 12, 2020 in support of the Black Lives Matter movement; a movement that has challenged us to turn the lens of equity inwards as we reshape our ethos towards deeper belonging for all. We are committed to taking an active role in the ongoing fight for racial equity and justice. We recognize that we are a cultural institution benefiting from the colonial roots of Western museum practices and histories. We are committed to sharing our plan for concrete actions towards meaningful change.
We will proceed with transparency and accountability as we confirm our longstanding commitment to representing the evolving diversity of Toronto, Ontario, and Canada. We will review our past actions and inactions with respect to equity, diversity and inclusions and we will establish benchmarks and measure our progress as we move forward. This will be reflected in our projects, partnerships, and people; centred in the Museum’s policies and procedures, educational programs, collection, exhibitions, and daily operations.
Our commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion has been longstanding, but we know that we can do better. Our guiding values and core beliefs articulate this commitment under the heading Open and Inclusive in our 2018-2021 Strategy Plan, where we commit to:
- being responsive to our audience and visitors, recognizing that they are at the heart of what we do,
- acknowledge and celebrate the value of diversity and embrace constructive inquiry and multiplicity of thought, and
- respect all individuals’ contributions and offer an accessible and welcoming environment for visitors, volunteers, members and staff.
Since June, we have formed a board-driven, staff-engaged Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Task Force (EDITF) to provide recommendations and guidance to the Board that will facilitate deepening the Museum’s commitment to diversity and equity while actively working towards a more inclusive Museum space. Conversations with the EDITF informed the creation of an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Staff Working Group. Our goal is to work toward having measurable, actionable goals and initiatives, and to hold ourselves accountable for this vital work.
We have identified the following focal areas for this work to occur:
- Projects: Programming, Education, Exhibitions, and Collections
- People: Artists, visitors, members, volunteers, staff, contractors, management, and Board
- Partnerships: Community outreach, cross-institutional support, and vendors
Our commitment to EDI is ongoing. Today we are sharing the first of a series of communications outlining our goals:
RECENT AND CURRENT ACTIONS
- 2020 | Established an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Task Force (EDITF) to bring recommendations to the Board of Trustees.
- 2021 | Established an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Staff Working Group to lead staff self-education, gather anti-oppression resources, create measurable goals, and bring recommendations from staff perspectives to the EDITF.
- 2020–21 | Continue to co-create meaningful public platforms with individuals and groups with diverse experiences, backgrounds, and points of view.
- 2021 | Ongoing re-evaluation of recruitment strategies by recognizing systematic oppressions that might impact applicants’ credentials such that the lived experiences of applicants are valued.
- CURRENT: Review and deepen our strategies for reducing financial barriers to Museum programs.
- CURRENT: Promote our staff and Board of Trustees on the website to increase transparency.
- CURRENT: Prioritize opportunities for anti-oppression, human rights, and conflict resolution training through ongoing professional development training for staff and board.
PLANNED ACTIONS (within 1 year)
- Continue to engage the active participation of BIPOC communities in building knowledge of the collection.
- Undertake a review of space currently and previously given to artists and program partners from BIPOC, LGBTQ2S+ communities and persons with disabilities to establish future benchmarks which bolster our commitment to diverse representation and equitable exposure.
- Research best practices in Universal Design and develop a plan to conduct a review of the building.
- Actively pursue our goal of increasing the diversity amongst our staff, Board, and volunteers to better represent the communities we serve.
- Ensure our workplace environment welcomes and supports discussions about systemic racism, implicit/explicit bias, and white supremacy.
- Review and renew our staff, Board, and volunteer resources with a deepened commitment to equity-driven policies and procedures.
- Deepen our commitment to ongoing anti-oppression, human rights, and conflict resolution training at the board and staff level.
- Create stronger relationships with peer museums, organizations, and artists; foster sustained partnerships.
- Develop a program that provides barrier–free access to the Museum’s rental spaces for equity–seeking community groups when we reopen.
- Conduct an internal review of our vendor, supplier, and contractor relationships through a lens of equity, diversity, and inclusion.
- Revisit external communications, marketing, and outreach plans to ensure we engage marginalized communities in our programs and events.
If you are interested in contributing to the Textile Museum of Canada’s current and future work in these areas, we encourage you to do so. Your voices are vital, and we welcome dialogue. Please contact us at email@example.com.