Lord Cultural Resources, the world’s largest cultural professional practice, recently attended the launch of a new BIPOC Fellowship in Ontario, which has been developed by Gail Lord, president of Lord Cultural Resources, and Karen Carter, co-founder of Black Artists’ Network in Dialogue.
The event took place at the immersive Beyond Monet exhibition at the Metro Toronto
Convention Centre, and was also attended by the Hon. Elizabeth Dowdeswell, lieutenant governor of Ontario and honourary patron of the initiative. In her opening remarks, Dowdeswell said:
“Tonight we are speaking of diversity and inclusion — a new era has begun for the Gallery, Library and Museum sector in Canada. The impact of the BIPOC fellowship will be felt for generations to come.”
New leadership opportunities
The BIPOC Fellowship aims to present new leadership opportunities for Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour who are professionals in the Canadian arts and culture sectors.
“What is truly groundbreaking about this initiative is that it is so much more than ensuring BIPOC individuals are recruited to leadership positions and have opportunities to learn and grow through mentorship and support,” added Dowdeswell.
“The host institutions will experience cultural change, moving beyond awareness and marketing to really embracing policies and practices that breathe life into fully functioning inclusive institutions.”
Michael Thompson, deputy mayor and chair of Toronto’s Economic and Community Development Committee, said:
“Toronto cannot have economic recovery from the Pandemic without the recovery of the cultural sector; and the cultural sector cannot thrive without inclusive leadership of Black, Indigenous and People of Color.” As he handed over a cheque for $25,000 to the Fellowship, he added:
“We in Toronto seek and will achieve a successful economic recovery with justice for all.”
Jeffrey Latimer, the producer of ‘Beyond Monet’, also presented a cheque to the BIPOC Fellowship, for $60,000. “As a country, as a city, we have an amazing opportunity,” he said. “We all have that ability, as entrepreneurs, as producers, as people, to do something. And as a country, we could do more. So when Robert Foster Chair of Business/Arts told me about the BIPOC Fellowship – I immediately said Yes.”
Seven pilot projects are taking part in the Fellowship at its launch: the Royal Ontario Museum, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto Public Library, City of Toronto Museums, The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery in Toronto, MacKenzie Art Gallery in Regina, and Contemporary Calgary. These institutions will provide a permanent leadership position and will also participate in a supportive cultural change process, facilitated by the Fellowship.
The launch celebrations were opened and closed with the Haudenosaunee ‘Thanksgiving Address’, presented by Tehahenteh Frank Miller via video.
“Our vision is to a seed a legacy for institutional change in the arts and culture sector across Canada,” said Carter.
Lord added, “Tonight we are launching a pilot project because the BIPOC Foundation is a start-up and it’s important to continually evaluate what is happening. On the other hand, this is such a simple idea – it just might work. ”
Earlier this year, Lord Cultural Resources welcomed Yvonne Tang to the role of director, visitor experience.
Photos by Claudia Pensa Bowen, BAND Gallery