Another year is already in full swing with supercrawls, swarms and La Rentrée. This year ARCA is in the off-year between conferences, making it a good place to digest the meetings, conversations and notes.
The following numbers are drawn from ARCCO’s report on the Artist at the Center: Moving from the Margins to Inclusion conference held last November in Toronto; they demonstrate solid buy-in for our artist-run network’s biennial conference so crucial in maintaining our sense of belonging and of common values and practices.
Please let us know how important national networking opportunities are to you by answering the following:
Q Do you value networking opportunities with colleagues from other regions?
no - 7%
yes - 97%
Q Do you value the exchange of expertise between regions? no - 0%
yes - 100%
Q Do you value national conferences, which are specifically for artist-run centres / artist-run culture? no - 0%
yes - 100%
As an artist-run body, it’s essential organizers continue to explore alternative approaches to meeting even if at the risk that some things will work better than others, with each meeting becoming a benchmark for the next one. All this to say our biennial conferences are always stimulating as much for the talks as for the auxiliary events and informal spaces where people can meet and form lasting ties.
Among other survey questions, ARCCO asks: If artist-run centres are to continue thriving, what topics or issues need to be addressed within the next 5 years? One response suggests: Cultural challenges in neoliberal times (including labour practices)- intersecting with ARCA’s priorities for the next year, namely, work standards, wages & practices in artist-run centres. For many cultural workers, demonstrating the value of their work, and “what it really costs” is an ongoing challenge; a study dating back to 2004 (see link below in varia) sets the stage for what we hope to become a more concerted effort with the non-profit sector, regarding work standards and wages in artist-run centres, as the precarious, gig economy is now so entrenched and pervasive.
Anne Bertrand, Director
> interviews, videos, quotes
ARCA is happy to welcome to its board Katie Belcher of Eyelevel Gallery in Halifax, representing AARCA, aka Atlantis, and Jennifer Smith of Video Pool Inc. in Winnipeg, representing MARCC. What unites members at the board level was expressed in the form of stories at a face-to-face meeting held August 29-30 in Montréal. Each board member, without hesitation, took turns relating a significant artist-run moment featuring what we believe to be our shared values, reaffirming what brings us to the same table.
Katie Belcher spoke of the resilience of the artist-run community. Especially now that Eyelevel has no fixed space, the creation of spaces has allowed the centre to create different kinds of conversations and communities. For her, the individual characteristics of each artist-run centre are an important aspect of the culture.
Jennifer Smith spoke of the sense of community that the art-centres foster. In particular, the community in Winnipeg which came together to prepare a city-wide event featuring exhibitions by Manitoba based women artists in celebration of MAWA’s 30th anniversary.
> what's happening in our network?
Flotilla : Conference as metaphor
Flotilla organizers met in Sackville, New Brunswick on 28 July 2016, for an update and discussion on the guiding principles instructing the curatorial team. A call for proposals circulated late August invites artist-run centres and other independent groups –maybe centres that operate without a permanent space?– to partner with Atlantic ARCs to create a “Pop Up” of their organization in Charlottetown for the week leading into the event.
Deadline for the call is October 15th.
The organizers encourage anyone who wishes to produce a pop-up centre in Charlottetown next September to contact Michael McCormack as soon as possible, ideally before the Canada Council Project Grant for Organizations in the Visual Arts deadline (Sept 15 2016).
Save the date:
21-24 September 2017
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> selection from the e-artexte digital repository
Artexte Editions and XYZBOOKS are proud to announce the publication of More Caught in the Act: an anthology of performance art by Canadian Women edited by Johanna Householder & Tanya Mars. Sales on site and online as of September 24!
> studies, stats, letters
"Passion and Commitment Under Stress”, a sort of “cost/benefit analysis” of nonprofit working culture, reveals dilemmas that will resonate uncannily with arts workers. The study shows that although nonprofit staff were drawn to the flexibility and intrinsic rewards of the work, they suffered disillusionment and burnout earlier than their peers in other sectors due to a few familiar factors: a shift to short-term project funding that left the workers with more responsibility; less freedom to hire new staff; less stability; and less capacity for long-term planning that ultimately sapped their ability to fulfil their mandate. The study’s proposed solutions read like an arts administrator’s wish list: an honest and unflinching analysis of the sector’s HR needs paired with funders that will hear those needs, affordable training programs, multi-employer benefit plans, more collective and equitable resource-sharing—and fair pay. It’s interesting to note that this prescient study, conducted in 2004, has answers to so many of the questions we’re still struggling with in the arts. Is there something to be gained from collaboration with the nonprofit sector on our common HR ills?
Artist-Run Centres and Collectives Conference wishes to thank the Canada Council for the Arts for its support. / La Conférence des collectifs et des centres d’artistes autogérés reconnaît l'appui financier du Conseil des arts du Canada.