FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Who are you asking to commit to the 35//50 Initiative?
We sent the 35//50 initiative letter to a wide variety of dance and theatre organizations in Edmonton and Calgary that receive public funding. You can find company responses here: https://www.3550initiative.com/responses
What BIPOC and gender representation is there in the 35//50 Initiative?
Are you being financially compensated to run this initiative?
Though this is currently a volunteer-based and funded initiative, we are looking into funding to cover hard costs, fees for consultants, and, in the future, a wage for an administrator(s).
Why are you encouraging organizations to share statistics publicly?
Sharing statistics allows us to set concrete goals for the future and transparently track our progress in achieving them as a community. While there are efforts that cannot be tracked by statistics, quantitative data can show trends that people can use to locate themselves and/or their organizations individually and within the context of the community as a whole
What about other marginalized groups? What if I work with an organization that focuses on another equity-seeking group?
By focusing on BIPOC, female, and non-binary representation, the 35//50 Initiative does not seek to undermine efforts in representing other marginalized groups. While our main focus is on IBPOC representation within our cities, we hold a firm belief in intersectionality. We would encourage your organization to publicly commit to 35//50 representation as well as representation of other equity seeking groups as is appropriate to your organization's goals and mandate.
Is this representation supposed to be present on every project that dance and theatre organizations do? And, is this initiative asking for 35//50 representation on each level of organizations (i.e. administration, technical staff, performers, etc)?
The 35//50 Initiative asks for a minimum of 35% IBPOC and 50% women and non-binary people in the total number of paid, professional positions over a season. We encourage people to note where specific departments within their organizations need more work than others, and adjust their efforts accordingly. Additionally, the objectives of the 35//50 Initiative are meant to be realized over 5 years. We encourage interested organizations to reflect on historic patterns of inequity and come up with long term objectives that reflect the changes that are most relevant to you.
To achieve this percentage, we would have to fire at least one staff member who helped found the company. How would you recommend we proceed?
The 35//50 Initiative does not support firing staff to achieve percentages. As stated in the answer above, we encourage interested organizations to reflect on historic patterns of inequity and come up with long term objectives that may be realized over five years, as opposed to immediate or reactive changes. For founder-driven organizations, consider what your organization's succession plan currently looks like. Is it important that the company is only ever run by its founders, or will founding members ever need to be replaced? If the latter is true, what is the groundwork you can lay now so that your company welcomes a wider breadth of representation when the time comes for leadership or staffing transitions? Remember, the 35//50 Initiative is about striving for a collective goal, and there is no singular 'correct' (or easy) way to achieve this goal.
How do I hire IBPOC artists without it coming across as filling a quota for 35//50?
There are many resources available for organizations who are seeking greater representation. Here is a great place to start: http://communitywise.net/aroc/
Is this letter going out to performing arts educational institutions and studios?
We have sent a letter to a variety of educational institutions that asks them to talk about this initiative with their student body, and to explore actions and initiatives that would move their institution towards a more equitable future. As we explore this more, we will keep people informed.
Can I connect with one of the 35//50 members to discuss this more?
Feel free to reach out to us via our website or email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org with specific questions not covered in our FAQ. At present we are a volunteer-based collective of contributors, one of our co-contributors will respond as quickly and efficiently as possible. We may or may not have the capacity to engage with a message that does not seem to have a constructive intent. Thank you so much for your patience, curiosities and discussions.
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