“We just created a Diversity Office in our organization because we’ve noticed the demographics of our staff and our clients are changing. Where do we start?”
Situation: A municipal agency that provides grants for artists and arts groups was embarking on a program to reach out to culturally diverse populations. They brought us in to guide an investigation into their grant and communications processes. The goal of this investigation was to ensure that the policies and practices were being managed equitably and if they were responsive to the needs of locally culturally diverse populations.
What We Did: CRC set up a consultation process that included culturally diverse community members already familiar with the agency to reflect on what was working and what could be improved in the policies and practices. CRC also provided a facilitated engagement with grassroots artists from entho-cultural communities who have had trouble in the past accessing the organization’s programs or were simply unaware of the agency. The methodology was community based and networked some of the leadership of the agency with community groups to have direct conversations on the arts, access to grants and the needs of emerging and non-mainstream practitioners. CRC also reviewed policy and researched best practices for working with culturally diverse populations in community arts funding across Canada.
Benefits of the Process: At the end of the consultation CRC was able to provide the agency with a comprehensive report detailing recommendations for changes and improvements in the outreach, communications and grants processes. This was presented to a community advisory committee which took the recommendations to the leadership of the agency.
The recommendations influenced the development of policy updates and new grant possibilities that addressed some of the gaps that were present in working with local ethno-cultural communities. Perhaps most importantlythe agency developed stronger relationships with ethno-cultural artists and community groups through the facilitation and brokering of CRC. While the information provided via the investigation was of value for harmonizing policy with current best practices, the stronger ties with the actual community accessing services was an invaluable outcome of the work.