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Statement on equity, diversity and inclusion in the Faculty of Fine Arts

June 23, 2020
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By Rebecca Duclos and Annie Gérin

We are in the midst of an urgent transformational moment.

It is inspiring to see millions of people around the world taking collective action against anti-Black racism, state violence and deeply embedded systemic racism, but we realize it’s not enough to simply say that we stand together as a community against oppression and racism.

As senior university administrators, we must be accountable in our words and in our actions in acknowledging and apologizing for the university’s past and dismantling current systems that perpetuate racism in all its forms. As a community of scholars, educators and artists, we must act collectively to uproot systemic racism and dismantle those oppressive systems and processes in the Faculty of Fine Arts that harm, hold back, or discriminate against Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC).

If there’s one thing we’ve learned in the efforts we’ve made over the last five years—in hiring, in research support and in curriculum changes that begin to address longstanding inequalities in our Faculty—it is that we must not stay on the sidelines. We need to speak openly with one another, learn from one another, embrace humility and responsibility, and actively take a restorative and reparative position to fully embrace a vision of equity and inclusion for all.

More work needs to be done to welcome BIPOC students, faculty and staff into all levels of the university. All of us need to stay on it. We need to make this change as a community to ensure that the burden of transformation does not fall on the shoulders of our BIPOC colleagues.

One significant practical goal the Faculty of Fine Arts can accomplish is to formulate, in continuous dialogue with students, faculty, staff and community leaders, a strategic action plan to help uproot systemic racism, oppressive systems and processes, as well as recognizing the needs and strengths of BIPOC members of our community in ways that they wish to be recognized.

As a community of creative thinkers and makers, we must think and act both creatively and critically to make this happen. This work will require difficult conversations, but together we can build and implement a transparent, accountable plan, that will address a broad range of issues from curriculum and student support to hiring, health and wellness and community relations.

As we enter into the summer months, we have time to listen, engage, and act.

This is only a first statement. A new dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts will start on August 1 and two new associate deans will begin in the Office of the Dean on July 1. After this transition, we will send out a message presenting the next step towards an inclusive plan on how to approach and accomplish this task. In the meantime, collectively and individually, through many small gestures, we can all prepare for the bigger efforts that lay ahead of us.

We urge every faculty member planning their courses for the Fall to seize upon this opportunity to reflect on how our teaching can become more inclusive and nurture a broader diversity of practice and thought.

To our students, we ask that you think about what kind of university you want to study at.

Service and advocacy lie at the core of our work in the Office of the Dean. As administrators, scholars and staff, we commit to moving forward with our eyes and ears open, ready to listen to what needs to be done, and to marshal those resources needed in order to enable change.

If you have any urgent reflections you want to pass on, we invite you to contact us dean.finearts@concordia.ca.

Signed,

Rebecca Duclos, outgoing dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts and

Annie Gérin, incoming dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts



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