At the Society of Disability Arts and Culture (S4DAC) AGM in 2006, questions came up about the 2010 Winter Olympics and what funding might be available for local arts groups to get involved in the Cultural Olympiad. It was agreed that Kickstart (formerly S4DAC) would investigate and share information.
While investigating, the idea for a provincial network of disability arts groups arose from discussions with Al Etmanski, then working as a disability consultant for 2010 Legacies Now. In September 2006, Kickstart convened the first gathering to discuss the value of such a network and the potential to develop a common strategy.
Consultant Richard Marcuse was engaged, with funding from 2010 Legacies Now, to conduct a needs assessment and he developed a comprehensive document that was completed in August, 2007. “A Legacy for All of Us: A Plan for the Development of Inclusive Arts and Culture in British Columbia” recommended that S4DAC take on a leadership role in the development of BC Regional Inclusive Arts Network (BRIAN). Read the BRIAN report in Word (672 KB) or in PDF format (1.4MB). (The free Adobe PDF Reader is needed to view the PDF version.)
The concept and structure of BRIAN was discussed at several subsequent gatherings. At the Art of Engagement Conference in Vancouver (October, 2007) the BRIAN steering committee, consisting of Geoff McMurchy from Kickstart, Irwin Oostindie from Gallery Gachet and Cathy McDonald from Theatre Terrific, formed a break-out discussion group around network structures and were joined by several participants.
In January 2008 a discussion around BRIAN structure was held at Gallery Gachet during a ‘Disability Arts Symposium’ that featured guest speakers Bruce Gladwin, Artistic Director of Back to Back Theatre in Australia; and Wendy Hollo, Executive Director of the Nina Haggerty Centre for the Arts. Download symposium flyer (PDF format – 148 KB).
In May 2008, with the support of 2010 Legacies Now once again, a gathering was facilitated by Development Consultant Sandra Thompson, with the aim of determining the organizational structure for BRIAN, and creating a five-year vision as well as a one-year action plan to work toward the vision.
A draft mission and mandate were considered:
To serve the collective interests of BC’s Inclusive Arts Community.
Note: during the course of the day it was determined that the Mission Statement needed to be further developed by a governance committee, with wording that would clarify that BRIAN would serve:
- both ‘disability artists’ and ‘artists with disabilities’
- non-profit disability/integrated arts organizations that may provide services to children and youth, arts students, as well as pre-professional, emerging and professional artists.
- Advocacy – access for artists and audiences, recognition of ‘disarts’
- Member Services – show tours, etc.
- Funding – collaborative projects, commissions, research etc.
Three working groups charged with creating one-year action plans to advance the vision. Governance, Membership and Advocacy. Read the May 2008 BRIAN meeting notes in Word (44 KB) or the meeting notes in PDF (84 KB).
It should be noted that it became necessary for S4DAC to focus on strategic planning for its own survival at the time, and right up until mid-2009 when planning for Kickstart Festival 2010 began. The injection of energy and resources that a Festival brings, and the hiring of a paid employee, has brought Kickstart to a place where we are able to ‘shepherd’ the process once again.
To this end, Kickstart has secured funding from – can you guess? – yes!, 2010 Legacies Now, and from the Regional Initiatives program of the BC Arts Council. This will allow us to develop a web presence for BRIAN and pay a worker to do some ground work.
That worker is Meg Torwl, whose first task is to organize a BRIAN seminar on Saturday, March 13th from 10am to 4pm. The gathering will hear brief reports from representatives of Cool Arts in Kelowna, Start With Art Nanaimo and the brilliant advocate, educator and writer Catherine Frazee.
In October, 2010 S. Siobhan McCarthy was engaged by Kickstart to be the outreach coordinator for BRIAN. McCarthy is presently putting out a call seeking all “disability artists” and “artists with disabilities” as well as “non-profit disability/integrated arts organizations that may provide services to children and youth, art students, as well as pre-professional, emerging and professional artists” to become part of this vibrant community and network.
To contact BRIAN: email email@example.com or call 604-681-5788