When I say “composer,” who do you think of? Are they alive? Are they male, white, of European descent? I posed these questions when we opened our first Racial Equity and Inclusion Forum in September 2019. If I asked these questions to our larger arts ecosystem today, I wonder how differently people would answer. We’ve seen many commitments to racial equity (including ACF) and increased support of the Black Lives Matter movement. We are seeing greater efforts to include diverse racial and gender representation on stages, on staff, and in positions of power.
But across the U.S., we are seeing the inevitable backlash to these actions, as well — such as criticism of Critical Race Theory. In addition, last year’s heightened interest and engagement in social justice has waned.
How do we persist, and resist the inertia pulling us back into our flawed systems and exclusionary practices? What does real follow through on the commitments of this past year look like? For our own work, how do we ensure artists are being invited, included, and presented in an equitable way?
We invite you to join us for our next Artist Equity Summit on September 10-11, 2021 to learn how we as artists, arts advocates, and arts supporters can be an effective part of the follow through. Join us virtually or watch the videos on icareifyoulisten.tv later.
Sustained focus on and investment in this work is vital, and we can do more together than on our own. We hope this gathering will provide you with:
- Examples of the everyday work of anti-racism, including land acknowledgement
- Illustrations of how equity shows up throughout an organization, enabling more meaningful experiences for everyone involved
- Artists and arts organizations to follow and support
Schedule of Events (all times in Central Time)
View the full schedule on composersforum.org
Friday, September 10
4:30PM: Welcome & Report on ACF’s Commitment to Equity
5:00-6:30PM: Panel 1: “Labels and Language: What does your commitment actually mean?”
7:00-9:00PM Live outdoor concert by ACF awardees at Mears Park Bandshell in St. Paul, MN (the concert will not be livestreamed)
Saturday, September 11
8:45AM: YallaDrum! Performance (Remembering 9/11)
9:30-11:00AM: Panel 2: “Follow-Through: Moving Through the Backlash”
11:00AM: Land Acknowledgement and Performance by Jada Brown
11:30AM-1:00PM Panel 3: “What We Learn from Indigenous Cultures”
Watch highlights from the 2019 convening
Watch our May 2021 Artist Equity Summit
We are grateful for the support of Saint Paul’s STAR program for this event.
This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.
I CARE IF YOU LISTEN is an editorially-independent program of the American Composers Forum, funded with generous donor and institutional support. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author and may not represent the views of ICIYL or ACF.