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Creating With Respect

In December of 2022, the Nelson and District Arts Council presented a day of free, virtual workshops to help artists and arts presenters reduce accidental harm in their work. Workshop facilitators​ dove into issues of cultural appropriation in the arts in specific disciplines: visual arts, dance, writing, music, and a session specifically for arts providers.

Cultural Appropriation Education for Artists

Facilitators Kama La Mackerel, Simone Blais, Jaqueline Valencia, Dawn Pemberton, and Carla Stephenson brought participants together in virtual spaces to explore best practices on avoiding cultural appropriation and to discuss frameworks and ethics that can help artists create from a place of cultural appreciation.


Cultural Appropriation in the Arts

For visual artists. Presented by Kama La Mackerel.

The subject of cultural appropriation has been at the forefront of many discussions in recent years, particularly in the fields of arts and culture. In this workshop, we will break down the notions of “multicultural melting pot” that we often believe the arts should be, which lead to appropriative artistic practices. We will look at the urgent questions we need to ask ourselves as arts practitioners: what are the colonial assumptions we carry within us as creators; what are the ethical interrogations we need to make space for in our work; how do we make art that is truthful, respectful, and allows us to uphold the sacredness of our relationship to others? The workshop will be comprised of theoretical frameworks, practical tools and concrete scenarios to work with.


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Navigating Power and Privilege in Black Dance

For dancers and choreographers.
Presented by Simone Blais.

In this workshop, you will watch the 25 minute film, Dance Like Everybody’s Watching,’ which follows three Black dancers in Victoria, BC as they expose their worlds of flamenco, hip hop, and dancehall. While the dancers grapple with racism, tokenism, and stereotypes, we are reminded that dance is always political. This film screening is followed by a facilitated discussion with director Simone Blais.

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Cultural Appropriation and the Craft

For writers. Presented by Jacqueline Valencia.

A look at the ethics in writing and cultural appropriation. How to write without harm.

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Addressing Cultural Appropriation for Arts Presenters

For venues, festivals, and arts organizations. Presented by Carla Stephenson.

In this 90-minute workshop, we will discuss best practices to avoid cultural appropriation at your events from inception through to curation and delivery.

We will dive into challenging questions and conversations and will offer concrete resources to bring back to your organizations to continue the conversation.

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Cultural Appropriation in Music

For musicians and composers.
Presented by Dawn Pemberton. 

Join Dawn Pemberton as she explores the necessary tools to empower you to seek justice, honour equality, diversity, and inclusion in your classrooms, your choirs, your repertoire choices and in your life. We’ll examine style as cultural expression and discuss how personal experiences affect culture, especially within the music of the African diaspora. We’ll look at how cultural appropriation, tokenism, and colonization impact our musical choices and how we can truly be allies in and out of the classroom.

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The Nelson and District Arts Council offers arts and culture programming, education, and advocacy to over 15,000 artists and art-lovers in the Nelson area. 

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