Ongoing Equity and Inclusion Work at Akin:
Over the past two years, Akin has worked with Artist, Anti-oppression, Liberation & Meaningful Inclusion consultant Rania El Mugammar to build safer, more inclusive spaces for all our community members. We conducted a demographics and equity survey, using Ontario Human Rights Code consistent grounds, to better understand the makeup up of our spaces, as well as the needs and experiences of our diverse community. Through this survey, and our ongoing work, we were able to identify gaps in our services and learnings, and to reaffirm our commitment to doing the work of equity through an anti-oppressive lens.
We understand that this work is very important, and that we will inevitably make mistakes, as a result, we are committed to a process of accountability and transparency. We welcome your feedback and reflections, please visit www.akincollective.com/contact to leave comments, questions, suggestions or feedback. If you wish to report a conflict or other emergency that needs urgent attention please visit www.akincollective.com/reporting.
Trainings & Capacity Building
Both staff and members indicated a need to increase our learnings and capacities in several areas. As a result, we have undergone training on the following topics:
Anti-oppression for Artists & Cultural Producers
Conflict Resolution & Empathy in Communications
Mental Health First Aid
Queer and Trans Inclusion
Emergency First Aid and CPR
We continue to cultivate new skills and to critically reflect on our work interpersonally and institutionally.
Policy & Process
Addressing systems issues, alongside increased capacity and more inclusive programming, is pivotal to continuing this work in a sustainable and meaningful way.
As a result, we’ve made many changes to existing policies, as well as developing new processes to better understand the needs of our community, to limit risk/harm to our members and staff and to better serve our clients.
Code of Conduct
With the guidance of our consultant, and with input from our members, we have revisited our code of conduct in order to create a robust, actionable and clear policy that centres the most marginalized members of our communities.
Elder in Residence Program
Akin is thrilled to welcome Wyandot multimedia artist and Tradition Keeper Catherine Tammaro (Taǫmęˀšreˀ) to our organization as our inaugural Indigenous Elder Artist in Residence - a relationship based on communication, creativity, awareness/visibility and relationship building between creative settler and Indigenous folk. This initiative will help Akin work toward maintaining its treaty responsibilities with Indigenous Peoples per the Dish With One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant, an agreement between allied nations to care for and share the resources in the Great Lakes Region.
Catherine will hold open studio hours to engage with studio members and our larger community, provide creative and spiritual support for Indigenous artists and collaborate with Akin on initiatives prioritizing Indigenous artists and cultural producers. We understand that we have a lot of work to do in better supporting Indigenous folk, and making our spaces safe and enjoyable. This unique residency program is one step that we have worked on together for several months, we are honoured and we recognize that there is still a lot of work to be done to honour our treaty responsibilities and our values.
We’ve developed a new intake process that includes a needs assessment and clear expectations of new and potential members to contribute to creating an inclusive environment, to be accountable and to hold us accountable. This new in-take form and process will help us match new members with a space that meets their needs, without negatively impacting other members in the space.
Feedback Forms and Reporting
We have created two Feedback forms where members can report conflicts or concerns to us anonymously or with their contact information.