As an organization, we have been actively working to educate ourselves at the staff and advisory panel level on ways that we can build a more inclusive, barrier-free organization for the local community and staff that supports and highlights Equity Deserving groups. In addition to City of Brampton seminars and training, we have been working with Artist, Anti-oppression, Liberation & Meaningful Inclusion consultant Rania El Mugammar in support of these efforts since 2022.
Some of the training and capacity building we have engaged in have included:
- Anti Oppression 101 & 102 Training with Rania (Staff and Panel members)
- Anti Oppression for Artists & Cultural Producers (Public workshop)
- Indigenous Cultural Competency training (Staff) with Toronto Hostels Training Centre
- Worker Health and Safety Awareness with the City of Brampton
- Accessibility for Life Training as required by the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) with the City of Brampton
In conjunction with this learning and unlearning, BAO has endeavoured to specifically support and showcase local Equity Deserving Groups through programming including the "Black Artists Live Here" exhibition, multiple 2SLGBTQ+ Artist Residencies, our Accessibility Ramp Program and ongoing free workshops and training including "Accessibility for Arts Events", "Land Acknowledgements with Elder Catherine Tammaro" and virtual exhibition tours. We are thankful to have partnered with many organizations in this work including the Indigenous Curatorial Collective, BIPOC TV & Film, Tangled Art + Disability, Stop Gap Foundation, Moyo Community Health Services and the City of Brampton's Accessibility and Equity and Inclusion offices.
All of the selection panels for BAO opportunities involve local community members and prioritize applicants who self-identify as belonging to one (or more) of the following groups or intersecting marginalized identities: Indigenous, Persons of Colour, Deaf Persons, Persons with Disabilities, Newcomers and Persons Living with Mental Illness, 2SLGBTQIAP. We strongly encourage applications from these communities and work to accommodate folks with a disability during our processes and at events.
Looking ahead, we have recently updated our Land Acknowledgement and drafted our first community guidelines document which will grow and evolve with public feedback while we continue to update processes, policies and systems while working in sustainable and meaningful ways. This fall, we will also be doing a full accessibility audit of our office and workshop space to identify areas for improvement. We will share public updates as we implement the next steps in this ongoing, evolving work as we transition to independence, including our first Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access policy.