We’re reflecting, listening and embracing an ongoing, refreshed approach to diversity, inclusion, equity and accessibility for our employees, volunteers and visitors that reflects our values and vision through extraordinary Collections, exhibitions and programs by reflecting the people that live here.
This is the first in a series of regular quarterly updates on the progress of the AGO's Diversity & Inclusion strategy. Here’s what we’ve accomplished to date:
ART & LEARNING
We continue to provide platforms for artists who are voices of change in our culture and better reflect the diversity of our community:
- In the last several months, we have focused on hosting talks and performances featuring leading Black, Indigenous and People of Colour artists.
- Our weekly newsletter read by 250K subscribers, the AGOinsider, features profiles of artists and programs in the gallery and increasingly, outside its walls. Recent articles include a two-part roundtable on How To Talk About Anti-Black Racism with community leaders and educators and a discussion with AGO Trustee and prominent art collector Kenneth Montague about artist James Van Der Zee in celebration of our photography’s department’s 20th anniversary.
- Work is ongoing to ensure that our Collections, exhibitions and programs reflect our diverse communities:
- In 2017, we announced the reorganization of the department of Canadian art. The Department of Indigenous & Canadian Art is co-led by curators of Indigenous and Canadian Art and organized on a nation to nation basis. Visitors to the completely renovated J.S. McLean Centre for Indigenous + Canadian Art can see contemporary and historical works organized thematically in dialogue, with label text in Anishinaabemowin, English, French and Inuktitut.
- In 2019, we hired Indigenous Art Educators to deliver the grade 9 NAC10: Expressions of First Nations, Metis and Inuit Cultures, a school program focused on Indigenous art as part of our dedicated partnership with the Toronto District School Board and the Urban Indigenous Education Centre.
- In February 2020, our curatorial and programming teams collaborated to create a month-long inter-generational celebration of Black History Month.
- We have created Teacher Resources on a number of works by Black, Indigenous, People of Colour artists.
- This fall, School program offerings will be digital. For the first time ever, we have a program focused to teach students more about Black histories and futures. In the Getting to Know Black Canadian Artists program, students will explore the works of Black artists in the Collection and explore concepts of identity through the history and presence of Black communities in Canada. Details about how to register will be coming shortly.
- Our website, social media posts and digital promotion have reflected this programming and communications focus.
We are fostering a safe and inclusive work environment where everyone can be their true self:
- Our Board of Trustees has established a new Diversity & Inclusion Board Committee.
- Established in 2017, the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity & Accessibility (IDEA) group is comprised of employees from across the AGO who have been advocating for a more equitable and inclusive culture. This fall, the group has formalized its mandate.
- We have begun a robust anti-oppression and anti-racism training program. The first mandatory training for all employees took place on September 15. This training launched a regular and ongoing program of mandatory D&I training, and will be included in all staff and volunteer onboarding.
- We are in the process of hiring our first-ever Manager of Diversity & Inclusion. This position will report into the Director’s Office.
- The overall hiring process is currently being reviewed and will be reconstructed to include a diversity and inclusion lens on all aspects including, interview questions, where jobs are posted and who is involved in the hiring process.
We believe everyone should have access to great art and programming. Every visitor should feel safe, welcome and like a member of the AGO community:
- The introduction of the AGO Annual Pass in May of 2019, and the sweeping admission changes that came with it, including free admission for all visitors age 25 and under, has meant that our audience is more diverse than ever and more accurately reflects the people who live in our community.