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:
- Updated December 2020 - In October we announced the establishment of a brand new department—Arts of Global Africa and the Diaspora. The Department focuses on acquiring, exhibiting and building programming around historic, modern and contemporary work art from Africa and the African diaspora. The Department recently acquired its first work, Moridja Kitenge Banza’s Christ Pantocrator No 13 (2020).
- Updated December 2020 - Community involvement has been critical to the creation of this new department and so the Friends of Global Africa and the Diaspora (FGAD) has been established. They are working collaboratively with community members, donors, curators and educators to coordinate research and exhibitions that highlight the impact of African art, art histories and migrations, past and present.
- Updated December 2020 - This fall, the AGO introduced free, fully immersive virtual school programs, focused on wellness and art. They include programs Indigenous Art and Artists and Getting to Know Art of the African Diaspora, and have already had more than 120,000 students from across the province attend.
- 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:
- Updated December 2020 - Our Board of Trustees has established a new Diversity & Inclusion Board Committee. They have now met a number of times and have established a mandate.
- 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.
- Updated December 2020 - In September 2020 we launched a mandatory, regular and ongoing robust anti-oppression and anti-racism training program for current and new staff and volunteers. New sessions are being scheduled for 2021. To date, sessions have included:
- An Introduction to Diversity & Inclusion
- Anti-Racism 101 - Moving from 'Not Racist' to 'Anti-Racist
- Anishinaabe Philosophy and Land
- Sharing Knowledge – A Conversation with Indigenous Art Educators
- We are in the final stages 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, who is involved in the hiring process and mandatory Diversity and Inclusion training upon onboarding.
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.