To Artists, Curators, and Stakeholders,
We are releasing this update as we near the end of the internal conversations relating to the cancellation of the Lands to Travel Through (LTTT) gathering which was scheduled to take place in August 2021. In the wake of the cancellation, the LTTT Planning Committee began an accountability process guided by licensed clinical social worker and healer Xochitl Sandoval. This process began with private community feedback sessions between community members and Xochitl. In the months afterward, the committee met to absorb and discuss the shared feedback, working through group reflections as well as readings and resources offered by Xochitl.
We acknowledge and apologize for the harm we’ve caused to our artists, curators, and members of our community because of the inaction and poor communication surrounding serious personal conflict. The committee members saw how ill equipped artist-run centres are to respond to conflict involving trauma. Overall, we made decisions that created divisions between us, the artists, and curators, isolating everyone involved from potential sources of mutual support. We did this without acknowledging our own personal and institutional limitations in dealing with conflict.
We have charted the reflections and learnings that arose through those group discussions and are sharing them in this document (this link will open a new page to miro.com). It is our intention to offer some transparency around the conversations we had, including possible action items and the better pathways we were able to imagine.
Ultimately the accountability process was not completed. The third and fourth parts of our process were dialoguing and repairing. Over the course of the year, members of the committee left for various reasons. The two remaining members do not have the capacity to continue with the process under the umbrella of Lands to Travel Through or the Alberta Association of Artist-run Centres, which was the organization responsible for hosting the conference. Instead, as staff of artist-run centres based in Treaty 7 Territory, we will endeavor to increase our individual and collective capacity to move through and heal from conflict processes. In the coming weeks we will announce a micro-grant fund to help bolster our collective capacity for conflict resolution.
While it is regrettable that we could not finish our accountability process as a collective, we are thankful for the members who contributed throughout.
Anyone is welcome to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. However, at this time, we will prioritize conversation with those most impacted by the original incident and conference cancellation. If you are a concerned community member that would like to get in touch, please be aware that our response time might be slow.
All our best,
Areum Kim and Desiree Nault
Alberta Association of Artist-run Centres
It is with ineffable sadness and regret that the planning committee is sharing this letter to announce that we will not be moving forward with next week’s artist-run gathering, Lands to Travel Through. We will be honouring all of our financial commitments to scheduled presenters and staff, and will be issuing refunds to those who have registered for the gathering.
This difficult decision was made in the context of calls for accountability within an ongoing community conflict. Curators and artists have withdrawn from the gathering because of our untimely and insufficient communications that have resulted in a lack of transparency. We’ve struggled to understand what our role was or should have been with regard to supporting those directly involved in conflict, and we’ve continually found ourselves in dissensus regarding possible forms and avenues of accountability; yet we continued to move our work forward without addressing this. The impact of these decisions is that trust has been compromised, and our ability to support artists and those in attendance has been jeopardized. We are so sorry.
Because we must navigate complex layers of accountability in this situation, we have reached out for help; we are committing to a facilitated accountability process with Xochitl Sandoval, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, to better understand what accountability looks like both within this circumstance and in our broader work, while also supporting healing. We are currently having facilitated internal conversations. We also would like to invite community—participants, registrants, partners—to take part in conversations with us as part of the accountability process. Please visit this link if you would like to schedule a time to meet with us and Xochitl from August 3 - 8, 2021. During this initial phase of the accountability process, we do not yet have answers or solutions regarding this conflict; anyone who has immediate questions or needs with regard to this can reach out directly to Xochitl, who can also answer any further questions regarding the accountability process; ze can be reached at email@example.com.
Lands to Travel Through Planning Committee
April Dean, SNAP (Society of Northern Alberta Print-Artists)
Areum Kim, Stride Gallery
Michelle Schultz, Latitude 53
Natasha Chaykowski, The Bows
Su Ying Strang, The New Gallery