The Art of Managing Your Career – Aboriginal Version
November’s newsletter is devoted to CHRC’s The Art of Managing Your Career (TAMYC) workshop for Aboriginal artists - because the end result is such an important step forward for Aboriginal artists, and because the process itself is a story worth telling.
Right off the top, CHRC acknowledge the very generous support of the Counselling Foundation of Canada (CFC) whose contribution kick started the project. The CFC grasped the importance of business skills in the careers of self-employed artists and the particular needs of Aboriginal artists, and they recognized the value of TAMYC as a primary resource.
Over the years, CHRC Aboriginal Board members have pointed out (and we have noticed) that Aboriginal artists were not accessing our TAMYC resources, though like all artists they are often self-employed and lacking in business skills to make a living from their art. In consultation with Aboriginal artists we concluded that we should do two things to address this issue: create a way of presenting the TAMYC material that is more engaging to Aboriginal artists; and ensure that the TAMYC discipline enhancements include Aboriginal examples and information specific to Aboriginal artists.
Both of these objectives were met through the work of Aboriginal writers, under the direction of a national Aboriginal Steering Committee. CHRC’s role in this project is as convenor.
We are proud and grateful to have rallied a rather exceptional Steering Committee of senior Aboriginal artists from across the sector and across the country, described in a previous newsletter. And we are very pleased to have engaged France Trépanier to prepare the workshop and deliver it to Aboriginal trainers.
Over the summer, on two parallel tracks, France developed the workshop and resources, and CHRC engaged Aboriginal artists to revise the 8 TAMYC discipline enhancements to include Aboriginal examples and information specific to Aboriginal artists. CHRC then hired Aboriginal artists to review the enhancements to ensure that the revisions were complete.
Disseminating the workshop
CHRC’s conundrum: how to disseminate the TAMYC information, necessary for all artists, to artists from literally hundreds of Aboriginal (i.e. First Nations, Métis and Inuit) languages and traditions across Canada?
We knew that France and the Steering Committee could create a TAMYC workshop to re-present the fundamental and vital information in TAMYC to Aboriginal artists, through the broad lens of the Aboriginal experience and worldview. They did. France created a package of a Power Point presentation with 135 slides, a Trainer’s Guide, and a Participant’s Handbook, in English and French, as workshop resources. Among the unique features of the workshop are a cultural mapping exercise, and an in depth consideration of the importance and role of “protocol” in Aboriginal communities and art.
The only way however for the English and French workshops to truly succeed would be through the development of a “train-the-trainer” model for dissemination: trainers from across the country would deliver the material they picked up at the train-the-trainer workshop in their communities adapting the resources to their own language and traditions.
CHRC offered provincial and territorial governments and Aboriginal organizations the opportunity to contribute to the project financially and to send trainers to CHRC’s train-the-trainer workshop. We were thrilled with the responses which came from across the country: the Government of British Columbia, the Edmonton Arts Council, the Saskatchewan Arts Board, SaskCulture, Creative Manitoba, the Government of the Yukon, the Government of the NWT, Miziwe Biik (Aboriginal Employment and Training Organization in Ontario), and JEDI (Joint Economic Development Initiative Inc. in New Brunswick).
(As described in CHRC’s September’s newsletter, the Nunavut government worked with CHRC to develop a TAMYC workshop designed specifically for Nunavut artists.) Each of the funders was committed to not only sending one or two trainers, but to ensuring that they would/could deliver the workshop back in their own communities.
The English train-the-trainer workshop was held in late September in Ottawa at the Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health. 14 trainers attended the 2-day session. The French train-the-trainer workshop was held 2 days later at the Ashukan Cultural Centre, a pillar for the development of Aboriginal art and culture in the heart of Old Montreal.
It turned out that all the “trainees” were women – that wasn’t a criteria! Their comments speak to the transforming nature of the workshops:
“I am very excited to share with others in the province. It is such valuable information. And thank you to all for sharing your stories and experience and knowledge. I felt invigorated and strong after sitting with you for a couple of days. It’s nice to know there are others who are going through the same things and fighting for the same outcomes.”
“It was a pleasure and some serious healing for me personally to be around Aboriginal women, with all your passion and wisdom. Many blessings to each of you.“
“I feel very privileged to be able to sit among very powerful voices. … The seed has been planted and the roots are growing strong.”
“I found this one of the most rewarding workshops I have attended. Although all workshops I attend have purpose and meaning, this one was really FELT and went beyond that for me.”
CHRC is looking forward to the workshops that will be held by these trainees between now and March 2016.
As for the TAMYC discipline enhancements which are being revised, they will appear in their third edition in early December. They will include Aboriginal references and examples. TAMYC, the original guide, will now include information on Aboriginal protocol so that all artists, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal, will have a better understanding of this fundamental aspect of Aboriginal art, culture and traditions.
Two Stellar Youth Internship Program Projects
While CHRC is proud of each of the great internships we are supporting through DCH’s 2015-2016 Building Careers in Heritage program, there are two with a special twist…something for employers to think about when considering applying for a Building Careers in Heritage contribution in the future.
Rêverie Films: This internship project is one of the few that is for an intern to learn creative skills - the majority of the projects are for interns in administrative or managerial positions. With Rêverie Films, the intern is learning the principles of story structure and then applying this knowledge to the creation of a script for a multi-format episodic series. As an integral part of the writing team, he works closely with the primary writer at each phase of the creative process. He is learning to work independently, meet deadlines, share responsibility and collaborate with other creative personnel.
An exceptional opportunity for an aspiring writer.
AFCoop and WIFT Atlantic: When they realized that an intern would gain broader experience working with both AFCoop and WIFT Atlantic, while at the same time facilitating partnerships between them, these two film organisations decided to share a Programming Coordinator intern and apply jointly to the Building Careers in Heritage program. The intern undertakes the same set of tasks for each organization. While strengthening the quality of the organizations’ respective programming, this arrangement gives the intern an expanded network of people and organizations connected to film and media arts in Nova Scotia and a wider range of post-internship employment opportunities.
A brilliant win/win/win idea.
Mandate Letters for Ministers
On November 13, Prime Minister Trudeau made public the “mandate letters” he has sent to his Ministers, which provide blue prints to the Ministers for their objectives over the next four years. Here are the mandate letters to the Minister of Canadian Heritage and the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, for our reference going forward.
FYI: Survey for Cultural Managers
CHRC is part of an international network of cultural managers. We’ve been asked to share the following survey with our networks. It has a strong focus on international activity.
“I am currently working on a research project on the internationalization of cultural management. Part of this project is a survey that addresses cultural managers all around the world. The survey is online until the end of November and will not take more than ten minutes to fill in. All information will surely be treated confidentially. I would be more than happy if you could participate and distribute the link in your network of practitioners in Canada.
Prof. Dr. Raphaela Henze, MBA
Hochschule Heilbronn Campus Künzelsau
Tel.: +49 (0) 7940-1306-250
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