On the Past and Future of FDC
The stage combat community has been built by many hearts and hands; we have invested in each other and created a space that many consider to be their home. However, a home needs to be built with everyone in mind, or it’s only a home for some. Fight Directors Canada acknowledges that our association has not felt like a welcoming place for several BIPOC artists and practitioners.
There is a great deal of movement within FDC right now, as we identify our weaknesses and take action to bring about meaningful change. There are a number of changes on the horizon.
We realize that our systems were created with implicit bias. Our policies and procedures are being scoured for regressive or racist content. Anti-racism language and practice will be enshrined. All policies will be reviewed annually.
Our leadership structure does not reflect our membership or our society. We are currently examining a restructuring of our organization to one that opens our leadership rooms, limits gatekeeper powers and creates advancement opportunities for BIPOC people within FDC.
Leaders need to understand the oppressive potential of their decisions. We are seeking anti-oppression training for the FDC Board and Executive.
Oppressive practices still linger in our art form, including exoticism, stereotyping, racialized violence and ethnic generalizing. Ways of implementing diversity training for instructors and directors is being pursued. New courses that address those topics in the context of fight creation and performance will be programmed at our workshops.
Our Euro-centric curriculum is being reviewed with the aim of focusing on skill development, and an emphasis on introducing broader cultural content.
Our classrooms do not have varied source material for scenes. We will be adding a scene resource section to the website for members to access and add materials.
We need to fight the trend of attrition that sees us lose talented BIPOC people through lack of opportunity. We are creating training workshops that emphasize new disciplines and new modalities. There will be more opportunities for members to program, teach and train in environments of their own design.
Financial barriers continue to be a problem. Our new workshop (FDCNext) will be much more financially accessible. New scholarships for BIPOC people will be offered for our major events, including FDCNext and the National Certification Workshop.
In not actively engaging with diverse communities in the intentional shaping of FDC, we have not lived up to our values. Our Diversity Development and Mentorship Committee is in its infancy, but it will be responsible for auditing FDC’s diversity initiatives and help us reach out to BIPOC communities.
We have not used our influence to specifically advocate for the BIPOC community within the broader industry. We will commit ourselves to be more responsible citizens.
Being truly inclusive is not a passive state. Welcoming all people in the door is not the same as building the house with them from the ground up. Fight Directors Canada is committed to the intentional redevelopment of its structures and practices, as it seeks to move from passively living within its values to actively engaging in their implementation and growth.
Specifics on each of these initiatives will be announced as they become solidified. Our discussions currently involve many members from across the country. Please reach out if you would like to get involved. The change will not stop there.