A/C Rep Election

Nominations for the position of Actor/Combatant Representative on the Board are now closed, and there are three candidates for consideration. All members in good standing are eligible to cast a vote. Please find below the candidates statements, and a poll at the bottom of the page.

Voting will be open for two weeks, concluding on December 29th at 11:59pm Eastern Time. Elections results will be displayed here automatically for logged-in users at that time, and announced shortly thereafter.

These are the letters of intent sent by the candidates for consideration by membership. Use the tabs above to view the letters, and cast your vote below. Candidates are presented in alphabetical order by last name.

To my fellow FDC members,

My name is Amy King and I am very pleased to accept the nomination of Actor Combatant Representative from Shel Wyminga.

I am relatively new to the organization of FDC, only having joined in May of 2022 as part of my Basic Actor Combatant National Intensive in Vancouver, BC. However, from that time onward I have slipped into this community and have made powerful and strong friendships with fellow combatants and have built a reputation of notable work ethic, leadership, and respect with my instructors.

I am a multi-disciplinary performance artist with a background in acting, movement, and voice. I have been studying to become a certified Intimacy Director/Coordinator for the last 5 years, and for three years worked full time within post-secondary education, arts administration, and teaching. I believe that my wealth of experience and learning within these areas serve me as a voice within a panel, as well as representing the interests of the largest percentage of constituents of members in FDC - a number which I take under serious consideration.
Below are a few of my skill sets which would complement the role:

  • Training in Staged intimacy and Violence
  • Conflict Resolution and Bystander Intervention Training
  • Certified Mental Health First Aid
  • EDI and Anti-Racism as part of artistic and educational practice
  • Experience in teaching, developing curriculum, guest lecturing
  • Excellent communication and problem solving skills
  • History of leadership and motivation
  • 4 years of service on student leadership councils in the role of Arts Rep,
    Secretary, Vice-President, and President.

I have been fascinated since joining FDC of the Policies and Procedures document, and have read and studied it several times over the last few years. I have also had the opportunity to attend the AGM in 2022 where I was able to see the organization at work. I feel that the fact that my training has taken place over the last 2 years is a benefit for me in that I understand what current challenges and issues within the Actor/Combatant demographic are. I have a real passion for making the best of this organization, and also the time and bandwidth to dedicate towards the role whether that would be virtual meetings with AC’s all across Canada, with Board Members to envision and create policy, and any other administrative duties. My platform consists of curating mental health support for intensive programming, fostering and improving general educational practices, and being an advocate for AC’s in policy around results of adjudication. I am very passionate about being a voice of the actor combatants
within these conversations as there are unavoidable power dynamics within an adjudicator/instructor and student setting, and I believe the way to make the most impact to make our voices heard is through these policies set in place by the board.

During the last two Nationals intensives, I have really seen the need across two AC levels for impartial mental health support for students to seek out. It is an intensive time in both mind, body, and spirit, and the high pressure of the financial investment of training (possibly traveling), the amount of energy physically extended within the work, the anxiety of new people and new spaces, the body releasing and tensing in ways that are unfamiliar or triggering, as well as countless other factors can all contribute to extreme mental distress. I want to advocate for a non-instructor/non-journeyperson to be present during these intensives (or a designated person to call within non-intensive settings). This person preferably would have a background in mental health support or certified in mental health first aid. I am sure past workshop attendees and instructors can attest to how helpful this type of support would be, and I feel that we as an organization can do better at supporting students before situations might escalate or leave damaging impact.

Regarding general educational practices, I would love to have further conversations with my peers and instructors of FDC and to work with the Director of Training to translate into data what is working and what could be further improved. I would like after an intensive or a longform class ends to send out easily fillable and quick surveys to students. This work is already being fulfilled by amazing workshop coordinators and others, but I would love to play a part in documenting and implementing the feedback within future educational experiences. Additionally, to put myself forward as someone to receive and advocate if needed. I also have suggestions to generalize classroom policies; such as classroom management (for example, the amount of instructors per student in the space), neurodivergence in this education (tools in resources to support different learning styles), and organization of feedback sessions (having ample time and resources to assess and comment).

Last but not least, I would like to propose further edit and conversation around PNP Article 2.1.5 as it pertains to conditions and contesting results of adjudications. This is a product of many conversations I have recently had with Actor Combatants, and I have heard that there has been encouragement to revisit this clause in other areas of the organization. I believe that there are so many conversations to be had around this topic, and my specific advocacy is how we treat the students who do not get the result that they invested in. I believe there should be complete transparency and clarity within the adjudication process and adequate time and space for critique and feedback. There should be transparency with information on how the adjudication and general organization works, and precedent being made clear on conditions. I believe that there should be an appeal process for conditions- for reasons such as “lack of access” - and that appeals can be granted with caveats such as more time to complete conditions, or that the combatant can do an intensive with an FDC instructor for 20 hours as opposed to longform sessions spanning months. Some of these examples are available presently for those who ask for it, but I advocate for transparency within this system (unless there is a private disclosure from an Actor Combatant) and for documentation within the organization's policy. There are so many facets to this that I have to refrain from any further expanding as I could go on for a long time, but sufficeth to say I am deeply passionate about this issue and would look forward to having dialogue with other AC’s, instructors, and adjudicators about it.

These ideas I am raising above only relate to the training body of FDC, however I
believe this reflects the conversations and ideas that some Actor Combatants have and want to
bring forward. The designation of Actor Combatant infers that we are training within the
institution of FDC.

In conclusion, I believe I would be a great listening ear and mouthpiece to serve my
peers, and would consider it an honor to join the Board in order to make this organization the
best it can be. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out. I’d love to
get to know you!

Thank you for reading. Stay safe, and happy holidays!
Amy King

To whom it may concern,

My name is Michelle Lewis, I am an FDC Assistant Instructor, and I have been the Actor
Combatant Representative on the Board of Directors for the past four years.

One of my major focuses has been the creation of a Member’s Guide. To that end I have spent
a lot of time talking to members about their understanding of the organization, and from where
they get their information. I am very interested in continuing to bridge the gap between
membership and the leadership of the organization, ensuring that new members in particular
have a sense of their place in the organization, and that all members understand how to make
their voices heard.

Early in my term as A/C Representative, I also helped source a company to do an external
review of FDC’s Policies and Procedures. This process helped us to identify outdated language
and policies that had been missed by previous internal reviews.

In a second term I hope to:

  • Support the director of training in the creation of more varied training opportunities. One
    of the most common pieces of feedback from members is that once Advanced
    Certification is achieved, it feels like the only opportunity for growth exists in taking the
    path to Instructorship. Work is already underway to address this concern and I hope to
    be able to be a part of this process.
  • Advocate for changes that increase the accessibility of training and certification without
    compromising FDC’s current standards. As I prepare for my Instructor Certification, I
    have become very interested in adapting work done in other arts and physical fields to
    improve outcomes for both disabled and neurodivergent community members. My hope
    is that research in this area will also help develop new tools and recommendations for
    FDC workshops.
  • Continue to solidify a defined role for the A/C Representative so that subsequent
    applicants to the position will have a solid understanding of the position.

While I have my specific areas of focus, if re-elected I will do my best to address any and all
issues brought to me by membership. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to
contact me at michellesharonlewis@gmail.com.

Thank you for your time,
-Michelle Lewis

Hey weirdos!

I will confess, having just finished writing my ballad of a nomination for my dear fight wife Amy King, it feels a little bit strange to now be pending my own pitch to be your new Actor Combatant Board Rep. But the way I see it, if you vote for me or vote for Amy you'll likely be getting a bit of both of us either way!

I still feel relatively new to FDC but the comparatively little amount of time I have spent in this family has been capital F FULL. When I discover a new thing that I love, I lack all self-restraint and immediately dive balls deep into the thing, at times to the detriment of my own sanity. I cannot state this enough. I LOVE what we do. Ever since I was a little kid hunting for the best stick in the woods to turn into a sword, or slicing open my own fingers while whittling a longbow, there has been a deeply nerdy urge in my gut that only found fulfillment once I discovered the magic that is stage combat. And because I so deeply love what we do, I love this organization. Admittedly, sometimes in the way you love a slightly dysfunctional family, but what family founded in simulated violence is going to turn out fully functional?

I believe that FDC is in a very exciting, and also very challenging period of transition. Much like every other branch of our artistic communities, we are moving away from the "old ways of doing things", the "old boys clubs," the ruthless "break you down" mentalities, and into a more nurturing, inclusive, and therefore safe and sustainable way of operating. This state of flux comes with greater risk in some ways, as our guards begin to relax in the presence of relative safety, leaving us more open and therefore vulnerable. And vulnerability is an excellent thing! But we are still learning, wounds still happen, and they can sometimes cut deeper than they would have if we'd kept our guards up.

I want to be available as a voice and an advocate for our members during this time. As the organization shifts and examines power structure, approaches to training, ethics and accountability, all that amazing juicy work we need to do, I want to use the skills I have to help push things in exciting and positive directions.

I have always been on the rather audacious side when it comes to my comfort in addressing systems of authority. I am intensely invested in maintaining justice and have never been afraid to voice my perspective when it see justice being compromised. I am intuitive, and I listen, and I feel, and I easily love people around me. I often find myself at the center of groups rather than on the fringes, simply because I make it my business to know everyone around me, to get a sense of their needs, and to pull them in to the huddle.

I believe I would be excellent representative of FDCs actor combatant community. As someone who already has deep relationships with many members at varying levels of the organization I have already spent a great deal of time conversing with Rachel, Tammy, and others regarding the power dynamics I have witnessed and experienced within FDC, as well as holes I have found within our training structures. My goal has never been to be a squeaky wheel or to complain or get my way, rather I want to see FDC become a safer place for each new group of trainees. I want to see power dispersed more widely in the organization, especially power in adjudication. I want to see clearer, more consistent rubrics for training that can be transparently shared with hopeful combatants. I want to see a development of more consistent pedagogy while at the same time instructors are empowered and emboldened in their teaching style. I want to see systems of communication in place that prevent holes in understanding.

I have and plan to continue to invest significant amounts of time to seeing this organization grow and flourish, as well as pushing myself to new levels of excellence in my craft. I have always been a leader. And if you will have me, I would love to be a leader here. A leader who loans their voice to the greater community and who pulls everyone up with them rather than sitting on a pedestal.

I feel like I've already gotten pretty flowery with this speech...or treatise...or thesis? So I'm going to end it for now saying, I'd love it if you'd vote for me! But if you don't, that's ok! I'll still be around and making waves. And if not me...."vote for Amy dummies"


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