harunalee recently went on a retreat to Drop Forge and Tool in Hudson NY through our residency with Ars Nova, and one of our priorities was discussing how we are recommitting to equitability and justice as a collective, and how to center these tenets within all aspects of our creative practice. Below are the truths we are holding ourselves accountable to, and in stating them out loud we want our community to hold us accountable to, with the hopes for sustained conversation:
- Communication: We value first and foremost radical transparency and truth telling as a mode of communication: communication within our collective, with the artists and institutions we create work with, and with our audience and theater community at large. In the spirit of communicating our truths as boldly and as clearly as possible, we are making a public statement on the issues we are currently dealing with to achieve equity and justice in the realms of performance, community, organizing, and theater making. We hold the right to continue editing and changing this live document as we move through the world as a united group of artists.
- Racial Equity: We are currently a cooperative of 8 theater makers who hail from Moscow, Central Valley and Los Angeles California, Hungary, Sunnyside Queens, Pittsburgh, the Florida Panhandle, New Hampshire, Seattle, Taiwan, and Tokyo. Though we are diverse in our voices and experience, we are deeply aware of the racial disparity within our collective. We believe that equity begins with the immediate awareness and acknowledgement of where we hold power as individuals and as a group, and being transparent about the differences in how we hold power marked by the level of access and privilege we act on individually and/or as a group. In our local and global landscape of theater and the arts, power has been systemically aligned with cis-white heteronormative voices and bodies. These values, which are rooted in white supremacist patriarchy, are not our values. We are committed to dismantling white supremacy by actively centering the voices of PoC and those who have been historically and culturally marginalized and Othered.
- Implementing Equity: The ways in which we’ll implement equity within our company will include, but is not limited to: casting and hiring of artists/employees/interns/labor, curatorial process, how we highlight and value press and media, how we hold conversations in the room daily, in our interpersonal relationships with every artist and non-artist we collaborate with, and our audience members we invite to experience our work.
- Identifying power inequity, and continually dismantling it: We do not believe in the practice of bringing PoC and Other voices into the creative room without direct acknowledgement that we have done so, and with transparency of why we value the folks we’ve invited into the room. We understand that the labor to be present in a room is different for each individual, and we will address how power is functioning in an assembled group, especially in relationship to the institution we are working with. We will always make space in our creative process for any persons to address and dismantle any and all power dynamics that have been unfairly or unconsciously distributed.
- Zero Tolerance for Abuse: We do not tolerate abusive behavior that manifests in the physical, emotional, sexual, or spiritual. We value both verbal and written consent in collaboration and participation. We will not stand silent and be complicit with any oppressor’s system of abuse, whether it is an individual artist, group, or institution.
- Respect for Material: We respect all histories, cultures, social practices, customs and ancestors that have existed before us, and will continue to exist after us. We understand that these histories exist in the people, spaces, and stories that we engage with. We will always champion agency of the individual and/or groups that these stories belong.
- Fair Pay: We strive for fair wages, but cannot always meet the industry standard. From this point on we will be transparent with our funding, income, expenses, and wages by publishing project-based and annual budgets on our website so that we can be in conversation with our community about what we can do better.
- Solidarity Across Collectives and Companies: We stand in solidarity with theater companies, collectives and individual artists who not only believe in but actively practice tenets of equitability and social justice. We will mobilize with artists who call us into community, and do better to connect with these individuals/groups so we can continue learning from each other and work towards actionable change.
We will hold all individuals and institutions we are working with accountable for this practice, and in return expect individuals and institutions to hold us accountable to practice this as well.
- Disseminating our truths to our intersectional communities
- harunalee members participating in the PISAB undoing racism workshop
- Soliciting advice from theater institutions and professionals about how to improve our budget towards fair wages
Published by Company on 11/8/2017