Asking About Gender: Strategies for Inclusion & Innovation


Asking About Gender: Strategies for Inclusion & Innovation

1 year ago 1 year ago Published by
This video was produced by Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Movement Ontario (CPAMO) from a workshop presented by YouthREX.


The Gathering Divergence Multi-Arts Festival & Conference Spring 2022 | Moulding The Future: Rethinking Strategies for the Arts Sector Now addressed emergent ways of rethinking the sector as we emerge out of the pandemic, focusing on the responsibility of the sector to strategize and implement supportive systems that benefit IBPOC artists / organizations and the Arts Sector at large.

YouthREX presented an online workshop, Asking About Gender: Strategies for Inclusion & Innovation.

The arts have always been both a social lens and a vehicle for social change, because ‘creativity’, by definition, defies social norms, expands boundaries, and challenges our received assumptions about how things ‘must’ or ‘should’ be. This field, however, is nonetheless informed and structured by the very forces it often aims to critique. In the arts — from fashion to theatre — one of these dominant forces is gender, a body of norms that informs so much about how we act, think about ourselves, present to the world, occupy space, and relate to one another. This workshop aimed to explore and discuss systems of gender — their limitations and their possibilities — as they relate to the arts.

Specifically, this workshop addressed questions such as:

  • how does gender inform our work?
  • how does it provide a framework for creative expression?
  • how does it, conversely, limit our artistic possibilities, and cause harm to the individual and to our sector as a whole?
  • how can we meaningfully challenge the harms and limitations imposed by gender, in ways that centre the perspectives and needs of those who defy its norms?
  • how can re-thinking gender expand our own artistic talents and outputs, and advance the arts as a social lens and vehicle for social change?

This workshop brought together arts-based programs for youth in Ontario that prioritize IBPOC (Indigenous, Black & People of Colour) young people, including young IBPOC art practitioners or administrators, in conversation with one another and with YouthREX, a provincial project that supports Ontario’s grassroots youth sector, which has been challenging gender norms in its own field of practice. By bringing together two seemingly disparate areas of work, participants explored how gender norms manifest both similarly and conversely in different sectors — and how this reflects on the pervasiveness of gender as a structuring force in all our lives, the need for us to engage with its norms and assumptions consciously and critically, and the opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration for doing so.

This workshop was hosted and facilitated by YouthREX. Our guests included Daniel Carter, Interim Program & Operational Director, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre; Justine Abigail Yu, Founder & Editor, Living Hyphen; and Qwyn Charter MacLachlan, Program Manager, Regent Park, Regent Park School of Music.

Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Movement Ontario (CPAMO). (2022, May 13). Asking About Gender: Strategies for Inclusion & Innovation [Video]. YouTube.

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