NEW YORK CITY: Theatre Communications Group (TCG) is pleased to announce two new cohorts in its Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Institute (EDI). The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has committed $875,000 to support development of the Institute. The expansion will bring two peer-learning cohorts of more than 20 theatres, each through a three-year curriculum of personal analysis-building, organizational action planning, and collective action for field-wide impact.
“As our inaugural Institute cohort draws to a close, we’re excited to bring the progress made and lessons learned to more than 40 new theatres committed to making change at the personal, organizational, and field-wide level,” said Teresa Eyring, executive director of TCG, in a statement.
Dafina McMillan, TCG’s former director of communications and conferences, and Carmen Morgan, founder and director of artEquity, launched the TCG EDI Institute at the 2013 TCG National Conference in Dallas. Since its inception, participating member theatres have convened at the 2015 TCG National Conference and Fall Forum on Governance. The Institute provides skills-building webinars, regional organizing, and one-on-one consultations.
“Many arts organizations have good intentions, but take very little action,” said Morgan in a statement. “So an important aspect of the Institute was to provide the cohort with a shared analysis (that when applied would interrupt structural barriers) and a shared vocabulary that would support them in making tangible steps towards organizational change, and ultimately social change.”
Drawing from artEquity’s popular education methodology and intersectional approach to social justice, the Institute seeks to bring about systemic change to the inequities of the not-for-profit theatre field and beyond.
To support the expansion of the Institute, TCG welcomed Elena Chang as the new associate director of equity, diversity, and inclusion. Previously, Chang served as program director of the Asian American Arts Alliance. Under her leadership, the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) and Asian Pride Project also launched a multilingual national campaign to promote awareness of acceptance of LGBTQ Asian Americans, South Asians, Southeast Asians, and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) and their family members. Her advocacy work has been recognized at the White House through the Champions of Change Initiative. Chang will partner with Morgan and Gus Schulenburg, TCG’s director of communications and community engagement, to co-facilitate and develop the curriculum for the next two Institute cohorts.
“I am thrilled with the opportunity build upon the incredible work done so far at TCG to make progress towards a more inclusive theatre field, especially at such a pivotal time in this country around issues of identity,” said Chang. “Through the lens of TCG’s groundbreaking new initiative, I look forward to working with the deeply committed EDI team and the theatre community at large to do the best we can to proactively uplift the values of working with different perspectives in our communities.”
The two new cohorts will be launched at the 2016 TCG National Conference in Washington D.C. this June. Theatres interested in joining the new Institute cohorts should email Elena Chang at firstname.lastname@example.org. An official application process will launch in March 2016.