Hi everyone, I hope you all had a productive reading week and got some good news back from your field placements. Before our NYA field trip, I finalized my placement at Diasporic Genius and started the same week. Up till this point, I’ve been going to their office at 401 Richmond every Thursday and Friday.
Staring off my first day, I showed up a little earlier before the time they asked me to – just to be extra prepare for the unanticipated morning downtown traffic. I had a brief meeting with Roula Said, DG’s administrator where she gave me a short orientation of the existing programming at DG and went over some other new things they would like to try out in the future. (The orientation ended with a coffee lesson on the manual espresso press!) She also introduced me to Park People and UrbanSpace, who we share the office with. One thing I learned about working out of a shared workspace is that you get to build strong connections among your colleagues and peers. For instance, Cara Eastcott, the interim artistic director of Tangled Art + Disability showed up at one of our circles, so does Sean from Park People.
As an office intern, my main objective is to give administrative support and help structure their so-called ‘brain baby’.The most recent project they have was the ‘Circle Not Walls’, a series of cross-cultural story circle workshops. I caught up the last two sessions of the series and helped mostly with project closing, including post-event newsletter followups with MailChimp and SurveryMonkey, mailing list update and evaluation. Some other tasks that I was assigned to through out the first two weeks also includes building Asana, organizing media database, updating website content via wordpress and creating fundraising video pitch via Final Pro Cut.
From what I’ve observed, lack of sustainability is one of the biggest challenges as a small-scale arts organization that started out as a grass-root initiative. With the Ontario Trillium Foundation multi-year fund ending this year, they really set fundraising as the main objective for 2017. As of right now, DG is preparing for TAC’s refugee and newcomers grant which falls under their strategic funding program, OTF’s Seed Grant and Grow Grant and Metcalf Foundation’s opportunity grants and discretionary fund.
The other thing I find interesting is their working relationship. It only dawned on me that our AD and ED are married couples one time I stumbled on an interview piece on the internet, after my second week of work, after countless conversations we had. (and yes it was a little awkward.) However, as partners in both work and life, I feel like its hard to set perimeters and establish a real separation between work and home, no matter how important that might be. Roula would often end up bring work home and working off holiday with David on the other hand, touring as frequent as every 2 week. On top of that, there are sometimes power conflicts regarding the nature of the relationship. I’d just say that its a mixed blessing.