In early May, the ALP team, board, and two advisory artists trekked from across Canada to Tio’tia:ke/Mooniyang (Montreal), for our first in-person retreat. We met in a quiet building with lots of sun shining through the large windows, and after some mingling and snacks, we formed a “village circle”. Meeting in person for the first time was a much needed and delightful experience, allowing us to deepen our connections and build a more clear picture of each other’s character that can at times be missing from online interactions.
Centring the Process
We introduced ourselves with the prompt: Who are we at home, in art, and here in this room? Our answers included a diverse interpretation of what “home” means; our ancestral homes (sometimes stolen), emotional home and family, place of birth or a physical structure, and sometimes a lack of sense of home, or the body as the only home. Complexity and the space for many interpretations served as a forecast for our discussions about the direction and structure of ALP, as well as the questions that arise from doing this work.
Several threads ran through both days of our retreat, including the ever-present truth that when tension arises between how we connect with each other, and the tasks we’d like to complete, our need to connect as a community will always take precedence. As well, it’s no secret in this community that Diane continually goes above and beyond to serve and support artists. One of our key objectives in this retreat was to identify the best strategy to support Diane as a visionary.
Lastly, while we do this work in a context of ongoing colonisation, we seek to centre BIPOC ways of being: our joy, our wisdom, our creative brilliance, our kinship, our mutual liberation, and our ancestor’s wildest dreams for us to thrive in all ways.
Our time together featured an interview with Diane, conducted by board member David Garneau, as well as many discussion topics including: the nuances of the role of the Board, our expanding team and alumni community; how to create structures that safeguard and clarify ALP processes; and how we can best support our Alumni Village. We will continue these conversations and identify next steps with the Board and Alum community as part of our ongoing organisational development process.
This first retreat was a brief but valuable beginning; it served to strengthen our relationships, to clarify ambiguities and to raise new questions. It reminded us why we do this work together imperfectly. As part of our preparations to meet, we created a testimonials playlist, with a few Arrivals Alums speaking about the impact Arrivals Legacy Project and Diane have had on their lives.
Whatever path we take from here, we know that it will be rooted in a fierce love and loyalty to our community. A big THANK YOU to every community member and partner who makes this possible.
Do you have constructive feedback, suggestions, or questions for the ALP team? We want to hear from you! Contact Larissa at email@example.com to join the discussion.