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conVERGE micro-residency for IBPoC artists
conVERGE is a new micro-residency and mentorship program that supports emerging and early-career Indigenous, Black, and artists of colour to develop work in 2021, offered through a partnership between Intrepid Theatre and Puente Theatre.
Due to systemic discrimination, IBPoC artists face all kinds of barriers working in the arts and in the theatre sector, and there is a gap in mentorship and support across the industry, including here in our community on Lekwungen and WSÁNEĆ territories (Victoria). The conVERGE residency will support up to three emerging or early-career local performance-based artists who identify as IBPoC to develop a new or in-progress work. Selected artists will have a four-week residency at the Intrepid Studio, advance their skills in a chosen focus area under the mentorship of an IBPoC professional, connect with other selected artists, receive an honorarium of $1,000, have opportunities to present their work, and receive additional support from program mentor Mercedes Bátiz-Benét, artistic director of Puente Theatre. conVERGE is produced by Mercedes and Holly Lam, associate producer at Intrepid Theatre.
To converge is to move toward one point or location, to unite in a common interest or focus, to come together. A verge is a brink, a threshold, an outer margin; as a verb, verge means to head in a certain direction; on the verge of means to be at the point where something is about to happen. As IBPoC, we know what it’s like to be on outer margins, but we also know what it is to come together and re-centre those margins. IBPoC artists have always created innovative and bold work, and we know that the arts can help push our culture into the equitable, anti-racist, and anti-oppressive future we are all striving to create. The work of IBPoC artists is vital to that movement, and conVERGE, as a program designed, produced by, and for IBPoC, aims to facilitate connections and amplify local IBPoC work and perspectives.
The residency in brief:
- Studio time over 4 weeks at the Intrepid Theatre Club for development and creation space, in April, May, or June 2021.
- 8 hours of collaboration time with a paid IBPoC mentor in an area of focus chosen by the artist.
- The opportunity to present an online reading or workshop presentation via the Canadian Play Thing; if public health guidelines permit, a mini live invited performance at the Intrepid Studio; and/or an online community gathering.
- 4 hours of additional mentorship time and production/development support from conVERGE producer and program mentor Mercedes Bátiz-Benét.
- Ongoing administrative support from Intrepid Theatre through conVERGE producer Holly Lam.
- An honorarium of $1,000.
In order for conVERGE to offer selected artists what they actually need and want to be able to develop their work, each residency will be customized based on input received in the applications. The application asks artists to consider the components offered in the residency and express what they think is important, what should be prioritized, and how they will use the components for their proposed project or idea.
For full details about each component, see ‘The residency in depth’ below.
How To Apply
- Fill out the application form in its entirety using the button below,
- Fill out the About You and Eligibility sections of the form, and submit a video or audio recording of yourself answering the rest of the questions. Use the upload button at the bottom of the form to submit your file. The questions are available in PDF form by clicking the following link:
If you have any access needs that we can support, or questions, please contact Holly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 250-383-2663.
Applications close February 15, 2021 (11:59 pm).
Applicants will be notified of selection results in the first week of March, and residencies will take place in April, May, and June.
- Identify as Indigenous, Black, and/or a person of colour (IBPoC)
- Be based on Lekwungen and WSÁNEĆ territories (colonially known as the greater Victoria area)
- Identify as an emerging or early-career artist who will benefit from the mentorship and support offered in this program
There are no restrictions in regard to age, artistic performance practice, or content of the proposed project. conVERGE is geared toward individual artists, both to customize mentorships and due to ongoing public health concerns regarding Covid-19. However, artists can work with collaborators or collective members during the residency if they choose to do so.
We welcome all emerging and early-career Indigenous, Black, and artists of colour to apply, including those who are queer, trans, disabled, d/Deaf, mad, neurodivergent, newcomers, refugees, or who have other intersecting identities. We recognize that Indigenous and Black artists face specific racism and systemic barriers in the arts and particularly encourage applications from artists who identify as part of those communities. We are and will always be open to feedback on how we can make conVERGE more accessible and welcoming. We encourage a diversity of artistic performance practices, including interdisciplinary work and decolonized models of performance outside the lens of Eurocentric theatre. Theatre can be whatever we make it – deep experimentation and pushing and/or dismantling boundaries is what conVERGE is all about.
Residencies will take place in spring 2021 throughout April, May, and June, in the following timeframes:
Mar 29-Apr 25
May 3-May 30
June 7-July 4
Development & Creation Space
The Intrepid Studio space is available to the artist during their 4-week period during daytime hours, evenings, and weekends. Participants will be asked to arrange a schedule of times they will be in the space at the start of the residency, which can then be updated throughout the month if needed.
We understand not everyone will be able to be physically present or feel comfortable doing so due to the ongoing pandemic, which is why use of the space is not a requirement and the residency can be completed virtually. However, conVERGE’s mandate is to support local artists, and eligibility is still limited to those based on Lekwungen and WSÁNEĆ territories (greater Victoria).
Covid Safety: The Intrepid Studio is currently closed to the public, with access limited to staff working at the administration office and artists working in the theatre space. Covid-19 health and safety protocols are in place. If you would like further information, please contact Holly at email@example.com or 250-383-2663.
We know from our own experiences and from speaking with other artists that mentorship is a major gap within theatre companies in Victoria. Mentorship is crucial for early-career artists in developing their craft and making connections to advance their career, and we are excited to pair each participant with a paid mentor who identifies as IBPoC. The mentor will support the artist in a focus area of the artist’s choice; for example, dramaturgy, directing, acting, choreography, costume, set, and/or lighting design, self-production, marketing, production design, grant-writing, live streaming & digital platforms, etc. The participating artist will have 8 hours of collaboration time with the mentor (2 hours per week for 4 weeks, or otherwise distributed, to be agreed on by the mentor and the artist).
Presentation of Work
Artists will have the opportunity to do an online reading, live-streamed performance, or workshop presentation through the Canadian Play Thing platform. The platform is presented using Zoom and is ideal for readings; options for more technically complicated live-streams (e.g. multi-camera, more complex lighting) are limited, but may be possible.
If health regulations allow, artists will also have the option to do a small invited or public performance (likely 5 or fewer audience members) at the Intrepid Studio.
A presentation of the work is not a requirement of the residency – just an option for artists who would like to use it.
For IBPoC, getting together is vital – it allows us to share, be heard, be ourselves, listen to and empower each other. Artists will have the opportunity to host an online community gathering along with their reading or presentation, or as a stand-alone event as part of their creative process. The gathering could be a post-show Q&A with the artist, a workshop discussion, or time to simply reflect and share, and could be an IBPoC-only space or otherwise. Like the presentation of work, an online gathering is not a requirement, but if desired by the artist, administrative support such as set-up and/or facilitation will be provided.
Accessibility is a priority for both Intrepid and Puente Theatres. To us, accessibility means that anyone and everyone can equitably experience and participate in our theatre programming as artists and audience members. We are not at that goal yet, and continue to learn and change the ways we work. Some accessibility initiatives we have incorporated include free tickets for d/Deaf, disabled, low-income, and other equity-seeking audience members, captioned videos, ASL interpretation, audio description, relaxed performances, a script library, and program information in languages other than English. There are many intersections between barriers that IBPoC and people with disabilities face, as well as many people who are part of both communities. We will work with artists to make sure their own accessibility needs are supported, as well as their goals for making their project accessible, whether for an online presentation as part of conVERGE, or in planning and learning for future iterations of the project.
Protocol and Decolonization
Intrepid Theatre and Puente Theatre are both settler-led organizations. We begin all our presentations with a territory acknowledgment, and we believe recognizing the people who have lived for generations on the lands we occupy is an important part of decolonizing, but we know decolonization must go much deeper than that, and are continually working to make more profound changes as we work with Indigenous artists and partners. We recognize that Eurocentric theatre traditions are overvalued, to the detriment of Indigenous arts practices, and that our city and society are built on colonial violence; we welcome and seek out Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists who are engaging with decolonization in meaningful ways.
Artists will be paid an honorarium of $500 by Intrepid Theatre and an honorarium of $500 by Puente Theatre, for a total of $1,000.
Artists will receive additional support from Puente Theatre and Intrepid Theatre. During their residency, artists will have four hours of dedicated time with program producer and mentor Mercedes Bátiz-Benét (one hour per week or as arranged between the artist and Mercedes) for overall check-ins, mentorship, and/or production/development support. conVERGE producer Holly Lam will be available throughout the residency for general questions, and will be the main contact for artists. Administrative support such as printing documents and using office supplies is also available from Intrepid.
Expectations of selected artists
If selected for a conVERGE micro-residency, you will be expected to:
- Be available during the month you are selected for (to be confirmed with you) and set aside time to work on your proposed project.
- Be available for meetings with your mentor and take full advantage of the time with them.
- Attend a virtual gathering with conVERGE producers and the other selected artists at the beginning (late March) and at the end (early July) of the program.
- Provide feedback on your experience to conVERGE producers (Holly and Mercedes) at the end of your residency.
conVERGE is about process, not product, and there is no expectation that you will have a “finished” work or deliverable. We want to support you as an artist to do the work you want to do, rather than focusing on a finished product, show, or presentation.
Selection will be based on:
- Impact for Early-Career Artist (conVERGE will impact the artist’s artistic practice and advance their skills; they express what they want from the mentorship.)
- Artistic Significance of Project (The artist is excited and passionate about the project; it is important to them and their communities.)
- Feasibility of Project (The artist has a well thought out starting point and/or plan for the project, and ideas on how they will use their residency time.)
While we will use these criteria to assess applications, we know that systems like this can also act as gatekeeping: most of all, we will value the heart and artistic integrity of the project; we want to support artists who have thought through and are serious about their work, but who will benefit from mentorship, guidance, and resources.
Mercedes Bátiz-Benét, conVERGE producer and program mentor
As a Latinx immigrant artist in Canada, I acknowledge the privilege I have to be able to live, work, and create on the unceded Coast Salish Territory of the Lekwungen and WSÁNEĆ nations, and I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to do so. I acknowledge the privilege I had in Mexico, my country of origin, as a cis-mestiza of Basque, Catalan, and Cora heritage, where I was spared the injustices, racism, and lack of opportunities Indigenous women endure every single day simply because the mix in the colour of my skin reflects my European heritage more so than that of my Náayerite ancestors. As an able-bodied and cis-woman of colour in Canada, I acknowledge the privilege and advantages I have over other fellow racialized and marginalized artists. As the artistic director of Puente Theatre, I acknowledge the privilege I have to be in a position of power and leadership in our community and to have the honour of being a fighting force and voice for marginalized and underrepresented artists. With privilege comes responsibility, and in the work that I do, I strive to help build a more inclusive, equitable, and diverse community that one day will hopefully reflect, honour, include, and benefit from every single one of us, which is why I am thrilled to be working alongside Holly on conVERGE, a platform that aims to support, nurture, and amplify emerging IBPoC performing artists in creating and developing new work in our city. I am beyond excited to meet you and I am humbled by the opportunity to, in any way I can, help your creativity flourish.
Holly Lam, conVERGE producer
Hello! I am a mixed Chinese/Scottish/Irish writer and arts administrator who grew up on Lekwungen territories. After studying creative writing at UVic and working for arts organizations for about four years, I joined Intrepid Theatre as associate producer in January 2020. As an early-career artist myself, I’m thrilled to be working with mentorship from Mercedes on conVERGE, and I hope it will be a place for IBPoC artists to create, celebrate, and connect. I’ve experienced such poignancy and joy in the creative work of fellow artists of colour and queer artists, and that feeling of being represented, of coming from a shared starting point, and not needing to explain certain things, is what I hope artists will feel in conVERGE; I also want to honour that we as IBPoC have many different experiences and perspectives, and to recognize my own privileges as a light-skinned, cis, able-bodied settler. I believe stories in all their forms have such a vital role in influencing individual and societal shifts—shifts we so deeply need, toward equity, changes in power, and community—and I hope conVERGE can play a small part in that. I’m excited to see what projects and relationships will come from this micro-residency program, and for it to grow and evolve through shared learning with artists.
Puente Theatre is dedicated to celebrating our country’s cultural diversity through theatrical experience. Since its founding in 1988, Puente has created, produced, translated, toured, and presented professional theatre from the perspective of people outside of the mainstream, bringing people together across boundaries, and exploring what it means to forge a future for our planet made out of billions of different and utterly unique identities. Recent shows include Fado, the Saddest Music in the World, Lieutenant Nun, Gruff, and El Jinete, the world’s first Mariachi opera.
Intrepid Theatre was founded in 1986 to produce the Victoria Fringe Festival, and continues to follow its mandate to enhance awareness and appreciation of contemporary theatre, by encouraging, developing, and producing new and/or experimental work, and promoting new artists. Currently, Intrepid produces the Victoria Fringe, as well as UNO Fest, a curated festival of one-person theatre; OUTstages, Victoria’s first queer theatre arts festival, which launched in 2015; and a presenting series. Intrepid operates two year-round venues, the Metro Studio and the Intrepid Theatre Club, and has run many programs over the years that support emerging artists and new curatorial voices, including the You Show series, New Play Reading series, Fringe Indigenous Artist Program, OUTstages Queer Youth Showcase, and UNO Works.