Reciprocity is an integral aspect of valuing equity and diversity in the arts. Reciprocity means that there is an ethic of mutual respect and a back-and-forth sharing of resources. Everyone involved both gives and receives something - be it resources, knowledge, ideas, time, energy, space or other contributions.
In reciprocal collaboration the knowledge, expertise and experience of diverse artists is valued, sought out, acknowledged and integrated. The contributions made by those of us on the margins are understood as just as significant as those that are made by the "core" of Calgary's professional arts sector.
Radical means "root". The root of inequity in the arts is a status quo which enables hegemony (the predominance of some social classes over others). Resources and power in the arts are concentrated in a very small number of "gatekeepers", who disproportionately – if unintentionally – uphold the Eurocentric interests of the hegemonic classes (white, middle-class, able-bodied, heterosexual, Christian, English-speaking, etc...).
Artists from marginalized communities are only able to tap into this hegemonic system by appealing to and maintaining the Eurocentric status quo. In order to bring about the equity that enables a vibrant, diverse arts ecology, we must confront our complicity with the status quo and collaborate to undo the inequity it maintains.
Reflexivity requires that we all be aware of, and critically reflect on, our own position in society and how it shapes our relationships with our collaborators and communities. It is vital that we learn to recognize how we embody and hold different kinds of social power and individual agency, and how those differences impact the building of equitable relationships with colleagues, community members and other arts stakeholders.
Developing mutual understanding and knowledge, and collaborating to make radical/ root change in the professional arts, requires the building of intercultural relationships that are both reciprocal and reflexive.
CCEDA extends our appreciation to the Neighbourhood Arts Network for some of the descriptors of the concepts we've detailed here.