Across Cultures and Generations is a virtual panel series with two main goals: to showcase local and community-based artistic talent, and to facilitate intercultural conversations on shared and different experiences of being racialized in the spaces within and around Chinatown, and more broadly, in so-called Vancouver.
Across Cultures and Generations is a collaboration between Chinatown Today and Massy Arts Society. We are seeking BIPOC artists (please see “On the definition of art and artist” below) in so-called Vancouver to apply to be part of a panel series, running from July to December 2021, that will give panelists an opportunity to:
- share their work with a virtual audience, and
- participate in a moderated conversation with other like-minded individuals, across cultures and generations, on topics such as, but not limited to, their relationship to their creative practice, and their lived experiences as BIPOC folks in Vancouver
Ready to apply? Click here for the application form.
- Across Cultures and Generation is a series of 3 panel events
- Each event will be roughly 1.5 hours
- Each event will feature two (2) artists
- The first half of each event will be an art showcase, while the latter will be a conversation between the artists and a moderator
- The moderated conversation of each event will be roughly structured around a theme relevant to being BIPOC artists in so-called Vancouver. The theme is not meant to be restrictive; panelists will be encouraged to be collaborators in the planning process, depending on their capacities. Once selected you are encouraged to bring your own ideas about how to showcase your work, and the kinds of conversations you’d like to have during the discussion
- Events will have ASL interpretation as well as live translation in the most relevant languages, depending on the cultural heritage and preferences of the artists in each event
- Events are spread out between July and December 2021, with possible extension to early 2022. There will be roughly six (6) weeks between each event. Exact date and time to be determined based on panelist availability
- Honorarium: Artists selected in the series will be awarded in the compensation of $250 each
Here are some of the themes that Across Cultures and Generations seeks to explore. Due to limited funding and capacity, we can only explore a few of them in this short series. However, these themes and associated prompt questions are malleable and adaptable to the panelists, and are merely there to give applicants an idea of where conversations can go. Please tell us which theme(s) interest you the most in the application form. If you think of another theme you would like to explore, please include it in your answer in the space provided.
- Caregivers/ Caregiving. Conceptualized with the intention to trouble notions of who can be mothers, caregivers, and how people and communities take care of each other. Caregiving through acts of service, food, and other expressions can look differently or similarly across cultures and generations. What do caregivers and caregiving look like for you?
- Agency. How does reclaiming agency as a racialized person inform the art you create, and the process through which you create it? How does art give the agency needed for healing? How can we understand agency in connection to our mental health and community well being?
- Queering traditions. In what ways does your practice queer tradition? How do we change traditions that often harm and marginalize queer artists, so they suit our own needs and the needs of our communities? How have queer traditions been lost and found through art?
- (Cyber)space as a site of creation. Where do you create your art? How does your art, whether digital or physical, stand in connection with your site of creation? How might these spaces of creation be contested, and how does your art resist or protest this? How does the physical space restrict or expand your practice?
- The art of bodily expressions – Who owns your body and its expressions? Who or what dictates your body’s agency? How is culture expressed through the body, whether it be one’s hair, makeup, tattoos, piercings, and/or other bodily modifications/expressions? How might these differ cross-culturally?
On the definition of art and artist
Many, if not all of us, have been told at one point or another in our lives that in order for the art we create to be worthwhile, we must be able to capitalize on it, make a living out of it, or that we must suffer financially and emotionally to make the process worthwhile. In other words, we exist in a society that devalues art and artists at the same time that it elevates a select few on a pedestal of success as measured by monetary gain and social prestige.
But the purpose of art isn’t, and hasn’t ever been money or influence, though both are certainly tempting: art is what allows us to share our emotional landscapes with others in intimate conversations, to find relief from the pressures of everyday life, and to find joy and belonging that sustain us. Art is defined by the artist. Across Cultures and Generations seeks to give BIPOC the space to define their practices, share them with the larger community, and receive compensation for it.
If you’re someone who is passionate about your artistic practice (whatever it may be; some examples include, but are not limited to: culinary arts, spoken word, literature, visual arts, illustration, drag, dance, comics, zines, photography, videography, design, media arts, songwriter/musician, etc.), and who wants to share your experience and art with like-minded communities (wherever you are in your journey), we strongly encourage you to apply. Across Cultures and Generations sits at the intersection between art and community, and we recognize that neither would be as impactful without the other.
On Chinatown as an (un)inclusive space
Despite its name, Chinatown hasn’t ever been a space just for those of Chinese descent; throughout its history, Chinatown has been a refuge for BIPOC individuals and communities from all walks of life. However, these histories are not always without tension and discrimination, and on the whole, the stories of non-Chinese and mixed-race Chinese BIPOCs in Chinatown have too often been overlooked in pursuit of more singular and palatable narratives.
Chinatown Today strives to hold space for these stories and conversations, not only for the sake of accountability, but because for better or for worse, these stories are part of Chinatown’s stories. Ultimately, Across Cultures and Generations aims to bridge Chinatown’s past and present by holding space for difficult conversations that are facilitated through the lens of art in its many forms. If you’re someone who has an artistic practice, and have or have had a relationship to Chinatown, whatever it may be, we once again strongly encourage you to apply.
Chinatown Today operates on the traditional and unceded territories of the xwməθkwəy̓ əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ ílwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) nations. We recognize that as uninvited guests on these unceded lands, allyship means working to dismantle colonial systems of oppression through action on a daily basis.