Jun 2020

Black Lives Matter: A Statement from The Nextfest Arts Company

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Black Lives Matter

We at Nextfest support Black Lives Matter. We express our commitment to this movement and condemn police brutality and systemic racism in Edmonton, Canada, and the world. We say this loudly, as silence is violence.

We commit ourselves to learning, listening, and growing as we stand with BIPOC artists throughout and beyond our festival. We are currently working with our team to plan genuine action to address our role in supporting raising the voices of BIPOC artists.

Our team commits to updating our festival policies and are currently working with our BIPOC stakeholders, curators, and artists to form meaningful action. We want to get this right, so these actions may take time – stay tuned.

Our festival and our community stand with you.

The History of Anti-Black Racism in Canada

We acknowledge a history of Anti-Black Racism within Edmonton, Alberta, and Canada.

Fundamentally the Edmonton and Canadian police forces have avoided the calls to address systematic racism. In doing so they have perpetuated Anti-Black behaviour and continued to participate in police brutality. While you may believe that Canada isn’t like the USA, this is incorrect. 

In order to fully understand modern policing issues and make real changes, we must understand Alberta’s Anti-Black history.

We cannot let them avoid criticism and escape this moment of change. 

Let’s grow and educate ourselves as a community, we recommend you read the following sources: 

  1. Edmonton Anti-Black Racism Tool Kit – Bashir Mohamed
  2. State Violence in Canada from Slavery to the Present – Robyn Maynard
  3. Origins of the Police – David Whitehouse
  4. Anti-Black Racism, Misogyny, and Policing in Canada – Robyn Maynard
  5. Black Experience Project: Greater Toronto Area 

How Nextfest is Taking Action

  1. Promoting Nextfest and other artists who are Black through our social channels.
  2. We are actively working with and paying artists who are Black to improve Nextfest policies and marketing materials.
  3. Re-evaluating our hiring and curating processes to include underserved, newly served and marginalized communities through a large-scale research project that began in May 2020. 
  4. Creating Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour specific Community Check-Ins to give space for artists who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour to connect during our festival.
  5. Sharing resources provided by artists who are Black to educate the community on anti-Black racism in Canada. 
  6. Working with the 3.7 Initiative Alberta chapter to promote their work and advocate for donations, as well as covering the costs for an upcoming workshop. We are thrilled to develop a longer-term relationship to support emerging artistic leaders who identify as women, and non-binary people who are ethnically and culturally diverse.
  7. Making programming content from Friday, June 5 accessible on our website, so if patrons would like to attend the Black Lives Matter rally in Edmonton, they can both attend the rally in support of Black Lives Matter and watch Nextfest at a later date during the festival. 

Thank you to our consultants:

  • Morẹ́nikẹ́ Ọláòṣebìkan from Ribbon Rouge Foundation
  • Elsa Robinson
  • Cynthia Jimenez-Hicks
  • Lebogang Disele
  • Kiana Woo

Let’s Support, Share, and Buy from Black Artists

If you can, please donate to…

  1. Black Lives Matter Canadahttps://blacklivesmatter.ca. 
  2. Black Arts Matter YEG – https://www.gofundme.com/f/black-arts-matter-2020 
  3. Calgary Black Empowerment Fund – https://www.gofundme.com/f/calgary-black-empowerment-fund
  4. 3.7 Initiativehttps://www.concretetheatre.ca/about/3-7-initiative/
  5. Black Youth Helpline – https://blackyouth.ca//get-involved/#donations
  6. The Black Health Alliance – http://blackhealthalliance.ca/get-involved/donate/

If you cannot donate, share resources, and spread the word. Our words are powerful.

Have any feedback for Nextfest? Reach out to hello@nextfest.ca.


Our Safe(r) Spaces & Code of Conduct Policy

Updated: May 21, 2020

Nextfest is for all to grow, learn, and inspire each other for years to come!  We invite you to be part of the movement and celebrate!

Please read our full policy here.


If you’d like to anonymously report a violation of our Safe(r) Spaces Policy & Code of Conduct or behaviour that you would like addressed please use our Online Reporting Form below.

Nextfest Online Reporting Form

  • MM slash DD slash YYYY
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

The Nextfest Arts Company is committed to creating and supporting safe, inclusive spaces for all persons involved in our festival.

The following form is for reporting incidents in violation of the Nextfest Arts Company’s Safe(r) Space and Code of Conduct Policy. All reports are visible to the Festival Director, Festival Manager, and Festival Artist Liaison.

If your report is about one of these individuals, you may also contact us directly via email:
Festival Director: ellen@nextfest.ca
Festival Producer: maggie@nextfest.ca
Festival Artist Liaison: reanna@nextfest.ca 
Nextfest Arts Company Board President: artisticdirector@theatrenetwork.ca

Thank you for taking the time to submit an incident report with the Nextfest Arts Company.


Any feedback on this policy can be directed to the Festival Producer, Maggie Barton Baird, (maggie@nextfest.ca) and/or Festival Director, Ellen Chorley, (ellen@nextfest.ca).  

This page was updated on June 4th, 2020 based on consultant recommendation. 


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