Cultural Appropriation Policy
A NOTE ON CULTURAL APPROPRIATION
In our ongoing attempt to make One Of A Kind a more diverse and inclusive event for everyone, we want to make sure everyone can contribute, be heard and succeed at the Show. One of the areas we want to make sure our community is aware of is the harmful impacts of cultural appropriation.
Before we delve further into this, let’s take some time to define what we mean when it comes to the following terminologies:
- Diverse/Diversity: When we talk about diverse or diversity, we mean what makes everyone involved at OOAK (staff, exhibitors, visitors, sponsors, partners and vendors) different in terms of characteristics including age, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, education and national origin.
- Inclusive/Inclusivity: When we talk about inclusive or inclusivity, we mean behaviours and efforts we all take to make everyone involved at the OOAK Show feel welcome.
- Cultural Appreciation: When someone seeks to understand and learn about another culture in an effort to broaden their perspective and connect with others cross-culturally.
- Cultural Appropriation: “It can be described as the act by a member of a relatively dominant culture of taking a traditional cultural expression and repurposing it in a different context without authorization, acknowledgement and/or compensation, in a way that causes harm to the traditional cultural expression holder(s).” (Source)
The intention of this document is NOT to shame or call out on anyone.
Instead, One Of A Kind acknowledges that all of us are not perfect, but we are all working on making diversity and inclusivity a norm in the multifaceted world we live in. We all have the capacity to learn, grow and change.
Through our own research so far, one of the best strategies to understand and avoid cultural appropriation is to put awareness and education at the forefront. For this reason, we have prepared this document so that you can become informed about the topic and reflect critically on your own creative practices. We also included some additional resources below if you wish to learn more.
As an event that celebrates craft, we understand that inspiration can take many guises and can be derived from many different sources. The creative spirit amongst our community is what makes One Of A Kind so exciting! That said, we want to make sure what we create is empowering and not further marginalizing other cultures and groups.
If you create work that uses something from a culture or group other than your own, please consider the following:
- What is the source of the material? It is important to pay homage to artistry and to acknowledge its origin.
- What does this mean to that culture or group?
- Does it hold religious or cultural significance to that culture or group?
- When you are using an artifact from another culture, or you are naming products using words and expressions from another culture, are you aware of their meaning and significance?
This is by no means an exhaustive list, however, many of the following carry symbolic meanings in their own culture: Inukshuks, teepees, dream catchers, totem poles, igloos, bison skulls, smudges, head wraps, kimonos
- How may someone from that culture or group feel about your use?
- Are you using this because you have a genuine interest in that culture or group, or do you simply like the way it looks? Or you are following a trend?
- Do you benefit from doing this? How?
- Have you considered collaborating, sharing credits and profits with people in this culture or group?
Here are 5 things you can also do to avoid cultural appropriation (From How to Avoid Cultural Appropriation & Promote Cultural Awareness Instead, see link in Resources)
- Research the Culture
- Avoid the Sacred
- Don’t Stereotype
- Promote Diversity
- Engage, Promote & Share Benefits
YOUR HERITAGE & YOUR CRAFT
Building upon this discussion, if your work is inspired by your heritage and culture, we would love for you to share this loudly and proudly with other exhibitors and visitors at One Of A Kind. Please make sure you also let us know so that we can better share your story!
It is our hope that we can all work together to build best practices and encourage creative expressions that are authentic so that our community can continue to thrive and flourish. We want to support one another, share valuable feedback, engage in meaningful discussions, refine their work--all without resorting to shaming and hostility.
We also want to make clear that cultural appropriation is a complex and rapidly changing subject. As One of A Kind, we are committed to doing continuous work on this topic. We do not have all the answers, but internally we have done a lot of research and have involved experts in the field so that we can start the conversation. Since the summer of 2020, our parent company has also established various employee resource groups, as well as a divisional Diversity & Inclusion committee so that we can share and gain insights and work on building events where everyone can feel a sense of belonging. Lastly, we are also working on getting external resources and expertise to provide guidance.
As we look forward to our return to face-to-face events, we expect everyone to take some time to educate themselves about cultural appropriation and to review and understand this information. As always, we value your feedback, so if you have any questions or other suggestions, please feel free to let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Think Before You Appropriate: A Guide for Creators and Designers
- Considering Cultural Appropriation: Canadian Crafts Federation
STILL HAVE QUESTIONS?
We can't promise we will be able to answer all of your questions at this time, but you can reach out to our team to discuss further.