Statement from founder, Anj Fermor
11th June 2020
Studio is dedicated to upholding a high standard for amplifying the voices and perspectives of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of colour) artists. As of right now the majority (but not all) of the published content on Studio centres on artists of colour and Indigenous artists. It’s going to stay that way. Up until now, in order for a white artist to be the focus of a text published with Studio, I have had to either personally witnessed the artist voicing their support for anti-racism and seen their efforts to support anti-racism in their community or they have an art practice that directly supports BIPOC artists, whether that be through statements of solidarity or through raising awareness on issues that effect BIPOC.
But that in and of itself is not enough — Studio, as a publication, needs to be ongoing and active in it’s support and solidarity for black artists and so do I as a white artist, writer, and publisher. The following are the action items I’ve created for Studio, so far.
Up until now, I haven’t invited other writers to join Studio and publish on the website because I haven’t been able to pay them (Studio has zero funding from either advertisers or government granting bodies). I strongly believe that writers should be paid for their work, especially those who are under-represented. So far as a solution to this I’ve just been interviewing and writing all the content myself. However I will now be making it my goal to get BIPOC writers published on the website and if that means that I’m paying them out of my own pocket until I can figure out a funding model (crowdfunding?) — then hell yeah. I’m going to. I should have been this whole time.
I will be creating a community resource list for Black artists in Mohkinstsis. This project will not have an end-date: it will be ongoing and it will respond to the needs of the artists and writers in the community. This list will also expand into resources for Indigenous, queer, and differently-abled/neurodiverse writers: it’s important to acknowledge that Black identity often intersects with other forms of oppression and identity. The resources we share should reflect this.
I will be creating a Ethics/Style guide for Studio that outlines not only what writerly content we are looking for but also what equity actions we expect from our contributors.
I will be creating a series of “packages” that will be sent to writers and interviewees working with Studio. These will be digital word files that include the upcoming Ethics/Style Guide that Studio will operate with, as well as templates and resources for freelance writing. As an emerging writer myself, I know that there is a huge lack of guidance for even the basics of freelance writing (such as how to write an invoice, how to manage the workload of freelancing, how does copyright work, etc.) outside of academic institutions. This a barrier for Black and other equity-seeking writers.
I will also eventually be making these packages publicly available on the Studio website. All emerging writers should be able to have access to guidance and information on freelance arts writing, regardless of whether they are working with Studio.
I am always dedicated to transparency and always willing to provide information about the choices that are being made in the writing and publishing processes of Studio. It's important that publications value the calls for diversity and representation in the arts and I am happy to work on having the content of Studio intrinsically align with this desire (and to challenge other publications to do the same).
(bio page here)
Edit, 11 June 2020: the terms "racialized" and "marginilized" were previously used in this text to describe people. I had someone, who lives in Mohkinstsis, reach out to me and say that there are people who prefer these terms not be used because they can be othering to the people who it refers to. Previous to when I wrote the statement (but not immediately before) I had conversations with folks from Black, Afro-latinx, Indigenous, and queer communities who have/do use these terms for themselves (both within and outside Mohkinstsis) because they felt it was important that it be acknowledged that systemic oppressions forced upon them because of their appearance or identity had been what de-centred them.
But I know that the way people describe themselves constantly evolves and I also know that there is a huge diversity within communities themselves and that it is possible for their to be contrasting opinions within. I have changed these terms in order to respond to the person who I had recently reach out to me. After this I'm going to personally do more research into how people refer to themselves in different places, and under different circumstances, and how to write about them (for example, how to write about someone when you are outside of a community, what words to use when you want to write about someone and simultaneously refer to the oppression they experience, when to use words more often used in academic or granting-writing styles vs. when to use words that a community uses, and how to be open to the fluid meanings of these words).
Additionally, I have used the term, "people of colour" within this statement. Prior to writing, I became aware that this is being re-considered in current dialogues because of its ability to generalize. Within the statement I have used it when I refer to many people, but when I refer to specific communities I use more specific terms such as "Black" or "Indigenous".