Dear NSCAD community,
In June, we celebrate and acknowledge two historically marginalized communities in the celebration of Pride Month and National Indigenous History Month. We are presented with the opportunity to honour the diverse perspectives from within our community and people around us, to reflect on our collective and individual responsibilities to create an inclusive campus where everyone is valued and belongs, and to reaffirm our commitment to championing an ethic of social justice and to making NSCAD a safe and welcoming space for all.
Pride Month commemorates the Stonewall Riots in New York City more than 50 years ago and recognizes the impact 2SLGBTQAP+ people have in the world. At NSCAD, we welcome, celebrate and encourage diverse identities and experiences from our students, alumni, faculty and all other members of the NSCAD community—but we still have work to do. Through the actions found in our Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Institutional Plan, we’re dedicated to identifying and removing systemic barriers to full participation in our community, and to improving and increasing anti-oppression training for faculty, staff and students. More information will be announced on our EDI Action Plan in the coming weeks.
This month, we also celebrate the history, heritage and diversity of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples in Canada with National Indigenous History Month, and National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21—the summer solstice. NSCAD University is in Mi’kma’ki, and we all study, work and live on the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq Nation. Indigenous peoples in Canada have always been significant contributors to environmental justice, as well as artistic and visionary excellence. In June, we will share and learn more about these achievements, and most importantly, reflect on the work NSCAD is doing in progressing towards reconciliation and building relationships with Indigenous communities. One way in which we are putting our words into action, for example, is by working towards academic reform and curriculum renewal.
This June, we’re working in consultation with NSCAD community members including students, staff, alumni and faculty to create content that touches upon the general themes of celebration, dedication, education and innovation at NSCAD. We also plan to demonstrate with more detail how the advancement of our EDI Institutional Plan will transform policies, programs and practices to be more culturally responsive and inclusive to our community and all of humanity.
SARAH M. MCKINNON, PhD