Statement on Anti-racism and a Call to Action.

The Department of Theatre and Film at The University of British Columbia is located on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the Musqueam people. At its foundation, our institution is rooted in this colonial reality. The legacy of systemic racism that European colonialism fostered around the globe pervades our lives here at UBC, as well as in the broader contexts of our communities, our province, and our nation. The murder of George Floyd catalyzed the rising tide of demands for a more just society, but it is a wave that flows from an endless list of names stretching across centuries of authoritative abuse toward Black, Indigenous, and people of colour who have been subject to violence, discrimination, and murder, and who have been denied justice or improved safety measures. The Department of Theatre and Film acknowledges that we have been participants in the oppressive structures that have allowed this state of injustice to remain the status quo. This is a wake-up call, one we promise to listen to, to learn from, and to act on.

The UBC Department of Theatre and Film stands in support of Black, Indigenous and people of colour, including students, professional artists, and scholars. We also support worldwide movements against police brutality, colonial legacy, systemic racism, and economic inequality. We are committed to taking action to address our own failures and shortcomings within the context of our work at UBC. We will perform an external and internal audit of all of our programs through the lenses of systemic racism and other systemic inequities. We’ll identify places where these programs can provide genuine intersectional inclusivity. We’ll examine theatre season programming, course content, formats of learning, budgetary distribution, and modes of student engagement. We’ll take steps to address inequalities, lack of transparency, and inadequate safety measures. We’ll listen and respond to concerns raised within our community. We’ll also do our own learning, knowing that the burden of education about these matters falls too often on the shoulders of those who are already over-burdened. Together, we commit to building a more inclusive, equitable, and just department, and by extension a more inclusive, equitable, and just society.

Stephen Heatley
Head, Theatre and Film