Monday, November 23, 2015

Field Leadership Fund- What Do We Stand to Gain?

By: Rajeeyah Finnie-Myers, Field Leadership Fund Project Manager

What do we stand to gain by working towards a more equitable arts sector? What do we stand to lose if we don’t?
It’s been two months since the final deadline for Field Leadership Fund applications and it feels like we’ve already learned so much when it comes to these two questions. Thank you to all of our applicants and to our adjudication panel for being such a valuable part of the process!

When we first started planning the application and adjudication process we were hoping for somewhere around 60 applications. Much to our surprise we actually received over 200. It was exciting to see such a strong response but also a lot more work to get to our final 12 fellows than initially expected.  There were 2 rounds of adjudication –first by an internal panel and then by an outside panel. Next, we interviewed a little over 40 finalists. The upside was that we had a lot of really strong applicants and learned about some awesome work that is currently taking place in the arts sector. On the downside, a lot of deserving people will not be a part of the final cohort. No one wants to be told no after investing time and energy into something that they’re hoping will propel them forward in their work. But with only 12 places available not everyone gets a yes. It was extremely difficult and it is clear that we have a lot of work ahead of us if we hope to stay true to the mission and goals of FLF. The cohort has the potential to hold us accountable in a way that promises growth for all of us involved. I was inspired by how folks came to the room during our group interviews. Applicants entered the conversation willingly and thoughtfully. It was a preview to what could be and a reminder of how much is lost when we don't create space for equity in the arts sector.

We sent out notices to every applicant about our final decision last week. Overall, most of the feedback/responses have been positive and supportive. A few have been more on the critical side - questioning the process and the decisions made thus far.  My message to the outside world is please remember this pilot is only one small step towards a major shift that we are seeking. Perhaps with more time and resources we would have done things differently, but I'm confident that we have the right people in the mix. The FLF cohort and I will all be in the room together in December and then again in the New Year.

Look for more from us as we get to know these 12 amazing people that make up the first Field LeadershipFund Cohort. And let us know what you think about the questions posed.

A very special thank you to our FLF Adjudication Panel...Sarita Covington □ Andrew Dinwiddie □ Kimani Fowlin □ Daniel Gallant □Sara Juli □ Jonathan McCrory □ Sophie Myrtil-McCourty□ Morgan von Prelle Pecelli □ Yvette Ramirez □ Tiffany Vega

1 comment:

Rachel DeGuzman said...

I am very honored to be a part of the inaugural cohort and can't wait to get started.