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  • Kim Senklip Harvey

3 Strikes at Canada Council and I'm Out


I don't want to write this post. It really hurts that I have to.

I have been denied another Canada Council grant in the Creating Knowing and Sharing category, this is #3 in 3 years.

This is from the last rejection letter I received, "All eligible applications were reviewed and evaluated by an assessment committee based on the assessment criteria published in the component guidelines. Although the committee recognized the merit of your application and recommended it for funding, it did not rank highly enough to receive a grant from the available budget."

As an Independent artist I can no longer afford to be a full time practitioner in theatre - even though it's all I want to be doing. I acknowledge that I run the risk of sounding impetulant and entitled because Kim "everyone wants to do theatre full time" but if you know my approach and pedagogy as an Indigenous pracitioner it involves a significant amount of work that goes beyond the scope of Euro-centric theatre making and I think I work hard to be accomplishing at a meaningful level.

I work to afford the majority of my own work which includes: the Community of Practices I put on, this blog, the subsidies I give to schools when I give my time to speak to their students, mentorship with the up and coming Indigenous artists, the creation of an Indigenous centered methodology which includes the land based Indigenous relational investigations and my research and writing.

My "theatre" work is entrenched in community and social work - it is my life's work, which is why this really hurts because it feels like the Indigenous community I work for is being denied. I believe theatre and storytelling to be the most powerful modality to move people, it is a political act for me and maybe that's why it is not being supported.

For radical transparency here is a link to a g-drive that has all 3 grants that have been denied. You want to know, pass judgement, critique, maybe learn or whatever, please be my guest. I embody this vulnerability in the hope that the next generation is better positioned than I have been. For bonus content I've also in included the National Creation Fund application that failed to make it into Phase 2.

Yes, I've asked for feedback

Yes, I'm exploring and have been exploring all types of funding but as an Independent my eligibility narrows and my deliberate choice to be Independent is about protecting my Indigenous sovereignty.

Yes, I might have to act or do administration again to afford writing - but that means it's time away from the schools and Indigenous knowledge sharing networks I'm building and working with that is of the most importance to me.

No, I will not be applying in the Creating Knowing and Sharing Indigenous category again.

These Creating Knowing and Sharing rejections feel like I'm letting a lot of people down, the Indigenous youth and the women in the Healing Lodges being unjustly locked up especially.

It feels like I'm being handed my hat from the theatre community.

So, I have some opportunities with t.v writing that might be able to fund the work that I want to do in theatre but Dear Canada - this is how you lose playwrights to t.v and film. If you're an Artistic Leader who wants to program Indigenous work but struggles because there isn't enough - you're right, there isn't and the ones wanting to churn them out aren't being supported. So I ask you - how can you leverage your power to support Indigenous writers.

With great humility and in continuance of the work for my peoples,

Kim.


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