Dell’Arte International would like to acknowledge Sayda Trujillo and Pratik Motwani for their contributions towards initiating, centering and foregrounding the dialogue and learning around anti-racism, racial equity, inclusion, diversity, and accessibility at Dell’Arte. During their tenure at the organization as artists and teachers, they facilitated discussions with staff, students and board that expanded Dell'Arte's understanding around racial equity. Their work had a positive impact in promoting greater cultural sensitivity, as well as race-conscious and antiracist frameworks for both artistic and teaching practice, research, expression, and community engagement.
Dell'Arte has created this page, a work-in-progress, to disseminate information about our accountability processes as we move through the transformative work of creating an anti-racist organization. Dell'Arte is an organization in process, born out of a vision for theatre based in the Mask, a theatre which is not text-centered, but grounded in the body and in our resonant physical connection to the natural world and to each other. Since its founding, Dell'Arte has been changing and growing for five decades in response to the world around it. Our aim is to help nurture a 21st Century theatre and actor-training program beyond our current imaginations, a true place of belonging for diverse artists and audiences in the 50 years ahead.
1,) “I understand the complexity of unraveling the systemic racism and sexism in our society but what the hell is this sentence supposed to mean?
‘It will be an intersectional, qualitative, and quantitative analysis utilizing and informing decolonized policies and practices drawing from BIPOC traditions.’
Your email was full of this. Isn’t part of the theatrical tradition to know and speak to your audience? This language left me confused and a little disappointed. Please, let’s keep it real and simple and not lose ourselves in a bunch of buzzwords and fancy language.”
Great question! As we work to clearly express our intentions and account for our actions to bring about substantive change in Dell'Arte, we’re doing tons of research as well as working with our external auditor and mediators (You can view the timeline of that work at Accountability DAI/; scroll to Racial Equity Audit). In this process we’re learning words from others who’ve long been working on anti-racist practice and the impacts of white supremacy culture on organizations. Some of the academic-sounding words don’t sound like the DAI you know, but they're helping us understand a complex picture:
1) Intersectionality studies the relation between the many different ways that people are kept in a lower social position, controlled, and left out of important parts of society because of their differences, including race, class, and gender.
2) In DAI’s case, quantitative analysis might look at numbers of students of color, for example, whereas qualitative analysis might examine the experience of those students both in our training program as well as in Blue Lake/Humboldt County.
3) The idea of ‘de-colonizing’ is to really look at how we may be perpetuating systems of oppression that are built into the Euro-American way of doing things. “Settler Colonialism” especially applies to the USA, Canada, and Australia, where the settlers not just dominated those who were already there, but removed or exterminated them. Because community engagement is such a big part of our mission, it’s important we look to our practices past and future. More at :
Thanks for the question!
Please read "A Message to Our Community" from School Director Lauren Wilson for perspective of Dell'Arte's accountability journey in the summer of 2020. Click here to read.