DAM is settled on Tio’tia:ke, the Kanien’keha:ka or Mohawk territory that has been a gathering and discussion place for Indigenous nations for a long time.
Whether we are immigrants, individuals who settled here by obligation, or descendants of colonizers, we have a collective duty to remember that we are here because territories that belonged to Indigenous peoples were colonized.
DAM tasks itself with critically questioning Canadian colonial history and its current impacts, such as the Indian Act and the place Indigenous matters have in society and in the arts and cultural communities.
Commitment to Artists of All Backgrounds
DAM was founded by artists in response to the overwhelming lack of representation of Montreal’s ethnocultural diversity, which was striking even in 2004. The organization’s mission and services were meant to increase the presence and recognition of “culturally diverse” artists*. These artists self-identify as visible minorities, racialized individuals, and immigrants.
Many DAM programs and initiatives are exclusively targeted to these artists who see systemic obstacles interfere with their recognition in the arts and cultural communities.
From DAM’s inception, the organization has welcomed artists of all backgrounds among its members. Its community is represented by approximately 110 countries.
* “Culturally Diverse” Artists
*“Culturally Diverse” is set in quotation marks to create a distance with a category of people that is homogeneous and stigmatized. Although the use of the quotation marks, it is a functional expression that helps deconstruct and restore injustice faced by designated individuals and groups. This designation proves useful to highlight labels and power dynamics in a systemically racist society and implement positive action measures. This status requires a different approach when dealing with specific problems in each group or implementing strategies to address the problems.
With an intersectional perspective, and although DAM’s mission is limited to the ethnocultural dimension, DAM understands each aspect of a person’s identity—class, gender, handicap, age, ethnocultural background, sexual orientation—is crucial to the equity process with an intersectional perspective.
DAM acknowledges the prevalence of gender-based discrimination and has consequently created a non-sexist writing guide for use in the organization’s public communications. DAM pays close attention to gender assignment and gender stereotypes; we are working carefully to eliminate stereotypes in the workplace and in relationships with colleagues.
DAM is aware that individuals with a mental or physical disability face systemic obstacles in an ableist society, a society conceived and organized for able-bodied people(s).
DAM pays special attention to accessibility at its activities and events, especially for people with mental or physical disabilities.
Our offices are in a wheelchair-accessible building. Whenever activities take place outside our offices, we prioritize accessible rooms and share information about accessibility to our participants.
DAM’s community members speak close to 40 languages. Since DAM’s inception, the organization has worked in a predominantly French-language environment. In 2018–2019, 90% of our members were primarily French-speaking.
Most of our communications, services, and activities are provided in French. However, English-speaking artists are welcome any time. Our coaching sessions and mentoring program may be facilitated in English. We attempt to provide a bilingual website as much as possible.
We speak Arabic, Creole, English, French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish in DAM’s office.
Policies and internal guidelines
- Inclusivity and Equity Policy
- Psychological, Sexual, and Discriminatory Harassment Prevention Policy
DAM is a member of many organizations and committees, such as :
- Forum jeunesse de l’île de Montréal
- Culture Montréal
- Table de concertation contre le racisme systémique (TCRS)
- Groupe de travail « Diversité dans les dramatiques » (Radio-Canada)
- Comité « Théâtre et diversité culturelle » (Conseil québécois du théâtre)
DAM’s measures put in place are part of the International Decade for People of African Descent, proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015.