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TILT Institute for the Contemporary Image’s Community Agreement

How We Engage with TILT’s Community

We recognize that achieving Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice (DEIJ) throughout all TILT practices involves urgent and ongoing work — work that requires proactive changes on both an organizational and programmatic level. At times, this work requires the participants to ask themselves questions about concepts related to power, privilege, and oppression. At times, these self-reflective questions may be uncomfortable for the participants. We encourage our community to lean into that discomfort and pursue constructive conversations with TILT.

Included at the end of this document is an Equity Roadmap that articulates how we will implement our Community Agreement. For any clarifications and definitions of bolded words throughout the text, please see the resource document at the end.

This Community Agreement is intended to enable TILT to create a space built upon trust and respect in order to best celebrate our community and its creativity as we provide educational programming, residencies, events, exhibitions, and public programs that celebrate our collaborators and community to accomplish our mission. The document serves as a promise to our audiences and artists that TILT prioritizes safe, inclusionary, and fair practices above anything else. TILT intends this document to live both internally and externally in order to demonstrate the transparency of TILT’s commitment. Transparency allows our collaborators, team members, and audiences to hold us accountable to the purpose of our Community Agreement and vice versa.

We recognize its responsibility to address the various inequities that keep women, LGBTQIA+, people with disabilities, people of the global majority (which refers to non-white people who make up over 80% of the world’s population), and any others who have faced considerable socio-economic oppression from engaging fully at all levels of TILT, whether that be as artists, viewers, donors, board members, or staff members.

As individuals who exhibit, collaborate with, and include in our viewership individuals and cultural producers of varying demographics, socio-economic backgrounds, and gender identities, we will regularly undertake an audit of the resources we provide those individuals, as well as look internally at the responsibility we have to stay informed about and actively resist systemic oppression and non-equitable practices in all their varied forms.

TILT is a contemporary image-making space where ideas move freely and without boundaries unless they violate our Community Agreement. The opportunities we provide go across demographic lines and the programming we create does not silo or bracket people. To accomplish its mission, TILT prioritizes a commitment to Equitable and inclusionary art practices, regardless of education, background, age, or practice. By equitable, TILT refers to fair and impartial practices. These practices are designed to recognize that some individuals may need more resources to be on the same level as their peers. For example, two individuals may be awarded the opportunity to take part in an exclusive workshop, but the peer of lesser means may need financial support to enroll.

We prioritize a safe space that provides audiences and artists safety from harm. We will provide opportunities for conflict resolution or mediation through formal processes that allow grievances to be heard. There will be opportunities for discussion and consultation.  We have a zero-tolerance policy against those who violate the Community Agreement in flagrant terms or subject individuals to violent behavior, both blatant or micro-aggressive. We will remove anyone from its space who jeopardizes the safety of our audience, artists, and staff.

We prioritize an empathetic space. We seek to engage each individual in order to make them feel valued and absolutely essential to the success and wellbeing of the organization. Everyone’s voice matters at TILT. In creating inclusion based on empathy, we can bring perspectives and contributions of all people to the table and work towards equitably distributing resources and power. A lens of empathy allows us to incorporate individual needs and deploy assets into the implementation of processes, policies, and decision-making while being conscious and aware of the various power imbalances of everyday life that they may face. TILT is a place where everyone can feel safe, respected, and valued for who they are.

We are a community of artists and art-viewers who are aware of Intersections in privilege, power, and oppression within our uniquely lived experiences. By intersections, we refer to the ways race, class, and gender intertwine and overlap. In such terms, an intersection of privilege might refer to ways a white male has more power than a white woman.

 

TILT and its community agree to the following: 

 

We are actively against any of the following behaviors. If any of these behaviors should arise or be called to our attention, we will seek appropriate mediation and the necessary actions to remove such behaviors. TILT will provide a space for grievances to be addressed in a constructive manner.

 

Equity Roadmap

In an effort to show complete transparency about TILT’s roadmap towards equity and inclusion, each effort listed here is part of our process. It includes current actions and our plans to continue this work into the future.

August 2021, TILT underwent an organization-wide assessment of inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility. We brought on board activist, artist, and professor Jay Simple. Simple is also the creator of The Photographer’s Greenbook (PGB), a resource for lens-based artists and makers to learn about inclusion, diversity, equity, and advocacy in the field. Through PGB, Simple has published educational resources on the topics of how to critically examine institutions and their role in dismantling current structures that favor whiteness and how, as an institution, to collect and examine data to compare the increased calls for inclusion, diversity, and equity with the actual reality of many institutions.

Through summer and early fall of 2021, Simple led the team in workshops and discussions centered around team culture, community engagement, and effective allyship. It was an opportunity to solicit feedback from the team, to guide our action plan, and to get on the same page regarding what we mean when TILT uses Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice (DEIJ) as verbiage. The same practices as stated above will continue with our Board. Simple and TILT’s assessments and strategy building will conclude by the end of 2021 and by 2022, a report on our findings will be made public. Strategic planning includes 3 month, 6 month, 1 year, and 5-year goal plans.

 

Our action plan includes the following:

 

In 2022, we expect to deliver the following to the TILT community:

 

Financial Equity Statement 

In an effort to build economic justice and offer courses and memberships to a more inclusive group of artmakers, TILT requires the participation of every individual. With a tiered payment system for membership and financial assistance for courses, each individual is encouraged to pay an equitable amount for TILT services. Discount rates are available to those who self-identify as financially struggling based on the criteria below. The standard rates allow TILT to cover costs and make our courses and workshops possible. If able, paying amounts greater or equal to the sustainer rates allow others to participate in activities without a cost burden. TILT, as a nonprofit organization, relies upon our network of donors and supporters to offer the highest quality programs to all audiences, irrespective of financial need or economic position.

Tiered systems such as these alleviate financial burdens placed on individuals in our community who have experienced some level of financial and social oppression. TILT, in its mission to achieve equity in our audience, must confront the ways that skin color, sexual orientation, and gender put many members of our larger community at a financial disadvantage. Years of discrimination, exclusionary policies, lack of family wealth, and generational trauma all play a role in the uneven economic systems we have today. In order to be an inclusive organization, we must all begin to examine our positions within these systems and the roles we subconsciously play. We ask you to join us in this mission so that everyone of our artists and students is given a fair opportunity to participate. Community is our point of inspiration, but the community must be equitable in order to produce enriching experiences that challenge perceptions and push creative boundaries.

We encourage our friends and supporters to take ownership of their financial privilege, if they possess it, and identify the ways in which they can support those around them by paying more than the standard price for services to create an inclusive environment at TILT. The discomfort in the self-discovery process is at the heart of economic justice.

The tiers below are based on assets rather than total income. It allows TILT to take into account debt or other obligations that prevent people from using our services and meet people where they are in their financial lives. The system encourages people with higher incomes and less debt to pay more as a way of acknowledging and addressing how their privileges have resulted in quicker paths to financial stability.

The scale is intended to be a suggested map, inviting each member of our community to take stock of their financial resources and levels of privilege and move through the tiers accordingly. As with life in general, we are always in flux. If your financial position changes, we encourage you to evaluate your privilege or lack thereof.

 

Definitions 

 

What does TILT mean by Equity and Equitable?

When we refer to Equity, we refer to getting to the core of disparities, not just their manifestations. This includes Equity in a whole host of forms: financial, workplace, communication, and allocation of resources. Equity and equality differ. Equity recognizes that each individual starts from a different place in life and has been afforded or removed from different opportunities or privileges. As an organization, we work to make adjustments to any imbalances. The process is continuously ongoing, meaning that as a community, we are required to employ awareness in our daily work, constantly identifying and overcoming intentional and unintentional barriers that arise from bias or systemic structures.

 

What does TILT mean by Cultural Justice?

Cultural justice refers to the act of doing justice to a particular culture, pursuing justice through cultural means, and seeking justice for cultural claims. Cultural justice is often linked to other kinds of struggles against injustice. As an arts institution, TILT asks itself to be mindful of the relationship between social justice and artmaking and to use art as a catalyst for larger social justice issues, not to justify oppressive or colonialist practices. The act of using culture to interrupt and question oppressive systemic patterns or individual behaviors starts with giving a cultural producer agency and a safe space to have their work, culture, and voices amplified. The justice portion exists in how the artmaking asks the audience to question their own objectivity and realize that everybody has an individual worldview, and that view affects the way they understand or visualize life. With cultural justice, TILT seeks to combat bigotry, lack of access, and stereotyping while promoting the sharing of new concepts, creating equity in art, and removing individualism from the equation.

 

What does TILT mean by Intersectionality and Intersections? 

TILT recognizes intersectionality through civil rights activist and Professor Kimberlé Crenshaw’s definition, wherein intersectionality is a lens through which to see the ways in which various forms of inequality operate together and/or exacerbate each other. In this vein, race inequality is not removed from inequality based on gender, class, sexuality, or immigrant status. There are overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage. TILT recognizes how some individuals are subject to many categories or possibly just one or two. As such, TILT believes experiences of the individual are relevant when looking at inequality, lack of access, or types of oppression. Each individual who comes through our doors lives a unique, subjective truth that affects how they move through our space and the types of art they view, make, or appreciate. As an organization, we must consider everything that can marginalize our constituents.