A student-operated extra-curricular theatre company located at York’s Keele Campus has announced the launch of the BIPOC Artist HUB at York University.
Vanier College Productions (VCP) provides performing arts opportunities for students from all Faculties, programs, disciplines and backgrounds at York University. To show its commitment to York University’s values of respect, equity, diversity and inclusivity, VCP seeks to engage with students who have an interest in the arts and provide a safe space for those who identify as Black, Indigenous and people of colour (BIPOC).
Open to all BIPOC artists (theatre, dance, music, visual art, film, design, media, etc.) at York, the group will meet Tuesdays from 5:30 to 6:15 p.m. in a virtual format for the fall term (winter term details to be announced). The HUB will foster group discussions, workshops, guest BIPOC artists and more.
“Equity and inclusion are core values of York University and this initiative is an excellent example of building more inclusive spaces on campus,” says York University Vice-President Equity, People and Culture Sheila Cote-Meek. “It’s very exciting to see students leading change on campus.”
The group is led by VCP alumni Alex Jyn-Li Cairns (she/her), a Durham Region-based actor and voice-over artist who has been working in the Toronto film and television industry since 2017. She holds a BFA in theatre (acting conservatory) from York University, and is currently studying broadcasting and Indigenous studies at Durham College.
“When I was at York back in 2013-17, there was nothing like the HUB for me, and I know I could have used a space like this,” says Cairns, “and so I was excited and honoured to be asked to take on this role.”
In her role as director of the HUB, Cairns will represent the mixed-race voice in the industry and continue to support and amplify BIPOC stories.
Cairns says she hopes students find a sense of community at the HUB, and that it allows for an open and safe space for students to express their thoughts and feelings.
“Vanier College Productions is committed to ensuring that our space is free from discrimination and harassment through accessibility initiatives, campus and community outreach, and through being in accordance with York University’s values of respect, equity, diversity and inclusivity,” says Cairns.
Anyone interested in joining the BIPOC Artist Hub can register and find more information online.