NASAA Notes: September 2021


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Pam Breaux

September issue
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September 1, 2021

NASAA Launches an Anti-Bias Training Series for State Arts Agencies

As NASAA’s fiscal year draws to a close, our staff, Governance Committee and board of directors are taking time to reflect on NASAA’s work in diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). As you know, NASAA began its deep focus on DEI in fall 2015. As we advance this work each year, we affirm the importance of ongoing reflection, dialogue and learning to engage in the work authentically and alongside state arts agencies. We also commit to transparency in this work, and to that end I am pleased to share the newly updated record of our DEI activities, which chronicles the work we’re doing to advance these principles. I invite you to take a look at this year’s work (pages 1-8), our earlier work (pages 11-20) and what’s in the planning hopper for fiscal year 2022 (pages 8-11). Looking ahead into our new fiscal year, I’m particularly pleased that NASAA is producing a new professional development initiative designed exclusively for the executive staff, general staff and council/board members of state and jurisdictional arts agencies and regional arts organizations: Anti-Bias Training for State Arts Agencies.

As representatives of government organizations, state arts agency staff and council members have a special responsibility to recognize and reduce bias as we pursue our public service missions. In addition to affecting our individual actions and interactions, bias affects the institutions and systems that we create. When biases are left unchecked or go unnoticed, they limit our ways of interacting and working, and cause us to leave out strategies or practices that could serve our goals.

Our training partner is Team Dynamics, a people of color-, woman- and LGBTQ-owned business. Cofounded by Trina C. Olson and Alfonso T. Wenker, Team Dynamics is a national strategy firm based in Minnesota that provides training and coaching to help leaders and workplaces live up to their potential through intentional and meaningful culture change. Recognizing the breadth of populations with whom state arts agencies regularly interact, Team Dynamics will be assigning NASAA a team of trainers—mixed across lines of race, gender identity, sexual orientation, ability, religious tradition and more—for each track. This approach ensures that a robust diversity of lived experience, expertise and vantage points informs the program.

The training series is offered for three separate groups (executive staff, general staff and council members) and considers the unique challenges and responsibilities for their respective roles within the agency. All sessions within a track build upon each other, moving from anti-bias fundamentals through job-specific scenarios. Please note that when registering, you will be signing up for the whole series in your track. We recommend that you attend all of your sessions.

These are the objectives of this training series:

  • Increase self-awareness on how our identities impact our work.
  • Develop shared meaning for terms like diversity, equity, inclusion and culture.
  • Begin to ask ourselves different questions to dig into what’s beneath the surface.
  • Practice using our self- and other-awareness to adapt our behavior toward inclusion.

The executive staff track focuses on leadership, reducing bias in supervision, and the creation of inclusive and equitable organizational cultures and systems. The general staff track focuses on reducing bias in interpersonal and group settings and “leading from the middle” to create equitable and inclusive programs and services. The council member track focuses on reducing bias around the board table and tackles common governance challenges. Find out more about dates and times for this opportunity offered exclusively for state arts agencies and regional arts organizations. I encourage you to register now and mark your calendar to join us.

I look forward to seeing you at NASAA’s upcoming online events!

In this Issue

From the President and CEO

State to State

Legislative Update

The Research Digest

Announcements and Resources

More Notes from NASAA




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