Open Letter from Images Festival

Dear colleagues and friends,


Over the past year, Images Festival’s Board of Directors and Executive Director have been reviewing the decisions, actions, inactions, structures, and policies that have contributed to the perpetuation of conflict, harm, and anti-Black racism within our organization. This process of questioning, learning, and unlearning has been guided by ongoing anti-oppression, accessibility, and human resources consultations. We are taking this opportunity to provide an update on some recent changes to our organization, and to share more information on our vision for Images going forward.

 

Recently, we announced a restructure of the festival’s programming model. Our goal is to create a broad, decentralized programming framework, one that adopts models of equity, collectivity, and experimentation in decision-making that will guide the form and content of our festival. Our Executive Director, in consultation with our partners, staff, and Board, will outline the parameters around this renewed approach to our programming structure as we plan for our 2021 festival, all the while remaining adaptable to the changing conditions of media arts presentation in the months to come. We are optimistic about the opportunities a renewed programming model will provide to our artists, audiences, and collaborators.


We also recognize the need to take action to change the composition of our Board, as well as to develop more effective human resources tools to better support our staff. Over the summer, a contingent of our 2019 Board has been undertaking succession planning to support a significant structural transition at the governance level, and to provide continuity and context to our incoming Board members. We have issued a call for applicants that will remain open until we have reinforced and reconstituted our leadership in a way that positions us to better serve our staff, goals, and our community. We look forward to sharing updates on the Board’s composition in the coming weeks.

 

Coinciding with this restructure is a fulsome review of Images’ human resources policies and procedures. This project aims to bring Images’ operating and governance policies up to date through an explicitly anti-racist lens, as well as to introduce more robust procedures to ensure that all employees and Board members are properly trained to uphold, enact, and ultimately benefit from these revised policies. While this announcement comes after more than a year of reflection, consultation, training, and transition at Images, we remain committed to this HR review as an ongoing project to address and redress institutionalized cycles of racism and harm. Images has also committed resources to ongoing anti-oppression and human resources training, to ensure that our structures and decision-making continue to evolve alongside our learning in these areas.

 

Images Festival is committed to welcoming ongoing dialogue with and feedback from our community. We continue to benefit from recommendations and critiques from you all to better understand your concerns, to identify your needs, and to develop creative solutions that address and resolve the problems that we, as an organization, face and perpetuate individually and collectively. Please send your direct and, if desired, confidential feedback to our Executive Director (executivedirector@imagesfestival.com) and/or to our Board of Directors
(board@imagesfestival.com).


Sincerely,


Samuel La France, Executive Director
Mani Mazinani, Chair, Board of Directors
Julieta Maria, Secretary, Board of Directors
Manolo Lugo, Board of Directors
Max Rothschild, Board of Directors