BIPOC Arts Leaders Lab

This program is a free 6 month peer-mentorship initiative and will provide training, mentorship, and skills exchange to support BIPOC arts leaders, directors, and community arts organizers in Vancouver.

This program aims to build a cohort of BIPOC folks in leadership positions who may be struggling to find the proper supportive systems in a colonial industry. In Vancouver’s smaller arts organizations, there has been high turnover of leaders in recent years. The majority of these organizations were led by women and/or BIPOC folks. A loss of these leaders with diverse backgrounds, is a loss for the entire arts community.  

BIPOC Arts Leaders Lab hopes to ensure long term support for local BIPOC arts leaders by providing a safe space with like-minded arts leaders to meet peers who are going through similar challenges in leading an organization.

BIPOC Arts Leaders Lab aims to:

  • Provide training and mentorship through workshop sessions
  • Benefit wider arts community in Vancouver by providing free collaborative and safe learning environment for BIPOC arts leaders 
  • Benefit the organizations by creating networking opportunity with folks with shared values

    This project is organized by Kristin Cheung, Winnie Tam, Michelle Ha and is funded by City of Vancouver Cultural Services – Cultural Learning Sharing Grant Program


  • Call for applicants open August 8 Tuesday 2023 and deadline closes August 31, 2023 at 11:59 PM (PST). 
  • We will aim to accept 10-15 participants. 
  • Participants will be notified September 2023. 
  • Sessions will run from September to February 2024
  • Speakers list and bios are here!
  • This program is free!

Fine print:

  • Eligibility – This is open to residents who are living or working in the City of Vancouver, as this is funded by the City of Vancouver Cultural Services – Cultural Learning Sharing Grant Program.
  • We invite BIPOC arts leaders and will prioritize women of colour and other BIPOC marginalized genders.
  • This program is designed so that each session’s content builds on the previous, as well as to nurture community among participants. We recommend that participants be available for as many sessions as possible. An honoraria of $500 will be provided to each participant who attends at least 5 sessions (or $100 per session).
  • All mentor speakers will be paid industry rates.
  • All sessions will be via Zoom in Pacific Standard Time (PST) and will be 1.5-3.0 hours long. Times TBA.
  • Accessibility requests (ASL Interpretation, captions) can be provided upon request by participants. 

Workshop Sessions

September 21, 2023 – A gentle landing (10am – 12pm)
with Kareen Wong

Sometimes we rush our beginnings, and when we do, we forgo connection and the possibility born from the space to intentionally meet each other as we are. Join your new BIPOC ALL community for a connected experience of getting to know each other, setting intentions for the coming months and cultivating a community of care and a heart-centered way of being together. We explicitly invite what feels comfortable, spacious, easeful, and a gentle landing as we
embrace these new connections. Many entry points for participation and connection will be provided – and your participation is invited in any way that serves you. Come as you are (and bring all of you).

October 26, 2023 – Intersectional and Justice Oriented Leadership (10am – 12/1pm)
with Nic Wayara

This session provides decision-makers and those who hold
positional power. It gives participants an opportunity to explore
how to divest from common tactics, tools and practices that are
rooted in white supremacy culture which perpetuate dysfunction
and harm within our organizations, particularly against
communities that are made marginalized. Together, we explore
topics related to organizational governance, reputation, finance
and human resources through an intersectional, power-conscious
and socially just lens.

November 2, 2023 – Power is Everywhere (10am – 12/1pm)
with Nic Wayara

In this session, participants will focus on generating more
language, terminology and resourcing on how power impacts
team dynamics, team functioning and collaboration. Together,
we will consider and explore the ways that power intersects with
communication, and how we can use our power to empower

December 7, 2023 – Reflections and Conversations (10am – 12pm)

This session will be a mid-program check-in with all participants. We’ll reflect on what we’ve learned and shared—while holding conversations with each other. We want to build a safe learning environment to share our gaps, challenges and successes with each other as arts leaders.

January 11, 2024 – Exploring the systemic roots of burnout: it’s not your fault and there are things you can do about it (10am – 12pm)
with Kareen Wong

Today we’ll look at the exhaustion and the deep impact of burnout as a systemic issue. We’ll take an anti-oppressive lens to the different ways burnout manifests and explore care-centered interventions we can make to cultivate resilience. Part workshop and part group coaching experience, together, we’ll shed light on some of the lesser explored and talked about aspects of burnout. You’ll leave with greater ability to recognize your own personal burnout warning signs and a personal practice you can implement to address it in your life.

February 1, 2024 – Finding Your Voice with Self-Empathy (10am – 12pm)
with Leonie Smith

For many Black, Indigenous, People of Colour we can find ourselves in spaces and at the proverbial tables that are where we have to make room for ourselves and our voices. In our session we will explore how to put in practice tenets of nonviolence and tools from Nonviolent Communication to not only share what is meaningful for us, but also, to rest in knowing that we have been heard. We will explore specifically how our feelings are pathways to connecting to our values of integrity, contribution, and support. We will practise, using an example from your own experience.

February 8, 2024 – Wrap up Session (10am – 12pm)
with Kristin Cheung, Winnie Tam, and Michelle Ha