New opportunities in performing arts for Brampton Black and Indigenous youth

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Published May 31, 2021 at 8:37 pm

rose-theatre

The City of Brampton’s new Black and Indigenous Youth Internship and Co-op Program in the Performing Arts, the first of its kind in Canada, is being launched Saturday.

Designed by and for Black and Indigenous students, the program was developed to celebrate and elevate Black and Indigenous youth, increase cultural understanding, provide opportunities for professional development, and prepare students for future leadership positions and careers in the live performing arts industry.

Recognizing the need for action on equity and social impact, the program will help break down barriers that Black and Indigenous youth experience in acquiring training and opportunities in the arts. The program is supported by Algoma University and managed by the City of Brampton, in coordination with local school boards.

“The City of Brampton is committed to prioritizing the voices and needs of youth and recognizes the importance of and value in taking action and investing in our young people,” said Rowena Santos, regional councillor wards 1 and 5. “Internship and co-op programs benefit youth tremendously and I’m proud to say Brampton is the first city in Canada to offer this program to Black and Indigenous youth in the performing arts.”

Over the past three months, the first cohort of five students started the pilot program with lead mentors and community members Cameron Grant, Angela Boyer, Deneille R. Walters, as well as the City’s performing arts staff. The team worked on this virtual pilot project to design a framework for the program for years to come.

A virtual presentation about the 2021 pilot program, the students’ roles as program designers, and how to get involved, is being held Saturday, June 5, at 1 p.m. at therosebrampton.ca.

In 2022, one paid internship spot, open to university and college applicants, and four co-op spots, open to high-school applicants, will be available through the program. Brampton’s internship co-op program is built to align with the diversity and inclusion strategy to focus on attracting and growing a workforce reflective of the diverse community.

“When the opportunity to be a part of such an important initiative came up, we jumped at it,” said Craig Fowler, vice-president, growth, Innovation and External Relations, Algoma University. “The City of Brampton’s Performing Arts co-op and internship program will provide students with a fantastic opportunity to develop critical soft and hard skills to give youth the foundations to be career-ready in future years. We are excited to be part of something that strives to promote inclusivity, diversity, and cross-cultural learning and experience within our communities.”

Steven Schipper, executive artistic director of the City’s Performing Arts program, said he’s excited about the innovative initiatives that celebrate and uplift youth in Brampton.

“Welcoming co-op students and interns to our Performing Arts Team is a tremendous opportunity to further support Black and Indigenous youth in our community. We hope students participating with this program will explore careers in Performing Arts and work toward their own learning goals.”

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