Every year, the IMAA (Independent Media Arts Alliance) holds a national conference in a different part of Canada. This year the conference took place in Halifax and was hosted by AFCOOP. Two years ago it was in Banff, before that Toronto, before that, Kelowna, etc. etc. The first IMAA conference I attended was in Regina in 2003, the year that they changed the name from IFVA (Independent Film and Video Alliance) to the IMAA (Independent Media Arts Alliance).
This year I was invited to moderate a panel on June 9 about Artists as Arts Administrators. Panelists were Deirdre Logue from V-Tape and Katie Belcher from Eyelevel gallery.
Before the panel, we all agreed not to talk about how much work it is in an artist run centre, or to complain about being overworked and underpaid. We knew what we were getting into when we signed up for our jobs, the workload and pay situation is no secret when it comes to non-profit artist run centres - those of us who take these jobs on, do it because we love it, we believe in it and we are passionate about it. Rather than focusing on the negative side, on the panel we chose to focus on various techniques, strategies, and policies that could be applied to support artists as arts administrators. We addressed issues such as policies for time-off for residencies and creation, as well as conflit-of-interest policies, benefits and health plans, professional development, etc.