Community Updates


ECU to Create Project Teams in Support of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Research Areas


Posted on May 19, 2021

Filed in Faculty, Staff, Students

A recent two-year federal grant will help ECU identify and eliminate systemic barriers to equity among faculty.

Emily Carr University is a 2021 recipient of a two-year federal grant aimed at fostering greater equity, diversity and inclusion within the post-secondary research sector.

The $400,000 Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Institutional Capacity-Building Grant will help ECU identify and eliminate systemic barriers that may impede the recruitment, advancement and research of under-represented and minoritized faculty.

ECU President and Vice-Chancellor Gillian Siddall noted in an earlier announcement that any EDI initiative needs to be built and assessed by community members. This grant, she adds, will enable the ECU community to do just that.

“As Emily Carr approaches its 100th anniversary, this grant will enable ECU to evaluate our record on equity, and to help define what it means to be accountable for that record,” Gillian said. “It will allow for an honest, transparent and critical assessment of how and what we’ve done, and how we can do better now and in the future.”

To that end, the grant will be used to fund the creation of several project teams from within the community. This will help amplify and reinforce the work that has been happening on the ground for years.

Each team will develop and realize objectives which fall under one of four, interlocking areas:

  1. Systems Analysis and Policy Change

    Develop EDI infrastructure and associated processes to enhance a detailed understanding of systemic barriers, and to support meaningful policy change.

  2. Opportunities & Support
    Implement faculty development services and mentorship programs that support the success and retention of people from underrepresented groups.

  3. Organizational Culture Change

    Stimulate changes to institutional culture through training and programs focused on enhancing understanding of EDI issues across the institution.

  4. Research / Knowledge Transfer

    Foster EDI knowledge-creation and education-as-research, and enable public outreach and advocacy.

Directing focus in these key areas will help ECU effect meaningful and sustainable changes that will benefit underrepresented groups and contribute to a healthy and inclusive research culture and environment.

“Universities tackling EDI urgently need to shift from a model of institutionalized diversity — a form of diversity management aimed at preserving innocence and avoiding risk — to a more holistic, courageous, long-term systematic intervention; one where care and resources are regularly cultivated and other epistemologies and awards systems are fostered and recognized,” Steven Lam, Dean of ECU’s Jake Kerr Faculty of Graduate Studies and Associate Vice-President of Research, says.

But even beyond the academy, the professional fields of art, design and media are “notoriously discriminatory,” Steven adds. They are quick to celebrate diversity and agonizingly slow to address the systems of exclusion which preserve “hegemonic racist, patriarchal, homophobic conditions.” Meanwhile, these creative industries conflate artistic innovation and merit with market success, while relying on patronage for new funding streams.

In Fall 2021, Steven will co-chair a cross-university steering council with faculty and staff. The steering council will inform the methods, goals, and communication of activities affiliated with this grant. It will also serve as a forum so that multiple community members can contribute to the project.

You can read the previous announcement about this grant on ECU’s website. For more about the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Institutional Capacity-Building Grant, visit