Stand and Be Counted: Why Completing MAC’s Voluntary Self-Identification Form is so Important

By Akoulina Connell

Manitoba Arts Council’s new strategic plan, Designed to Thrive 2017-2022, makes a firm commitment to increasing outcomes for diverse groups through our granting.

These groups include:

  • Deaf and disability;
  • Culturally diverse;
  • Indigenous;
  • LGBT2Q*;
  • Rural and northern.

The Voluntary Self-Identification Form

The Voluntary Self-Identification Form is a tool in our grant applications and peer assessor registration form that helps MAC stay accountable to our commitment to serving all Manitobans.

When putting together your application to MAC, you may ask yourself:

Why is completing the Voluntary Self-Identification Form important? What happens to the data? Is my privacy protected?

Holding our own feet to the fire

We use demographic data gathered by Statistics Canada as our main measuring stick: How do the percentages of applications and grants awarded stack up against our provincial demography? If we’re not doing well in certain areas, then it means MAC must change its approach and try new strategies to reach artists in underserved groups.

Cultural self-expression is for everyone. Access to excellent art, literature, film, dance, music, theatre, etc. that reflects diverse perspectives is key to mutual understanding and building a harmonious pluralistic society. The more points of view and voices expressing the human condition, the better.

Decision-making: critical diversity and peer juries

Critical diversity in our peer jury system is important, too. The Voluntary Self-Identification Form helps MAC staff build better juries; we need diverse voices and perspectives at the table when decisions are being made.

The peer jury process is where professional artists make decisions on granting. Artists on juries are peers to the artists who have applied for a grant. To ensure that there is diversity in perspective over time on decision-making, a juror may only serve on a jury once every two years.

Critical diversity helps ensure that the understanding of artistic excellence draws from a broader context.

Privacy matters

The individual information in the Voluntary Self-Identification Form is kept private and confidential. It is not revealed in the jury process, nor is it shared publicly.

This data is used to monitor how well MAC ensures that our grants reflect the full diversity of who we are in our galleries and performance spaces, in the artistic output of artists and arts organizations.


Thank you in advance for completing the Voluntary Information Form and keeping MAC accountable to its commitment to reflecting all Manitobans!


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