Cultural Integrity

Every person exists in, and in relation to, many communities. Communities may be defined by ability, age, culture, economy, gender, geography, sexual orientation, etc. Cultural integrity is the practice of respecting and honouring the ownership of materials, traditions, and knowledges that originate from a particular culture or community.

All applications for Manitoba Arts Council funding contain questions regarding cultural integrity. It is therefore important for applicants to understand how culture affects the creation and presentation of artistic works.

Cultural Integrity in the Creative Process

If you are applying for funding to create new work and your project includes subject matter, material, or practices outside your own cultural community, assessors will consider how you demonstrate cultural integrity within your project.  Specifically, they will review your application to see if there is cultural appropriation in the project. Cultural appropriation is the unacknowledged or inappropriate adoption of the customs, practices, ideas, etc. of one people or society by members of another and typically more dominant people or society.

You are encouraged to reflect on and explain the role of culture in your proposed project as you prepare your application. Consider the following, if applicable:

  • Are you aware of the origin of the material, custom, or practice you are incorporating into your project?  Do you understand how it was originally used and/or its original meaning?
  • What is your relationship to the cultural community that this material/practice comes from?
  • Are you aware of and/or have you addressed any cultural protocols (rules) involved in the practice or tradition you are engaging with?
  • Have you considered whether your project could have unintended harmful consequences or is disrespectful to the community involved?
  • If your proposed project focuses on or includes Indigenous materials, traditions, or knowledges, do you understand Indigenous peoples’ unique worldview and creative culture? Do you understand the historical and ongoing wrongs perpetrated against them through colonialism? How did you come by this understanding?
  • Have you properly acknowledged and compensated contributors?

Cultural Integrity in the Presentation of Artistic Work and Activities

Assessors reviewing applications involving presenting artistic works or activities will consider cultural integrity within your project. When preparing your application, you can demonstrate cultural integrity by reflecting on and explaining the following:

  • Why did you select this work(s) or activity to present? Are you aware of its history and origin?
  • Who will be performing the work or leading the activity?
  • Whose perspectives are being presented in the work or activity?
  • What cultures or communities are represented in the work or activity?
  • What connections do you and/or your group have to the cultures or communities represented in the work or activity?
  • Who is your intended audience or participants?
  • How do you hope the work or activity will impact your audience members?

MAC’s Commitment

The Manitoba Arts Council (MAC) is committed to fostering greater inclusion and diversity in the arts and operates in accordance with the Manitoba Human Rights Code. MAC is likewise committed to the standards and principles of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

MAC actively opposes discrimination, stereotypes, and cultural appropriation. We share the goal of equity for those who have been excluded and strongly condemn racism in every form. As we carry out our work to provide Manitoba citizens with access to the arts, we acknowledge our responsibility to also advance social justice.