What is an Artists’ Commission?
The for­mat for this event was inspired by the 2006 Peo­ple’s Com­mis­sion on secu­ri­ty cer­tifi­cates in Mon­tre­al. It is a method of gath­er­ing research and data based on per­son­al tes­ti­mo­ny. This mod­el regards expe­ri­ence as exper­tise, while also pro­duc­ing a pub­licly acces­si­ble doc­u­ment that can be used as part of a larg­er move­ment to inform policy.

The hear­ings will hap­pen in 5 groups of 4 tes­ti­fiers, spread over 2 days. Each tes­ti­fi­er will be sup­plied with the same ques­tions. They will have up to 20 mins to answer the ques­tions. The com­mis­sion­ers may ask them to elab­o­rate on their answers.

The tes­ti­monies will be com­piled into a final report by the com­mis­sion­ers, includ­ing pol­i­cy rec­om­men­da­tions and pub­lic input, which will be pre­sent­ed to fed­er­al and provin­cial gov­ern­ments in 2021. The report will be made avail­able to the pub­lic in French and English.

The com­mis­sion will be recorded.

What is the pur­pose of this event?
Much has been talked about in the media about Basic Income recent­ly, and there have been sev­er­al advo­ca­cy push­es from the Cana­di­an arts sec­tor such as this open let­ter addressed to the Prime Min­is­ter as part of an Ontario Basic Income Net­work cam­paign. The aim of the Com­mis­sion is not to pose a debate about the mer­its of BI, nor to argue the logis­tics of imple­men­ta­tion, but,using BI as a jump­ing-off point, to col­lec­tive­ly artic­u­late a vision that is root­ed in the lived expe­ri­ences of Cana­di­an artists and cul­tur­al workers.

How can I sup­port this project?
We are look­ing for orga­ni­za­tions and col­lec­tives to finan­cial­ly con­tribute to the project. Project costs include hon­o­raria for the com­mis­sion­ers, trans­la­tion of the report, and ASL inter­pre­ta­tion. While any­thing is appre­ci­at­ed, con­tri­bu­tions of $100–500 are rec­om­mend­ed to help us reach our $10,000 goal. We also wel­come in-kind sup­port in the form of Eng­lish to French trans­la­tion (for the live event as well as the final writ­ten report), if some­one with­in your orga­ni­za­tion is equipped to offer these services.
If you would like to sup­port this project, please con­tact Ben Donoghue at director@mano-ramo.ca

Who are the organizers?
This project is being orga­nized by an ad-hoc col­lec­tive of artists and arts work­ers who joined forces dur­ing COVID-19 iso­la­tion via the Media Arts Net­work of Ontario (MANO). The pur­pose of our advo­ca­cy com­mit­tee is to orga­nize and sup­port respons­es about the ways artists’ lives have been affect­ed by the loss of income and social sup­ports. Over the last few months, we have held pub­lic events includ­ing a work­shop on ten­ants rights and an arts-led dis­cus­sion of Basic Income which was a pre­cur­sor to the Commission.

The affin­i­ty group cur­rent­ly includes: Barbo­ra Race­vičiūtė, David Plant, Scott Miller Berry, Sagan Yee, Zain­ub Ver­jee, Indu Vashist, Ben Donoghue, Adri­ana Rossel­li, Ley­la Suther­land, and Hol­ly Chang (researcher).