MICHELE DECOTTIGNIES, CCEDA founder & Co-Chair
Stage Left Productions | The Deaf, Disability & Mad Arts Alliance of Canada | Canadian Dance Assembly |
Michele is a Canmore-based, multiple award-winning producer, presenter, playwright, director, designer, educator and advocate with 30 years experience in Canada's professional arts industries.
She spent the first 15 years of her artistic career working in a variety of artistic, administrative and technical roles, with many different companies including Alberta Theatre Projects, Theatre Calgary, One Yellow Rabbit, Lunchbox Theatre, Rob Cuffley Films, White Iron and others. She spent the last 15 years exclusively prioritizing equity & diversity in the arts through her own company, Stage Left Productions – a collective of diverse artists who create culturally-informed Political Art works and advocate for equity in the arts.
Within the professional arts ecology, Michele has pioneered highly accessible and creative approaches to arts equity education. Her practice is unique: It pays equal attention to the barriers experienced by all equity-seeking communities and attends to inequities embedded in all three spheres of influence (personal, social and structural). She pays particular attention to needed political, cultural and emotional safeties, and her approach goes far beyond those divisive frameworks of "us versus them" – toward cross-cultural solidarity and collective impact. Through Stage Left's globally-esteemed Theatre of the Oppressed practice, Michele has successfully facilitated over 300 arts equity workshops in Canada, the USA and Australia.
Her current arts equity advocacy work includes attending to the continued evolution of The Deaf, Disability & Mad Arts Alliance of Canada and co-coordinating the services offered by The Calgary Collective for Equity & Diversity in the Arts. Her recent arts equity consulting work includes:
1. Supporting the development of PACT's national arts equity education program, ALL IN, and
facilitating foundational arts equity workshops for their regional cohorts across Canada;
2. Developing arts equity training workshops and assessment & implementation tools for
organizations, institutions and public arts funders;
3. Introducing National Arts Service Organizations (e.g. Canadian Dance Assembly, Opera.ca and
Orchestras Canada) to her Canadian-specific Arts Equity Framework; and
4. Mentoring independent Indigenous artists, Olivia Marie Golosky and Melaina Sheldon, in the
integration of Theatre of the Oppressed techniques in to their own resistances to continuing
forms of colonialism.