Two years ago, I set a small advocacy goal for Vertigo Theatre:
3 people, 3 meetings, 3 messages.
We committed to meet with members of City Council, the Provincial Legislative Assembly, and Parliament.
The point of this advocacy experiment was to tell Vertigo’s story, and participate in conversations that could impact both Vertigo Theatre, and the arts sector at large. I am not going to lie, I was nervous. I thought I had little to offer in the way of advocacy because I was not working in an “A” house, and not all the politicians would know me on a first name basis.
Over the course of 2 months we assembled a 3-person team (1 Board Member and 2 volunteer Vertigo Advocates). Together we developed and implemented our advocacy “experiment”.
Two of the best resources at our disposal were the PACT Advocacy web-page, which offered a tools and ideas on how to engage, and I also got some sound advice from Camilla Holland, Executive Director at The Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre. Camilla’s reassurance, and the tools in the package were instrumental in getting our experiment off the ground.
The outcome of our experiment:
The meetings were positive and productive! Each politician created opportunities for us to engage with their constituencies and the Member of Parliament immediately opened doors for us to advance one of our community engagement priorities to great success.
So what was my “ah-ha” moment after participating in this experiment?
I realized I am a much better advocate than I give myself credit for. I have a deep level of understanding of our industry, the impact of our work, and the needs of our community. My voice does matter, and the passion and conviction that WE have for the health and vitality of our sector can help inspire meaningful change.
As a result of this successful advocacy experiment, I joined the Advocacy Committee at PACT, where I recently traveled to Ottawa to meet with members of Parliament as part of Arts Day on the Hill. Two years ago, I would have never considered volunteering for the committee much less for a day of advocacy in Parliament.
If you are afraid to participate in advocacy because you are a beginner, don’t be. Step forward, be brave, and know that there are resources available through PACT.
Small conversations can lead to big ideas, and big ideas can lead to monumental change.