Equity At SKETCH

Equity At SKETCH

SKETCH is committed to learning, “unlearning” and challenging oppressive systems in our society in partnership and allyship with individuals, communities and movements working to address and eradicate the harmful and damaging impacts of these systems. 

Over many conversations with young people, staff and partners, SKETCH has been developing it’s Equity Strategy, to guide programs, policies, hiring, and importantly, how we co-create with the community to make social change. 

We hope that you will engage in dialogue with us around these issues so that we might work together toward justice and collective liberation.

Photos by Glamma. @GlammaGirlSwag

To begin, this page updates you on our current actions to address Anti-Black Racism within SKETCH, arts and culture and within the broader community. We initiated this when we, like many, were called-in by Black-led communities to stand against rising police brutality against Black and Indigenous peoples all around us. These actions are just a start.


We stand together with the brave and creative leadership of young Black Artists and Activists who CREATE despite ongoing violence and injustice and who are ADVOCATING for change. 

On June 3, 2020, SKETCH (re)committed to examining and activating our role as an ally and accomplice to address ongoing violence of Anti-Black racism, oppression, and discrimination in our organization, in our sector and in systems, in Toronto and in society generally. 

We want to be accountable to Black youth artists and staff of SKETCH, and the Black community at large by taking action to ensure that folks are supported, uplifted, and their voices amplified as they lead all of us toward justice and collective liberation.

We said we would: 

  • Look within and address our own biases and the ways that systemic and structural racism play themselves out at SKETCH;
  • Ensure investment and resources to young Black Artists;
  • Endorse Black leadership in SKETCH and in arts and culture;
  • Support Black staff to self-determine their own self-care; and
  • Connect our predominantly White/POC leadership with other White/POC leaders of arts and culture to support Black leadership in the sector with resourced opportunities to lead in meaningful ways.

Photos by Glamma. @GlammaGirlSwag

SKETCH’s Anti-Black Racism Strategy (in-draft)


  • LISTEN DEEPLY to the diverse experiences and diverse knowledge of Black young people, colleagues, and partners integrating intersection issues (ie. gender, disabilities, class, etc). (ie. Black Voices of SKETCH is a group of Black participating artists, staff, and leaders within SKETCH meeting frequently to strengthen each other. This group will also feed into SKETCH’s Anti-Black Racism Strategy development.)
  • LOOK WITHIN  Examine and Address how bias, white privilege, and systemic racism are embedded within SKETCH, recognizing the impacts and make change!
  • Support Black staff to self-determine the self-care they need, seek and allocate resources toward their continued health and resilience.


  • SUPPORT and AMPLIFY Black voices, creativity, innovation and leadership 
    • Increase our support platform and ensure continued investment and resources for young Black Artists and Creative Leaders 
    • Art in Pandemic, SKETCH’s online platform amplifies the artistic voices of Black youth during this time of pandemic as we collectively ‘wake up’.
    • SKETCH’s Shared Platform supports Black-led initiatives and projects. We want to learn from their work, their needs and voices.
  • Address our hiring practices and explicitly articulate our goals and timelines to create and sustain opportunities for Black leadership within SKETCH at all levels.
  • Centre anti-black racism commitments in Program design and delivery.


  •  Join Black leaders and movements for prison abolition, in calls for inquests and in advocating for redirection of funding for policing to go toward community-based transformative justice efforts. (see June 25 and July 17 blog letters)
  • Endorse and support Black leadership in arts and culture.

In partnership with Platform A organizational partners, we issued a letter on June 3 calling to Arts Funding Bodies to develop a Black Arts Fund: to increase support to Black-led arts projects and initiatives; and to support long-term employment for Black arts and culture workers; we advocated for changes to make granting programs more welcoming and accessible to Black artists; and to ensure Black-led infrastructure and decision-making for Black Arts Funding. We’ll be following up on these recommendations in the coming months to push for budget changes as the city and council’s draft their 2021 budgets

Please feel free to write to sketchequity@gmail.com if you have any questions or contributions.  

Photos by Glamma. @GlammaGirlSwag

Non-Black community members of SKETCH can take action by: 

  • Educating yourselves on history and the issues; Build your critical consciousness;
  • Acknowledging and honouring the impact of racism with Black staff as change makers/activists and the need to activate/endorse self-directed self-care strategies;
  • Buying from Black-owned businesses (which include Black artists at SKETCH);
  • Donating to organizations that are directly supporting Black folks;
  • Re-posting and re-sharing information on your social media feeds;
  • Having constant conversations with your peers, families, and friends;
  • Signing petitions that call for justice.

Photos by Glamma. @GlammaGirlSwag

We will keep you updated on what we’re learning and doing.

Stay safe, Be well, and Let’s Keep up the Push.

SKETCH COMMUNITY UPDATE (as of August 14, 2020)

Thanks to all who participated in Creating Against the Odds! Our online experiments offered May, June and July. Thanks to everyone who made those experiments during these challenging times.

SKETCH studios at 180 Shaw Street will remain closed to public access until further notice. We are forced in this time of pandemic to rework and consider our sustainability given public health priorities and resources. We will keep you posted on new designs in September.

Connect here for wellness supports.

We've launched our Equity at SKETCH Web page to be in dialogue with you about our Equity goals.

Black activists and communities everywhere are working hard to lead all society to call out and authentically address the violent impacts of White Supremacy in policing, justice, education, health, community and in all systems and infrastructures across Turtle Island (North America). Anti-Black racism is deeply embedded in every fabric of our society. This, as well as our violent colonial legacy of Indigenous erasure, constant gender discrimination and violence, and the violence and mistreatment of those in the disability community, are pervasive pressing truths that we need to face and address, daily, to make change in real ways. We need boldness, energy, honesty, deep listening and accountability, to generate sustained action and inversions of power in the immediate, medium and long term.

What can a community-engaged arts organization in Toronto like us do, to take up its role in this critical renaissance of justice? Join us in learning together with us, what this means.

SKETCH is deeply committed to supporting, learning from and amplifying the brave and creative leadership of young Black Artists and Activists. Check out Art in Pandemic and be inspired by the incredible work of young artists creating during this time.

We call on the Arts Councils to create a Black Artists Fund to support Black Artists and Black Arts and Culture Organizations, recognizing and investing in their leadership in arts and culture, and in building fair and inclusive communities.

Follow us at @SKETCHToronto, and reach out if you have any questions at info@sketch.ca.

Please support us to be a just, accountable and vibrant arts platform for young people on the margins! We need your help now more than ever!

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