Narrative Change Lab 2021

Call for Fellowship Applications

THE INITIATIVE

Inspirit Foundation is launching the Narrative Change Lab — a new national initiative that supports underrepresented communities in the development of pop culture strategies that advance equity and shift narrative power in the arts and media sectors. We believe the stories we encounter in mainstream cultural platforms such as television, film, music, art, and journalism can better reflect a pluralistic society. The Lab is an opportunity for creative leaders to collaborate and imagine new ways to right historical omissions, fight hateful stereotypes, and seed new stories in the Canadian pop culture landscape.

We are inviting applications for a ten-month Fellowship to co-lead the 2021 Lab with Inspirit. Learn more about our inaugural theme and how to apply below.

2021 THEME: REIMAGINING MUSLIM NARRATIVES

The first Muslims arrived in Canada in 1854. They brought with them their stories, cultures, foods, weaving them into the fabric of Canadian identity. But Muslims have never been seen nor treated as equal Canadian citizens. In the two decades since 9/11, Islamophobia has spiked nationally and globally, despite increased efforts by both Muslim and non-Muslim communities to educate the public on the systemic discrimination and racism faced by Muslims in countries around the world.

Here in Canada, a 2018 Environics Survey concluding the following: “Of all the distinct groups in Canadian society today, Muslims are most widely considered to be the ‘other’ because of where they come from, associations with terrorism in other countries, and specific religious practices like head coverings.”

These stereotypes are reflected throughout the Canadian arts and media landscape; we see content depicting Muslims consistently failing the ‘Riz Test’. Opportunities for Canadian Muslims to frame their own stories and experiences have been few and far between. This needs to change.

THE INSPIRIT NARRATIVE CHANGE LAB FELLOWSHIP

In 2021, Inspirit will be supporting a Fellowship position to co-lead the new Inspirit Narrative Change Lab. We are seeking dynamic candidates who work within and have deep knowledge of the arts and/or media sectors, a passion for pop culture, and lived experience and connections within Canadian Muslim communities.

As a Fellow you will receive a $65,000 stipend to co-lead the Lab with Inspirit from February-December 2021. The expected time commitment is approximately 25-28 hours per week.  Inspirit will also provide additional funds to cover the associated costs of running the Lab.

DELIVERABLES

As a Fellow, you will:

  • Collaborate with Inspirit to convene and facilitate a multi-disciplinary cohort of Muslim practitioners to develop innovative approaches to counteract and go beyond Islamophobic tropes within Canadian pop culture;
  • Generate creative strategies and solutions to amplify diverse Muslim-led pop culture narratives through public arts and media events/projects;
  • Provide research and insights into the current landscape of Muslim impact and engagement in arts/culture and media in Canada; and,
  • Elevate public dialogue and awareness of critical issues within Muslim communities and the broader public around Muslim identity through associated public and community engagement activities.

Please note: The final design and deliverables of the Lab will be mutually agreed upon with Inspirit during a kick-off phase in February 2021.

FELLOWSHIP CRITERIA 

We are looking for applicants who demonstrate:

  • Deep experience and knowledge of the arts/culture and/or media sectors in Canada;
  • Experience using storytelling and pop culture tools to shift narratives and advance social change;
  • Knowledge of and experience in multiple storytelling platforms and/or disciplines, including, but not limited to: web, podcast, print, film, television, and radio; and/or, visual arts, performance, music, comedy, etc.
  • Commitment to civic engagement and strong relationships in a diversity of Canadian Muslim communities;
  • An ability to collaborate with others, and develop and maintain positive working relationships;
  • Experience and demonstrated skills in engaging and facilitating groups.

Additional skills and characteristics:

  • Based in and eligible to work in Canada;
  • Eagerness to listen and engage diverse perspectives of others;
  • Self-starter with strong project management skills;
  • Exceptional research skills;
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills, and the ability to convey information effectively for a variety of audiences;
  • An understanding of systems and strategy development;
  • Comfort with risk and exploration in an emergent and highly experimental process.

In keeping with Inspirit’s commitment to equity, we encourage self-identifying Muslims from across Canada to apply. We are committed to all forms of diversity and welcome applications from all racial, ethnic, and sectarian backgrounds. We also welcome candidates with disabilities, as well as all genders and sexualities.

Accommodations are available upon request for candidates with disabilities taking part in all aspects of the recruitment and selection process. Please contact us at 416-644-3600 or info@inspiritfoundation.org to discuss how we can assist.

Applications will be reviewed by Inspirit staff as well as an external advisory committee of experts in media and/or arts sectors.

APPLY HERE

TIMELINE 

  • Applications openNovember 92020 
  • Application deadlineDecember 72020 
  • Selection processDecember 9, 2020 – January 14, 2021 
  • Shortlisted candidates notified and interviews: January 18 – 22, 2021 
  • Selected Fellow notified: February 1, 2021 

Frequently Asked Questions

When is the deadline to apply for the Fellowship?

The deadline to submit applications is December 7, 2020 at 11:59 PM EST.

Can I apply with another person?

Applicants must apply individually.

Who can apply?

In keeping with Inspirit’s commitment to equity, we encourage self-identifying Muslims from across Canada with relevant experience to apply. We are committed to all forms of diversity and welcome applications from all racial, ethnic, and sectarian backgrounds. We also welcome candidates with disabilities, as well as all genders and sexualities.

Accommodations are available upon request for candidates with disabilities taking part in all aspects of the recruitment and selection process. Please contact us at 416-644-3600 or info@inspiritfoundation.org to discuss how we can assist.

How do I know if I’m qualified?

We are looking for applicants who demonstrate:

  • Deep experience and knowledge of the arts/culture and/or media sectors in Canada;
  • Experience using storytelling and pop culture tools to shift narratives and advance social change;
  • Knowledge of and experience in multiple storytelling platforms and/or disciplines, including, but not limited to: web, podcast, print, film, television, and radio; and/or, visual arts, performance, music, comedy, etc.
  • Commitment to civic engagement and strong relationships in a diversity of Canadian Muslim communities;
  • An ability to collaborate with others, and develop and maintain positive working relationships;
  • Experience and demonstrated skills in engaging and facilitating groups.

Additional skills and characteristics:

  • Based in and eligible to work in Canada;
  • Eagerness to listen and engage diverse perspectives of others;
  • Self-starter with strong project management skills;
  • Exceptional research skills;
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills, and the ability to convey information effectively for a variety of audiences;
  • An understanding of systems and strategy development;
  • Comfort with risk and exploration in an emergent and highly experimental process.
What kinds of arts and/or media experience are you looking for?

We are considering participants from all artistic practices and media backgrounds.

What Is the Lab NOT?
  • This Lab is not intended to be an academic study or major research report on the Muslim arts and media landscape in Canada. Although some research on the current Muslim landscape is necessary, it should not be considered the final product for this Lab.
  • Individual project funding.
  • Individual skills training workshops. The Lab is not intended to focus on individual or group skills training.
  • An account of all the obstacles facing Muslim creative and content creators, without practical solutions being offered for these obstacles;

The main aim of this Lab is to consider and identify solutions for multi-layered Muslim narratives to access the pop culture space. What type of initiatives will support Muslim narrative-making in Canada? How do we achieve shifts in narrative power for Muslim communities in Canada?

What deliverables are there?

We view this project as a collaboration between Inspirit Foundation and the Lab Fellow. While we have identified some general deliverables, we expect that final deliverables will be further developed by the Lab Fellow in collaboration with those participating in the Lab. Broad deliverables include:

  • Collaborate with Inspirit to convene and facilitate a multi-disciplinary cohort of Muslim practitioners to develop innovative approaches to counteract and go beyond Islamophobic tropes within Canadian pop culture;
  • Generate creative strategies and solutions to amplify diverse Muslim-led pop culture narratives through public arts and media events/projects;
  • Provide research and insights into the current landscape of Muslim impact and engagement in arts/culture and media in Canada; and,
  • Elevate public dialogue and awareness of critical issues within Muslim communities and the broader public around Muslim identity through associated public and community engagement activities.

Please note: The final design and deliverables of the Lab will be mutually agreed upon with Inspirit during a kick-off phase in February 2021.

Can I apply for project funding through this Lab?

No. While our other work focuses on funding projects and organizations that align with our goals and activities, this Lab is not a granting program. Rather, we are taking a step back to consider what initiatives are needed to access the pop culture space, which types of initiatives will support the intersection of narrative-making and pop culture, and how to achieve shifts in narrative power for Muslim communities.

For funding inquiries, please email us at grants@inspiritfoundation.org.

What support will Inspirit provide?
  • As a Fellow you will receive a $65,000 stipend to co-lead the Lab with Inspirit from February-December 2021. The expected time commitment is approximately 25-28 hours per week.
  • Inspirit will also provide additional funds to cover the associated costs of running the Lab.
  • Research and travel budget (to be determined)
  • Stipends for participants in the Lab for the duration of the Lab
  • Administrative support from Inspirit Foundation
Can this be my full-time job?

The expected time commitment is approximately 25-28 hours per week.

The stipend does not cover health or other benefits, and the Fellow will not be Inspirit employee.

This project will not prohibit the Fellow from taking on other work, but the Fellow will be expected to meet monthly mutually agreed upon deliverables to Inspirit.

Will I be an employee of Inspirit?

No. The Fellow and Lab participants will be engaged as independent contractors of Inspirit.

What if I have questions that haven’t been answered here?

If you have any questions that have not been answered here or need any clarifications, please email Angie Balata at grants@inspiritfoundation.org.