The background research for this digital toolbox on cultural appropriation in the theatre was supported by a Mitacs research grant to a partnership between the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) and the Conseil québécois du théâtre (CQT). That partnership dates back to two polemics about creations by Quebec producer Robert Lepage that shook the theater world in 2018. In view of the different – and even contradictory – understandings of the concept of cultural appropriation that were rocking the theatre world, the CQT’s Comité Théâtre et Diversité culturelle (CTDC) started looking for a way to contextualize it in 2018 (see the CQT progress report [in French only], October 2019). CQT also organized a virtual forum called Agora diversité in November 2021 to address the issues and challenges theater artists from backgrounds of diversity face in their daily lives. The Mitacs funded research partnership between UQAM and the CQT was announced during a panel on cultural appropriation at that event.
That Mitacs project gave rise to the content of this digital toolkit, the main purpose of which is to provide practical support to people who work in Quebec’s theater world. It was led by Geneviève Bélisle, theater artist and PhD student at UQAM, and Monia Abdallah, professor of art history at UQAM and a member of the CQT’s Comité Théâtre et Diversité culturelle since the end of 2018. Both those researchers were responsible for matching the original content to its digital adaptation.
For the CQT, Raffaela Siniscalchi, Digital Development Lead, set up and coordinated each step of the project as well as the website development operations. She streamlined the work so that it would meet the goals and achieve the required quality and the scope of the project. She made sure all facets of the milieu were represented and that they endorsed the project.