Update from the CBAA Board of Directors

The CBAA Board of Directors held a special meeting on Monday, June 22, 2020 to discuss our next steps toward establishing sustainable anti-racist initiatives that will hold space for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) voices in our organization and our field. We are writing to the CBAA membership today to share some of the positive changes that are taking shape through this process, and to invite your feedback as a CBAA member.

Following the special meeting, and in preparation for our regularly scheduled bi-monthly board meeting on Friday, July 17, 2020, the Chairs of our Working Committees revisited our current CBAA Goals—CBAA’s core organizational planning document, which is continually revised and updated to clarify our overarching goals and to document committee-specific objectives. Listed below are proposed additions to our CBAA Goals that reflect our evolving anti-racist strategies. These objectives are currently in draft form, and we invite your feedback before our next board meeting, scheduled for Friday, September 18, 2020, when we will review and finalize these additions.

Executive Committee

  • Form an Anti-Racist Change Team, with members embedded within the CBAA Board of Directors and Working Committees, to lead and organize our process toward becoming an anti-racist organization.
  • Pursue anti-racist assessment and training opportunities for the CBAA Board of Directors, Working Committees, and Members. Explore partnerships with other book art organizations to share these opportunities with our field as a whole.

Steering Committee

  • Work with the Anti-Racist Change Team to revise CBAA’s Vision, Mission, Goals, and Policies and Procedures to ensure that anti-racism is explicitly incorporated into the foundations of our organization.

Nominating and Membership Committee

  • Reconsider Membership Dues and Levels and how they uphold and reinforce racist structures in our organization. Revise to prioritize accessibility and inclusivity, introducing pay-what-you-can options for dues and new language for membership levels.
  • Begin intentional outreach to BIPOC students, artists, educators, and arts organizations, including Historically Black Universities and Colleges (HBCUs), with interests and programs that intersect with our mission.

Meetings and Programs Committee

  • Restructure the organization of conferences and meetings to allow for more diversity in terms of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, income-level, and career path.
  • Organize a virtual 2021 CBAA Meeting that supports these new goals.
  • Invite our programming partners, including the remaining host of the Rising Together Traveling Exhibit, to help us enact our goals by shining a light on anti-racist work and work by BIPOC artists.
  • Shift the Rising Together Micro-Grant program to focus priority on zine-making workshops that center and amplify BIPOC voices and/or serve BIPOC audiences.

Communications Committee

  • Encourage BIPOC artists to participate in the CBAA Featured Artist segment.
  • Create opportunities to highlight CBAA members' work that revolves around diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Awards Committee

  • Reconsider our goals for CBAA Grants, Scholarships, and Awards.
  • Reassess transparency, inclusion, and accessibility in how we advertise, select, and award grants and scholarships.
  • Rework current awards and discuss best ways to add new awards. Ensure the process is more transparent and inclusive for all.
  • Update rubrics and post to the website for transparency and accessibility.

Publications Committee

  • Maintain and grow the CBAA Book Art + Social Justice Resource List.
  • Solicit Book Art Theory blog posts that center and amplify BIPOC voices in the interdisciplinary field of book art.
  • Pursue a new CBAA Journal format, flexible enough to accommodate unforeseen content/forms, and ensure that it will work as an inclusive publication venue that provides a space for recognition of diverse voices in and adjacent to the book art field.

Development Committee

  • Develop policies and procedures that are guided by principles of equity and are inclusive of members at all levels of gifting.
  • Shift away from traditional fundraising practices that uphold systems of inequity and white supremacy.

We welcome your thoughts and suggestions about these proposed next steps, and we will closely consider your feedback as we confirm our goals and objectives and move them into action. We also welcome your direct involvement in this process. Please let us know if you are interested in contributing your time or resources to further any or all of these initiatives. You can reach out, as always, to CBAA President, Bridget Elmer, at president@collegebookart.org with your feedback and interest.

As a board, we recognize that CBAA’s process toward becoming an anti-racist organization will be ongoing, and we are doing our best to move forward sustainably. We are grateful for your membership and continued support, and we look forward to sharing our progress with you.

August 23, 2020

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