What’s Happening at Vancouver Poetry House
Communication can be challenging right now.
To keep everyone informed we have put together a brief overview of work happening behind the scenes at VPH from the volunteer board.
Obviously, this year has been a struggle. Our goal is to offer as much virtual programming as possible and by extension, pay as many artists as we can. This is in keeping with the spirit of the decision made in 2020 to pay artists following the cancellation of live Verses events
- We have been fundraising. For our Auction, we sought out and collected donations, learned how to use auction software to put on a virtual auction, distributed the items to successful bidders
- We have all worked to support our staff during this difficult transition. Keeping the organization financially sound is an ever-present challenge right now and employees have worked tirelessly organizing and hosting events, applying for grants, and learning about and transitioning to various virtual platforms.
- We are continuing to expand the board and provide procedures to help make board transitions smooth
- A raffle was organized with the grand prize of a two night stay at Oceanside Cottages on Salt Spring Island, a Year’s subscription to the international Association of Journal Writers and more. Special thanks to all the donors and participants.
- We have been working to address systemic racism at the administrative level of the organization
- We sent out a community wide survey for feedback
- We instituted fairer hiring practices outlined by COCo (the Centre for Community Organizations)
- We have participated in an anti-racism, cultural diversity in the arts workshop
- Most importantly, we have (thanks to the hard work and cooperation of our staff) secured funding for both a cultural competency audit and equity consulting. We are in the process of speaking with agencies that were reached out to previously when costing this labor. BIPOC run agencies have been prioritized for this work.
- Board members attended staff meetings in the runup to Verses to provide guidance and assistance. Directors have also supported recent programming under the Verses umbrella (workshops included the incomparable Lillian Allen and the multi-talented Charlie Petch)
- We have started to expand the purpose of our online platform (specifically the VPH blog) to spotlight artists, creators, and causes.
- Verses was a great success with attendance to events comparable to years past, and notably well attended workshops (the expanded reach of digital programming helped here). Partnerships with Stage to Page and Write Bloody North helped spoken word artists explore opportunities beyond Slam. Iron Poet Gauntlet was a huge hit. Amazing work came out of CIPS and Hullabaloo and we were so fortunate with the line-up of artists. We acknowledge and thank Verses volunteers and staff for their exceptional work during an extraordinary time.
You can find meeting minutes for VPH here from the About dropdown Agendas and Minutes (minutes are available in Word and PDF formats for access)