The Joy-Jackson Assessment is a powerful self assessment tool for arts organizations to measure the structural integrity and to understand their organization’s culture surrounding diversity and systemic equity. We quantify not only data and hiring numbers but use the demands put forth by members and collectives within the theater community surrounding BIPOC equity and representation.
The Joy-Jackson Assessment and its accompanying facilitation program invite organizations to explore how they can create the safest possible spaces for the People of Color in their communities. These tools are designed to assist organizations in formulating and committing to individualized and long-term solutions to address areas for growth and create the structural integrity required to practice antiracist theatre and restore relationships with theater practitioners in their communities starting with Black and Indigenous folks as well as the wider community of practitioners of color.
At its core, The Assessment is a storytelling tool. It’s designed to tell you the story of your own organization, and through doing so provide you with the power to change how that story will end.
WHY WE NEED IT
The Joy-Jackson Initiative was founded out of a deep sense of disappointment and urgency. The disappointment was fueled by the ignorance of a number of my colleagues and individuals that I called “friend” when it came to the resurgence of the Civil Rights Movement after the violent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery and the countless other Black people who have lost their lives to police brutality. At a time when we were encouraging each other to help flatten the curve and save human life, the very community that has always uplifted me and so many others responded with a deafening silence. The urgency that followed was accompanied with a swift understanding that immediate action was necessary to rectify the white supremacy and willful ignorance that was running rampant within my community and my industry. An ignorance that would allow people within powerful industrial positions to witness racial violence and do absolutely nothing.
Therefore, we set out to hold a mirror up to these organizations by way of an assessment that would act as a reflection of how violence was penetrating their own communities. It was of the utmost importance that community and industry leaders came to a place of understanding that the issues ran so much deeper than a protest or a political movement. This is about real people and real life.
HOW WE BUILT IT
The Assessment is based on personal experience, fortified with the demands of our community, and backed by data.
Peer & Professional Review Summits:
Story circles with industry professionals, including the women of Black Theater Girl Magic
Essential to make sure The Assessment satisfied the needs of the communities it aims to serve
Included a wide range of working professionals – community theaters, regional theaters, national/international tours, broadway, and beyond.
Included actors, directors, designers, stage managers, educators, producers, etc. to get a wide breadth of experience.
Beta Testing Periods:
Arts orgs across the nation participated in The Assessment
Provided real-time feedback about their experiences, improving the platform
The Assessment has been through two separate Beta tests
Proved assessment efficacy and informed the function and design of the web based assessment platform
June 2, 2020: A group of five strangers united by a common mission come together to discuss the possibility of creating a self-assessment for arts institutions.
June 12, 2020: The Joy-Jackson website goes live.
June 10th: The first draft of The Assessment is completed.
June 17th-19th: Inaugural Peer Review Summit, including story circles with the women of Black Theater Girl Magic.
July 1, 2020: The first round of beta testing begins with ten organizations from across the USA. Organizations involved in beta provide real-time feedback on the user experience.
July 10, 2020: Assessment efficacy is explored through a Town Hall for the Live Theatre Community, presented in partnership with Black Theater Girl Magic. Watch here: https://fb.watch/3feYeugK_S/
July 15, 2020: The demands from coalitions like We See You WAT, Bay Area Theatre Action Plan, and countless other organizations around the country calling for racial justice are folded into The Assessment, further fortifying it as the most comprehensive self-assessment tool for arts organizations looking to build systemic racial equity.
September 25, 2020: Fortified with the demands of our community, and strengthened by the feedback received from our inaugural Peer Review Summit, Beta Test, and Live Town Hall, The Assessment is sent for a second round of intensive Peer Review. This time, a Professional Review Summit is also added, inviting prominent artists and administrators from Broadway and beyond to provide critical feedback on The Assessment’s content and structure.
October 5, 2020: Now significantly more robust, The Assessment embarks on a second Beta Testing phase with 15 national arts organizations chosen from a wide pool of applicants. This phase is much more thorough and provides leaders with a much more comprehensive look at their organization.
October 30, 2020: Assessment efficacy is explored through another Town Hall for the Live Theatre Community, presented in partnership with Black Theater Girl Magic. The feedback is overwhelming and we learn that The Assessment has made real change in the leaders who participated. Watch here: https://fb.watch/3fhPtnGRPw/
November 1, 2020: The Assessment enters the final build out phase, working with a User Interface Designer and a team of web developers to create a platform that will make The Assessment accessible to organizations nationwide.
(Side note: this work is expensive, and currently completely self-funded. If you would like to support the creation of The Assessment, you can make a donation at this link: https://venmo.com/joyjacksonnow)
what's on the assessment
why it's important
how we got here
Welcome to the Joy-Jackson Assessment. Your being here is so important. It’s time to step up. Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are three words used frequently in the entertainment and theatre community, yet BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) artists, administrators, and audiences are still suffering. It is not enough to simply hire diversely – BIPOC voices, thoughts, and artistry must be amplified and valued. Make the first bold step toward the world we wish to see.
The Joy-Jackson Assessment is currently being tested by arts leaders around the country. Thank you to our current Assessment Cohort. To be considered for the next phase of our Assessment rollout, please click below to take the pledge!