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Free Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) Courses open to artists, arts & cultural nonprofits, and arts & cultural small businesses

These courses are open to artists, arts and cultural nonprofit organizations, and arts and cultural small businesses living in or based in the City of Durham.

Why are we offering Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) courses?

Durham Arts Council celebrates the unique creativity and spirit of every person and believes in creating a vibrant, diverse, equitable and inclusive community through the arts. In this spirit, we are offering courses in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Accessibility (DEIA) because we believe in the value of all human potential and the opportunity for people to be able to equitably and equally participate in not only the art offerings in our community, but in all facets of our society.

We believe these trainings to be foundational to a broader understanding of how diversity can make our work and organizations better. As our mission states, Durham Arts Council, Inc. is a catalyst in the cultural development of Durham – it leads, inspires, and promotes excellence in and access to the creation, experience, and active support of the arts for all the people of our community. DAC is committed at every level to developing, supporting, and celebrating diversity, equity, access, inclusion and belonging in our programming, services, audience, workforce, vendor relationships, board and governance as a reflection of the diverse communities we serve.

 About the courses

This training program is administered and coordinated by Durham Arts Council and funded by North Carolina Arts Council Grassroots/ARPA funds and City of Durham ARPA Funds. This is the first round of training/capacity building programs that DAC is offering as part of its “Culture & Arts: Invest to Restart” ARPA program.   These Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Accessibility (DEIA) training/capacity building programs are being offered in Spring 2024 to arts and cultural nonprofits, arts and cultural small businesses, and individual artists located in or living in the City of Durham.  Additional training/capacity building programs will be offered later in 2024 and in 2025.


Although Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility training is not new, learning how to recognize the impacts of bias in personal assumptions and organizational systems is an on-going process.  We continue to learn and grow at both the individual, organizational, and community level. This is work that is never complete and is vital to serving our entire community.  We hope that these trainings will meet participants where they are – either as newcomers looking for a grounding in the basics or more experienced participants who can benefit from a fresh look at what may be a familiar subject. Even if you have participated in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Accessibility (DEIA) training in the past, as an individual or as an organization, we believe that there are always new and deeper understandings and appreciation to gain.

Durham Arts Council has researched and selected two highly qualified training providers for these Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Accessibility (DEIA) programs:

DEI Training will be offered by The Equity Paradigm in 4 virtual sessions: Tuesdays, June 4–June 25, from 6-8pm. All four sessions compose a comprehensive arc of learning; therefore, all four sessions are required for completion of the course.  

Accessibility Training will be offered by Arts Access North Carolina in 4 virtual sessions: Wednesday, Jun 5; Thursday, Jun 6; Wednesday, June 12; and Thursday, June 13, from 6:30-8pm. The first two sessions will provide overviews of the field of accessibility. The third session will focus on accessibility in performing arts.  The fourth session will focus on accessibility in exhibitions. Attendance at the first two sessions is required, as they are foundational. You may then choose either the session on performance or the session on exhibitions. Three sessions are required for completion of the course.  

Additional Grant Application bonus points:   Successful completion of either the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Accessibility (DEIA) training series or the Accessibility training series will provide the participant with one or more bonus points that will be added to the panel score on the next grant application that the organization or artist submits to a DAC grant program (Season Grants, Durham Arts Catalyst Grants, Emerging Artist Grants, Artist Support Grants.)   

Free Training, Plus You Will Be Paid to Participate!

These trainings will be offered to nonprofit arts and cultural organizations, arts and cultural small businesses, and individual artists located/living in the City of Durham free of charge, thanks to Grassroots/ARPA funding from NC Arts Council. Participants will have the option to submit an application to the Durham Arts Council’s ARPA program to receive a participation fee once training has been completed and a brief final report submitted online (participation fees funded by City of Durham ARPA funds).  For these Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Accessibility (DEIA) offerings the participation fee for 4 sessions of DEI training will be $2,000 per organization, business, or individual artist.  The participation fee for 3 sessions of Accessibility training will be $1,500 for each organization, business, or individual artist.

 These training/capacity building programs are the first offering in the Durham Arts Council’s “Culture and Arts: Invest to Restart” ARPA Training Program. Over the next 16 months the Durham Arts Council, in partnership with local and regional training providers, will offer arts and cultural nonprofits, arts and cultural small businesses, and individual artists the opportunity to apply to get training to rebuild, recover, and grow their businesses.  To be eligible, the organization or business must be based in the City of Durham and the individual artists must live in the City of Durham and all must have suffered financial loss due to COVID between March 2020 and December 2022.

As the ARPA Training Program unfolds, there will be a wide array of additional training opportunities covering such topics as fundraising, board development, business planning, marketing, program development, and many more topics.  All training will be offered free of charge to the Durham arts and cultural sector. 

To receive the participation fees for these trainings and future offerings, eligible organizations, businesses, and artists can submit an application selecting from available trainings on many different topics.  All training programs will offer participation fees to be paid to the organization, business, and artist upon successful completion of the course. Look for further information on future offerings to be shared in the coming weeks.

Course Descriptions

DEI Learning Arc Session Descriptions

Session 1 – Foundations in Racial Equity  Tuesday, June 4, 6-8pm (2 hr. webinar)

Our Foundations in Racial Equity workshop is focused on building social, political, historical, and economic context around the construction of race and racism through an analysis of our systems, institutions, interpersonal relationships, and internalized norms. Participants begin to define racial equity and begin developing tangible mindsets and behaviors that interrupt the quiet manifestations of racism and lead to more equitable outcomes. 

Session 2 – Foundations in Internalized Racism  Tuesday, June 11, 6-8pm (2 hr. webinar)

Our Foundations in Internalized Racism workshop pushes participants to examine their own socialization and the unconscious norms, assumptions and biases that have been ingrained in us, that perpetuate racism and uphold the system as it was designed. We will interrogate our own lived experiences and identities, build community and devise strategies for deconstructing Internalized Racial Superiority and Internalized Racial Oppression through racial identity caucusing, all while building our capacity to work towards racial equity in the spaces we occupy. 

Session 3 – Understanding and Decentering White Supremacy Culture  Tuesday, June 18, 6-8pm (2 hr. webinar)

Our Decentering White Supremacy Culture workshop focuses on naming, interrogating, and challenging white supremacy as a socio-political system of domination that, while rendered invisible, controls all facets of what is deemed “normal” and “correct” in our society and in our workplaces, more specifically. Using a racial equity lens developed in sessions 1 & 2, we will define the attributes of white supremacy culture, identify our roles as perpetrators/co-conspirators in upholding white supremacy culture as the “norm” within the institution, and begin developing strategies for decentering white supremacy culture and creating space for more pluralistic and multicultural ways of being and operating.

Session 4 – Navigating Change, Power, and Equitable Decision Making  Tuesday, June 25, 6-8pm (2 hr. webinar)

During this session, participants define power and disempowerment; reflect on their individually held relationships with and proximity to power, and interrogate how that power has been conferred, what its unintended consequences are, and begin developing tools for engaging in decision-making practices that are conscious of power and lead to more equitable outcomes and experiences. Participants may reconvene in racial identity caucuses (established in session 2) to reflect on common power dynamics experienced by dominant and non-dominant groups. 

Accessibility Training Descriptions

Accessibility 101 on Wednesday, June 5 at 6:30 pm (90-minute Webinar)

 Details:  Arts Access NC will present a webinar with an overview on accessibility programming and the importance of engaging with the members of the disability community. Additionally, there will be a Q & A at the end of the webinar. 

Creating an ADA Plan on Thursday, June 6 at 6:30 pm (90-minute Webinar)

 Details: A hands-on virtual workshop breaking down the components of an ADA Plan. Participants will draft out an accessibility plan for their organization under the guidance of Arts Access NC’s Executive Director, Eileen Bagnall. Additionally, there will be a Q & A at the end of the webinar. 

Accessible Exhibitions on Wednesday, June 12 at 6:30 pm (90-minute Webinar)

Details: An overview on creating an accessible exhibition from the call for art to marketing to installation and opening of the exhibition presented by Arts Access NC’s Executive Director, Eileen Bagnall. Additionally, there will be a Q & A at the end of the webinar.

Accessibility for Performing Arts on Thursday, June 13 at 6:30 pm (90-minute Webinar)

Details: An overview on creating accessible performances from access services to marketing to the opening performance presented by Arts Access NC’s Executive Director, Eileen Bagnall. Additionally, there will be a Q & A at the end of the webinar. 

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This project was supported by the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.