I’ve gotten this question a lot, and rightfully so. It’s a good prompt to introduce myself in my own words, and share some Fall/Winter program teasers.
Before becoming Executive Director at UNIT/PITT, I held positions with local non-profit arts organizations, including The Cinematheque, Capture Photography Festival, Discorder Magazine, and VIVO Media Arts Centre. I completed a BFA at UBC Okanagan in 2013, which instilled in me passion for, and urgency towards, institutional critique. In the last few years, I have worked on projects that interrogate artwashing and gentrification, and more broadly question abuses of power and privilege in the arts. I believe in radical transparency, and will always champion compensation and the fair treatment of artists, arts workers, and community organizers.
This is the intention I bring to U/P. I am conscious of the space we occupy on the threshold of Chinatown and the Downtown Eastside at 8EAST, on unceded lands belonging to the xʷməθkwəy̓əm, Skwxwú7mesh, and səlil̓wətaʔɬ/Selilwitulh First Nations. I look forward to facilitating programming that empowers locally based artists and residents.
This summer myself and the board of directors began modifying our mission and vision in conjunction with a three-year Strategic Plan that will see our operations and decision-making made more transparent, as an act of accountability towards the communities we serve. The artist-run centre, demystified.
Over the next few months, U/P will host programs that recognizes people living and working in our immediate neighbourhood. September 21 is the first instalment of Lil Comedy, a new monthly series at 8EAST hosted by An Te Chu, Andrea Jin and Alistair Rogden. Our Retail Residency kicks off with an Agony Klub pop-up, and an evening of music and readings TBA. U/P will be at Vancouver Art/Book Fair Oct 18-20. Wrong Wave returns in November with a lineup curated by NuZi Collective. Tear It Down will also return with original works by five local artists TBA, exhibited on poster kiosks across Vancouver.
If you’ve ever considered becoming involved with U/P, now is the time. I encourage local artists to submit to the CV Bank to get on our radar. If you want to support our programming and also receive special invitations to events, you can buy a membership ($10-50). U/P is a charitable organization, and a donation of $20+ will get you a tax receipt. As opportunities arise over the next year, we will put out calls for volunteers and knowledge-exchange. Or perhaps you want to join the leadership? We are actively recruiting for our board of directors—email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
I hope to see you soon,
Brit Bachmann, Executive Director