Building a Better TCAF

To start, we want to offer a sincere thank you to everyone who has reached out to us. We appreciate your honesty and your willingness to share your voice. We are listening, and we know that we still have work to do. We are committed to building a better TCAF.

We released an anonymous survey in the summer of 2020. Over the course of six months, a committee of three Volunteer Directors, Coralie D’Souza (currently on leave), Kawai Shen, and Khristine Cuthbertson, reviewed all public comments and reached out to the individuals who requested further contact. The committee presented their findings to the TCAF Board of Directors and the anonymous form is now closed.

In an effort to create an equitable and inclusive workplace, TCAF has taken the following actions:

  1. Education and Training: The Board has been undertaking anti-racist and anti-oppression training, including various webinars offered through employers and independent consultants. We are planning to roll out training for Staff and Volunteers. So far webinar links and reading lists have been shared internally, and we plan to publicly share all updates in forthcoming statements.
  2. New Hiring Processes: The TCAF Board has implemented New Hiring Processes to make them standardized, competitive, and transparent. We focused on removing barriers known to reinforce systemic inequities. For example, we did not include an educational or industry experience requirement. Compensation was posted  transparently, and we shifted the focus from a candidate’s connections and/or credentials to their ability. All TCAF positions are now posted publicly, with underrepresented groups encouraged to apply. The board also aggressively promoted the positions to our diverse networks. We continue to seek to improve this new process to be more inclusive.
  3. Updated Policies: An Anti-Racism Policy, as well as an updated Conduct and Harassment Policy, will be expanded by the TCAF Board of Directors to include off-site events. This will also include an incident reporting process that prioritizes protecting those who come forward from retaliation. These updated policies will be posted on our website as soon as possible.

We promise to continue to improve our communication about the steps we are taking over the next few months, and in the years to come.

Growing and Evolving TCAF

With TCAF 2021 right around the corner, we wanted to take this opportunity to share the steps we are taking to create a festival that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive for all Staff, Volunteers, and Creators. We are very excited to share that TCAF is growing and evolving in powerful ways, and we have no doubt that TCAF 2021 will be an incredible event like never before!

This statement will address the changes we have made to improve our operational structure.

At the end of June 2020, TCAF co-founder Christopher Butcher exited his executive role and is no longer involved with the organization. An indispensable part of TCAF since 2002, Christopher was a passionate leader and innovator, without whom the festival wouldn’t be where it is today. We wish him the very best in all of his future endeavors, and thank him for his significant contributions over the past 18 years.

On July 1st, Miles Baker was promoted to Executive Director in recognition of 10 years of service in growing the festival. Since fall 2020, we have onboarded three new Volunteer Directors, all representing marginalized communities: Charles Roy, Emma Wakelin, and Patryce Bowling. The full Board of Directors also includes Peter Birkemoe, Kawai Shen, Gary Sherman, and Coralie D’Souza (on temporary leave). Khristine Cuthbertson has stepped down as Volunteer Director, and we thank her for contributions to emergency fundraiser and fundraising policies.

In order to restructure internal departments and executive management, new part-time positions have been created, with mentorship opportunities between those with more/less experience in a given area. We are committed to demanding an environment of collaboration and mutual respect, where everyone’s voice and opinion is valued equally.

Finally, we are dedicated to providing professional development opportunities for Staff and Volunteers in ways that are open and transparent, in order for personnel to gain more skills and experience, and advance within TCAF and the industry. We will provide more details about this in the months to come.

Without further ado, here is our new TCAF Executive Team:

Executive Director: Miles Baker
Production Manager: Pip Bradford
Marketing & Communications Manager: Cali Platek
Programming & Partnership Officers: Faduma Gure and Irene Velentzas
Production Coordinators: Jalen Innis and Pedro Salinas
Marketing Coordinator: Terrence Abrahams

TCAF 2021 Call for Programming

What do YOU want to see at #TCAF2021?

Every year, we offer over 100 hours of programming related to comics, graphic novels, manga, and more. Although this year’s festival will look a little different (totally virtual), we’ll still be including all of the regular programs you’ve come to know and love, including panels, lectures, readings, workshops, interviews, roundtables, and live drawings — and we’re open to new ideas, too!

While we work with authors and publishers to generate ideas for these programs, we’re also interested in suggestions from the larger comics industry and community. TCAF has multiple streams of programming, including:

• Readings, panel discussions, interviews, and other presentations
• Academic paper roundtables and presentations
• Libraries & Education programming
• Programming for kids and teens
• Word Balloon Academy (Skills Building for Creators)

Click here for more information, and to fill out the Call for Programming by March 12th, 2021!

Announcing TCAF 2021!

After a challenging year, we’re so excited to announce the Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) is back — with a virtual twist! Free of the shackles of corporeal existence, TCAF’s marketplace will have more days than ever before, and include a week of on-demand programming. Comic and art lovers can visit TCAF 2021 online any time between May 8-15, 2021, to peruse and shop hundreds of exhibitors’ amazing works, sit in on classic Q&As, workshops, talks, and so much more! 

Our new exhibition website is being made in partnership with Canzine (the festival of zines) and the Toronto Hand Eye Society. Zinesters and indie video game creators will be among our 600 virtual exhibitors in May.

If you want to exhibit at TCAF 2021, fill out this form by March 3, 2021: CLICK HERE TO APPLY

The TCAF 2021 application period is now closed! Thank you to everyone who applied!

Applicants will have the choice to apply for TCAF, Canzine OR Comics x Games. Accepted exhibitors will have a customizable online shop page where they can upload up to 5 items for sale. After TCAF, exhibitors will send all sold items to a warehouse, where orders will be bundled and shipped off to shoppers. This process is to help save exhibitors and visitors excess transaction and shipping fees. There will be options to include additional products.

More details will come on Twitter @torontocomics, on our website at www.torontocomics.com, and at canzine.ca.

 

FAQ

❥ When and where is TCAF?

The Toronto Comic Arts Festival 2021 will take place virtually May 8-15, 2021.

❥ Do I need to live in Toronto to take part?

Nope. International exhibitors are welcome!

❥ So, how does this work for me?

If accepted, you will have an online profile store page along with hundreds of other cartoonists in a shared marketplace. After the exhibition is closed, we will send you a report of all the items you’ve sold and you will ship those items to a centralized location. From there, our third-party warehouse will ship compiled orders to our happy customers.

❥ Why the additional item fees?

The additional fees will cover the costs of shipping, handling, and transactions. To save costs for exhibitors and visitors, shipping will be handled by a third-party warehouse. After the event, exhibitors will send all of their sold items to the warehouse to mail out to shoppers. This will save exhibitors and visitors quite a bit on shipping costs; however, this service comes with associated costs, hence the fees for additional items. 

❥ Why the different registration costs between TCAF and Canzine?

The different registration costs reflect the difference in products and audiences. TCAF exhibitors sell (relatively) higher-priced items that are heavier (e.g. books) and tend to sell at higher volumes. Canzine exhibitors sell low-cost items (e.g. 16-page zine) that are lighter and tend to sell at lower volumes.

❥ I was accepted to TCAF in 2020 but didn’t get to exhibit because of the pandemic. You said we’d be at the next TCAF? What’s the deal?

If you were accepted to TCAF in 2020, you can either defer to this year or defer to 2022. If you apply to TCAF 2021, we will assume that you are taking your deferral to this year. Please include that you were accepted into TCAF 2020 in the “Anything else we should know?” section.

❥ How do I defer to 2022?

If you’d like to defer to 2022, you do not need to take any actions at this time. You will simply need to fill out an application for 2022 when those go live next year.

❥ How do collectives and publishers apply?

Unlike past years, we are asking for a single application from collectives and publishers. If you’re a collective, please include a list of all members of your application. If you’re a publisher, please include authors you are planning on featuring with your application.

If you have additional questions, please email registration@torontocomics.com.

Update to the Comics Community Regarding COVID-19 from TCAF and VanCAF

Update to the Comics Community Regarding COVID-19 from TCAF and VanCAF

In the months leading up to the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, including Comics X Games in partnership with Hand Eye Society (May 8-10) and the Vancouver Comic Arts Festival (May 16-17), we wanted to update you on our plans. 

At this point, both festivals will be moving forward, with enhanced cleaning procedures at venues, and additional cleaning/sanitizing materials made available to exhibitors and the public. 

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The Toronto Comic Arts Festival is looking for a Volunteer Coordinator!

The Toronto Comic Arts Festival is looking for an enthusiastic individual to help recruit and coordinate a team of approximately 250+ volunteers. The Festival attracts 25,000 attendees per year across multiple downtown Toronto venues in early May. The Assistant Volunteer Coordinator will work with the Volunteer Coordinators to help provide support for some of the best volunteers in the industry! (It’s true! We get compliments on our volunteers all the time!). 

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