Meet Growing Room’s first festival director, Arielle Spence
Meet Arielle Spence, a queer, nonbinary aspiring writer and arts administrator originally from Coldstream, B.C. (unceded Okanagan Territory). In 2017, they were the festival director of Growing Room, Room’s inaugural feminist literary festival.
You’ve worked in various roles at literary events, including being the festival director of the 2017 Growing Room Literary Festival. What pulls you toward roles existing at the intersection of art and community? As the researcher Brené Brown says, “[humans] are hardwired to connect with others.” I truly believe that. Since I was little, I’ve been endeavouring to facilitate connections through art. Writing and art mean so much to me, and it is such a privilege to help bring people together by highlighting the works of talented creators.
What do you think are important qualities for event organizers and coordinators? I’ve learned that event organizers need flexibility and an open heart. I am a Type A personality, so being hyper-organized and deadline driven come naturally. However, this will only take you so far. Becoming an effective listener, trusting others, and accepting criticism have been difficult lessons to learn, but I think they’re key to presenting events that are well run and fulfill the needs of a community.
What are your favourite works with bisexual and/or genderqueer characters? Because there is a scarcity of bi and/or genderqueer characters in most media, I tend to imagine most characters as bi. However, in the past year, I really enjoyed Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman and the animated series Legend of Korra, and I cheered out loud when it was revealed that Rosa Diaz was bi on Brooklyn Nine-Nine. I’m excited to read Mask of Shadows, a YA fantasy novel by Linsey Miller, which features a bisexual, gender fluid protagonist. I fully expect to cry with joy the entire time I read it.