Recognizing and Dismantling Inequitable Default Systems

Saturday, June 15, 1:45 pm - 3:00 pm

Systems, by and large, do a great job of fulfilling the goal they were built for--so if you're experiencing an inequitable outcome, it's likely because your organization's default systems are inequitable. These inequities can be almost impossible to see and are difficult to dismantle. So how do you do it?

Learning Objectives:

  1. Hear how to search for and identify default systems that advantage privileged groups within your organization.
  2. Discuss tips for bringing systemic issues up and for building momentum to change them.
  3. Talk about some of the primary default assumptions of the non-profit model, the grantmaking model, and other core ways of working that are built on inequitable systems.


Margie Johnson Reese
Executive Director
Wichita Fall Alliance for Arts and Culture
Wichita Falls, Texas

Margie Johnson Reese has a 35-year portfolio as an arts advocate and arts management professional. She received a BA from Washington State University in Pullman, Washington and an MFA in Theater from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. She recently relocated to Wichita Falls, Texas to create The Wichita Falls Alliance for Arts and Culture, a new local arts agency grounded in policies and practices that advance inclusion and pubic participation in the arts.

Margie has served as Director of the Office of Cultural Affairs for the City of Dallas and General Manager for the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs. Margie’s expertise as a grantmaker was tapped by the Ford Foundation to advance cultural projects in West Africa. Based in Lagos, Nigeria, her 3-year appointment centered on cultural policy development and conservation of West Africa’s tangible and intangible cultural heritage.

Following her service in West Africa, Margie returned to Dallas and took the position of Vice President for Programs at Big Thought, an arts learning organization.

Rebecca Kinslow
Community & Organizational Development Director
Metro Arts/Nashville's Office of Arts & Culture
Nashville, Tennessee

Rebecca Kinslow is the Community & Organizational Development Director and a member of the executive leadership team for Metro Arts, Nashville’s Office of Arts & Culture. With over 20 years of experience as an arts leader, she has specialized in event-planning, marketing, community development, grantmaking, program management and organizational development in the non-profit, higher education and government sectors. 

Kinslow leads the development, strategic planning and oversight of programs, partnerships and financial investments designed to support stronger arts & cultural organizations in Nashville. She oversees a $2.5 million annual public grant investment program, cultural and racial equity strategy, community arts programming and a wide network of local and national partnerships that expand the mission of Metro Arts to drive a vibrant and equitable community through the arts.  She holds an Executive Certificate in Arts & Cultural Strategy and a M.S. in Nonprofit Leadership from University of Pennsylvania. She serves on Americans for the Arts’ County Arts Network and Equitable Investments Advisory Committee, the Create Justice Network Peer Learning Action Group, the Program Advisory Committee for the Arts & Business Council of Greater Nashville and the Government Alliance for Racial Equity Arts Workgroup.

Nayantara Sen
Cultural Strategist
Race Forward
Oakland, California

Nayantara Sen is an activist, cultural strategist, oral historian, and racial justice educator and trainer. She is the Manager of Cultural Strategies and a Senior Trainer at Race Forward: The Center for Racial Justice Innovation. At Race Forward, she produces curricula, facilitates racial justice workshops to support arts and movement organizations, develops narrative and cultural strategies for racial equity, and organizes the arts sector nationally. She is the Program Designer and Manager of the Racial Equity in the Arts Innovation Lab in New York City, which provides 60 arts organizations with an intensive bootcamp for racial equity strategies and practice.

Nayantara is also the Principal at Art/Work Practice (AWP), a consultancy that helps individuals, organizations and companies use arts-integrated practices to shift cultures towards equity. Previously, she worked in arts administration in historical societies, independent film, and community theater. She was the Program Manager at Crossing Borders, Bridging Generations, an oral history program that explores histories of mixed-race families in New York, and the Community Programs Producer and Curator of the Foundry Theatre Dialogues.

Randy Engstrom
Seattle Office of Arts & Culture
Seattle, Washington

Randy Engstrom has been a passionate advocate and organizer of cultural and community development for over 15 years.  He is currently the Director of the Office of Arts and Culture for the City of Seattle. As Director of the Office, he has expanded their investments in granting programs and Public Art, while establishing new programs and policies in arts education, cultural space affordability, and racial equity. Most recently he owned and operated Reflex Strategies, a cultural and community based consulting business that worked with foundations, non-profits, and local government. He served as Chair of the Seattle Arts Commission in 2011 after serving 2 years as Vice-Chair. Previously he served as the Founding Director of the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, a multimedia/multidisciplinary community space that offers youth and community member’s access to arts, technology, and cultural resources ( In 2009 Randy received the Emerging Leader Award from Americans for the Arts and was one of Puget Sound Business Journal’s 40 Under 40. He is a graduate of the Evergreen State College in Olympia, and he received his Executive Masters in Public Administration at the University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Affairs.