Smriti Bansal is an author, editor, and communications professional from New Delhi, India. Upon moving to Montréal, she began building her profile within the local artistic community as a Communications Intern for the Fringe festival, an opportunity which then led her to the position of Digital Content Manager at Confabulation. Now a Producer for the celebrated company’s true-life storytelling series, her contributions to the creative landscape have involved providing platforms for unheard voices across Canada.

With the craft of storytelling at the centre of the work, Smriti reflects on the narratives that most inspire and interest her. “There isn’t one particular type of story that I like hearing or seeing, and that’s the beauty of what we do at Confabulation,” she begins. “We believe that everyone is a storyteller. All you really need is something or someone to empower you to connect to the storyteller that’s already inside of you.”

Although diversity is inherent to True Life Storytelling, current world events around Black Lives Matter and anti-racism protests have led the producer and her company to a deeper reflection on their practices. “Right now we’re talking about the many ways in which we can evolve to be even more inclusive,” she shares. “Whether that means inviting new artists onto our stages, finding different organizational partners in the city, reaching out to specific groups, or diversifying the talents within our own team, we want to be accountable to our community. We’re listening and processing all that we’re learning at this time so that the action that comes out of this is thoughtful.”

Individually, “this moment has made me consider what I can do as an ally and how I can make contributing to my community a regular part of my life. What’s happening now in the news has been going on for hundreds of years – this isn’t and shouldn’t be a trend. I think the best thing that will emerge from this is that people will realize the pain that others experience on a daily basis and make changes to positively impact that”.

On her hopes for the future of the arts community as it rebuilds: “It sounds cliché, but I would like to see more people that look like me,” Smriti reveals. “It would be beautiful to see more South Asians making art and seeing the world that I live in reflected in the arts here. I’d also really love to see more Indigenous voices be spotlighted. The Fringe does a great job of promoting diversity in that way, but I still find the community in Montréal to be quite homogenous. It could do with a bit more colour. We’d learn so much more about each other.”

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