New Feeling is committed to providing a supportive platform where Canadian music writers and community can feel at home, learn from one another, and uplift each other. These values guide cooperative-wide decision making, as well as individual and collective behaviour, and are invoked throughout the processes outlined in New Feeling’s Bylaws.
Our values are grouped into five overarching pillars: redistributing power, transparency, community, accountability, and care. Each pillar is defined, and examples of what the co-op is currently doing in support of those pillars are provided. These values are meant to be iteratively built upon as the cooperative grows.
What we mean:
The multi-stakeholder cooperative model affords us the ability to own the work that we produce, allowing us to share power and control equally among creators.
As owners of our own cooperative, we forge our own paths and only answer to ourselves and our community, giving us a novel opportunity to think about power, who has it, and how it can be shared equitably.
We are cognizant that our model cannot completely address informal power structures present among group members. Members hold varying lived experiences that cannot be ignored. However, we hope that naming and defining power – formal and informal – can help to expose and remedy underlying dynamics.
- Utilizing a democratic ownership and decision making through a cooperative model, including Annual General Meetings;
- Organizing ourselves through a horizontal structure and rotating out of elected leadership roles quarterly;
- Sharing resources, knowledge and opportunities with one another across levels of experience;
- Supporting power redistribution through the development of a cooperative membership structure that allows for community decision making;
- Providing mentorship opportunities and workshops.
What we mean:
Being open and honest about how we operate at every level, whether it’s our values, how we make decisions, who’s making them, or how much someone was compensated for that work. We are striving to make sure that information is easily accessible to not only our membership but the public.
We acknowledge that transparency is an active process and requires us to commit to managing feedback and dialogue in a responsible way.
- Sharing updates about the cooperative and its development through our social media and our editorial content;
- Opening board membership to each membership class;
- Offering avenues for feedback through our social media and on our website’s ‘Get in Touch’ page;
- Developing methods by which comments and concerns can be made publicly available;
- Discussing comments and concerns at AGMs and Board Meetings.
What we mean:
Seeing our struggle as writers as a part of a broader class-based movement. As a cooperative, New Feeling might be trying to work outside of the dominant structures of the global media landscape – but that doesn’t mean we think we’re an island. We recognize that we are just one part of a larger interconnected system, and that we will not succeed in our mission until everyone’s needs are met.
Importantly, New Feeling envisions its membership to grow to include musicians, community members, and writers alike to create links between projects, initiatives, and perspectives within and beyond music media.
- Pursuing writing that can help uplift or shine a light on causes that resonate within the world of music but also beyond it;
- Covering the Canadian music scene with the intention of promoting its sustainability and building connections within it across styles and sounds;
- Amplifying causes through our social media;
- Forging relationships with like-minded organizations;
- Providing or amplifying political education / consciousness opportunities through membership events and social media.
What we mean:
Accountability is built into each of the values listed above in that they seek to broadly establish New Feeling’s responsibility for its actions as an organization. New Feeling will, as reflected in our bylaws, incorporate self-reflection into its processes and procedures. It considers every opportunity as one to grow and learn from and sees itself accountable to both its membership and the wider Canadian music community.
- Formed an external Steering Committee to advise on the development of all foundational documents and processes;
- Promoting transparency in its actions, including the creation of avenues for feedback from the public;
- Built self-reflection into our editorial processes, with monthly periods of reflection after publishing an issue and critical thinking guides;
- Creating a Board of Directors that will meet to assess whether New Feeling is meeting its goals as a cooperative.
What we mean:
Choosing to organize collectively is a way for us to resist the status quo imposed by both technology and our industry – dividing and isolating writers and the music community at large through precarity and competition. For us, care is an essential component of that resistance, and is a direct result of recognizing our own interdependence.
Member-to-member care encompasses seeing to the emotional wellbeing of others, mobilizing collectively to share power and resources, as well as the thoughtful, deliberate and sensitive way we aim to approach our storytelling. It is a key component to our ability to effectively build a democratic organization and community.
- Created a conflict resolution policy;
- Developed a member code of conduct;
- Developing a buddy system to connect and allow for sharing care labour amongst organizing members;
- Appointing an organizing member with the role of “public editor,” to liaise between our Care and Editorial working groups.