#TeacherFeature: Equity Engineer Roque Diaz

Welcome back to #TeacherFeature! Every Wednesday this month I’ll be highlight the work and career of one of my favorite educators and talking about how they’ve influenced my career and teaching philosophy.

Please welcome to the blog my good friend, colleague, sometime boss, trumpet maverick, composer, and overall champion for equity in the arts, Roque Diaz!

he hasn’t won an Oscar yet but stay tuned

I met Roque in 2016 when we were both starting our doctoral programs at the U (he’s still there, about to take his exams, as he has more academic fortitude than I). Over the course of our friendship we’ve collaborated on musical projects (The Satellites), administered free lessons programs (MN Brass’s educational grant for the students of Brooklyn Center High School), and talked  tangible ways to make our big dreams of creating arts learning and community that provides resources for all.

From his bio:

Roque Diaz is an avid scholar, educator, musician, composer, creator, music director, and is currently pursuing a PhD in Music Education and Creative Studies and Media at the University of Minnesota. Roque recently presented “Policies that Matter: Creating a Voice through Policy Awareness for Music Teacher Educators”, at the 2017 Society for Music Teacher Educators Conference in Minneapolis, MN. He will be presenting his next research “Embedding Diversity: A Case Study of the Artistic Citizenship Practices of a Regional Arts Council”, at the 2018 Reflective Conservatoire Conference in London, England. Roque’s research interests are in creating a body movement and awareness curriculum for the marching arts, arts education policy, and embedding diversity and strengthening equity and inclusion into the arts.

Roque is in the process of forming an international arts organization that is dedicated to making the arts a viable career choice whose mission is to provide consistent and sustainable employment to all diverse artists.

What I love about Roque the educator is his commitment to seeing arts establishments and academic institutions rapidly evolve for a future of inclusive, representational learning and performance. He wants to see everyone have access, and see themselves and their culture reflected in the art they are experiencing.

This often means tough conversations in collegiate and non-profit settings where Western European, white, and male viewpoints have long dominated, but Roque is not one to back down from a challenge. Together we worked very hard to get POC and/or women in the teaching positions at BCHS. He’ll begin work at MacPhail Center for Music in June of this year, directing and developing their diversity initiatives to bring more of the Cities within range of accessible music education.

I’ve learned so much from Roque. He’s given me the language I need to describe my educational goals, supplied me with resources that further my work, and frequently been a friendly ear for my frustrations and concerns about the music industry. I know that his future as an arts entrepreneur and innovate educator is just beginning, so I’m excited to see what he can do…and what we can all do together.

Check out Roque’s academic writing and join his conversation about the future of creative artistry and stay tuned for more.

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