Beyond Tick Boxes: You can contribute to a more diverse arts sector

Beyond Tick Boxes (2017). Image courtesy of Diversity Arts Australia. Photo by Chris Woe.
Beyond Tick Boxes (2017). Image courtesy of Diversity Arts Australia. Photo by Chris Woe.

Paula Abood once said that ‘every system has cracks. You have to find the cracks and fill them. If you fill them with enough colour then that system falls.’

After symposiums like Beyond Tick Boxes, it is important that we don’t just keep this conversation going, but that immediate actions are established. It is also important that we reflect on what actions we can all achieve, not leave it up to others. This should include the education of the next generation of cultural leaders. As a sector (and society) we need to ensure graduates are equipped with the knowledge and skills to maintain the efforts of today’s advocates and continue their work were necessary.

So what can you do?

  • Sign up to CreateNSW’s peer register. They are aware that they need more young people and people from culturally diverse backgrounds.
  • Sit down with your local Aboriginal elders and have a yarn. Listen to their stories.
  • Expand your thinking: research and attend events/productions/exhibitions that you would not normally attend. As Beyond Tick Boxes showed, organisations in Western Sydney are leading from the front when it comes to representation of culturally diverse perspectives and stories. This is not as conditional boxes but genuine engagement.
  • Call out panels or events that lack diversity and celebrate those that are leading by example.
  • Look at your network and your circle. How diverse it is? Make an effort to engage with people who might hold different perceptions to you and have different experiences. If you can, fight the algorithm too.
  • Support Diversity Arts Australia. Support the supporters – the advocates who are gathering research, consolidating action plans and having strategic meetings with key stakeholders.

This article was first published by State of the Arts Media on September 21, 2017.

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