Diversify your local arts scene

January 14, 2021

Every day we tell and absorb stories about ourselves through the television programs, theatre productions and films we watch, the art we create and enjoy, the music we listen to. Arts are one of the key ways we shape and explore our identities, norms and values as individuals, communities and societies. A diverse arts scene can go a long way to building understanding, respect and equality in our communities.

With this in mind, who features in the stories and imagery produced within and championed by your local arts scene? If women and gender-diverse artists, creatives and characters aren’t represented equally, 2021 is the year you can get started on changing that.

This year, take action for gender equity by advocating for the diversification of your local arts scene. As arts organisations think about their programming for later in the year, get in touch with them and encourage them to seek out, program or commission work by women and gender-diverse artists – and urge them to ensure they are remunerated equally to men.

Encourage intersectional thinking in programming – both in terms of who makes decisions about programming and the content that those people settle upon. Local arts organisations might work together with local Indigenous artists, women with disabilities who make films, young women who create screenplays, culturally and linguistically diverse musicians to put together a program of truly representative artistic activities, exhibitions, festivals, concerts and project work! We have a great toolkit with some practical suggestions for encouraging gender quality in the arts.

Even if you don’t have an arts council in your community, this is your year to take responsibility for your artistic diet! Go to a feminist film festival! A book launch by an author from a diverse background! Listen to music by an Indigenous musician!

(Check out @diversityartsau on Instagram for thought-provoking podcasts, resources and even training opportunities for artistic communities that are committed to inclusion and diversity.)