The latest Census statistics paint a picture of Australia that many of us already see on our streets - almost half of Australia's population are first or second-generation migrants. But we don't see this diversity when we go to the theatre, or visit an art gallery, or even when we watch TV at home. So what does it feel like if your culture is largely invisible? In this original podcast series by Diversity Arts Australia, we'll ask this question of some of Australia's leading culturally diverse artists and arts workers. We'll look at what's working and explore ways to increase diversity so our arts and screens look like the real Australia.
The Politics of Intersectionality
Intersectionality can mean different things for different people and can be applied across a range of settings and in different ways it enables us to understand identity as a complex multi-dimensional category but it can also be an approach to the way we move and work in the world.
And as a practice it provides a foundation for working critically, sensitively and with nuance in the arts.
This panel: Eugenia Flynn, Creative Producer of the Fair Play Symposium; Azizeh Astaneh, a visual artist, graphic designer and founding president of Melbourne Artists for Asylum Seekers; Dominic Golding, an artist and a community worker who has worked with refugees, migrants, and people with disability; Peter Waples Crowe, a Ngarigo queer visual and performing artist, and Aboriginal Health worker; and Jax Jacki Brown, disability and LGBTIQ+ rights activist and Publishability Project Officer at Writers Victoria.
Learning from each other
Genuine diverse leadership has the potential for the audiences who are engaging with culture to see themselves, their narratives and histories, reflected in what they see and experience. This panel discussion includes arts leaders from the UK and Australia who participated in the inaugural year of the INTERSECT program. INTERSECT is a joint British Council and Diversity Arts Australia knowledge exchange that aims to strengthen international collaboration and connections between diverse and indigenous arts leaders in both countries.
Learning from Frida
In 2014 Caroline Bowditch premiered a dance theatre performance called "Falling in Love with Frida" with both disabled and non-disabled performers, and sign language interpretation embedded at its centre, the award-winning and critically acclaimed piece was shown 93 times to sold-out audiences across the UK and internationally. In this keynote address, Executive Director of Arts Access Victoria Caroline Bowditch performs a monologue from this piece and then talks about her obsession with Frida Kahlo. She also talks about why it's important to reclaim Frida Kahlo as a disabled artist, and why her work doesn't focus on accepted mainstream conventions.
Building Aboriginal Cultural Competency
Diversity and inclusion employment practices are often focused on recruitment, but not on retention. Promoting cultural competency in the creative sector is a step towards creating safe spaces that foster and encourage equity. In his keynote at the Fair Play symposium, Rob Hyatt from the Koorie Heritage Trust talks about the importance of identity in workplaces, and specifically addresses the arts sector in his keynote about cultural safety and inclusion.
Rob Hyatt is an Aboriginal man with ties to the Lake Tyers community and the Wotjobaluk in Western Victoria. He is the education manager of the Koorie Heritage Trust and works to foster an understanding of contemporary Aboriginal communities through an awareness of the past.
Rob explains the importance of identity and connection to Aboriginality through heart and mind. And one of the activities he uses in this training, which he also does as part of this talk is to ask the people to write where they are from on a piece of paper .. but I won't give this away. You'll have to listen to hear what happens when people return their piece of paper to him.
Take it from the top
In the creative sector, the most visible marker of power can be seen by who occupies positions of leadership, who is on the boards, who judges the awards and runs the company? Who hires? Who dispenses funds? Who signs off on the program or decides what work gets made? Speakers on arts leadership as part of the "Take it from the Top" panel at the Fair Play Symposium in Melbourne - hosted by Diversity Arts Australia.
Panelists include: Jodie Sizer, Co-CEO of Price Waterhouse Coopers Indigenous Consulting; Jeremy Smith, Director of Community, Emerging & Experimental Arts at the Australia Council for the Arts; Koraly Dimitriadis Cypriot-Australian poet, writer, actor and performer; Jane Crawley, Director, Arts Investment, Creative Victoria; Michael Williams, former Director of the Wheeler Centre; Katrina Segdewick, CEO of the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) and Professor James Arvanitakis, former Chair of Diversity Arts Australia and pro Vice Chancellor of Western Sydney University.
After years of talking about diversity in the arts sector it's starting to feel like a monologue that only reaches an audience of our own communities, say Dr Paula Abood and Aseel Taya a Palestinian creative director and installation artist. Aseel says when applying for arts funding, the process is not tolerant of people from migrant backgrounds and even less accommodating for those pitching art that is deemed not "relevant" for Australian audiences. Dr Paula Abood is a writer, creative producer and educator, and a leading figure in the space for 30 years. She's calling for the entire funding regime to be restructured because currently the major organisations take the bulk of the money while the small-to-medium sector, where diversity flourishes, is left with the crumbs.
This podcast is doing such a great job of advocating for a better reflection of Australia in our media. Love your work!
Great energy, right on the zeitgeist. Finally a good insightful commentary and a strengths-based approach to diversity representation.
A timely and insightful series of national converations on diversity and inclusion - well worth a listen!