GTG Blog: Continuing the work of making the Arts diverse and inclusive, by Esther Andare


I hope you all had a restful holiday period and are adjusting to being back at work, albeit working from home. Last year we hosted three online sessions, one for individuals and two for organisations; each session focused on a different aspect of diversity and inclusion within the arts.

I wrote a summary of the first session and the problems using the term BAME and how it is damaging, particularly when attempting to increase diversity and inclusion. The discussion then turned to the active steps that galleries and organisations to make people of colour feel more welcomed in their spaces.

The second and third sessions featured guest speakers who touched upon several points on improving diversity which I also summarised in a previous blog. The overarching message from the two sessions was that making their organisation diverse is something all organisations should and can work towards; even the smallest step is one in the right direction.

Many important points were highlighted in the first three sessions, which we hope to expand and build upon in the final three sessions. The next three sessions will take a new outlook on diversity and inclusion within the arts, through a Northern Irish context. What became apparent from our sessions is that Northern Ireland is in a unique position compared to the rest of the UK. In terms of the progression of diversity, it is too simple to look at existing models within mainland UK or elsewhere and attempt to implement the in NI without taking into account the complexities of NI. 

So, we have a line-up of excellent people who work within and around the arts all from the island of Ireland for the remaining three sessions, starting with the fantastic Cuthbert ‘Tura’ Arutura on Thursday 28th Jan!

The goal of these sessions is to continue to facilitate meaningful conversations about diversity and inclusion that are needed within the sector. The session will hopefully provide an open space for organisations to talk to individuals about their needs and what they, as an audience, would like to see improved to make them feel more welcomed in these spaces.

Looking forward to seeing you all there!

GTG Diversity sessions and our New Needs internship are supported by Community Foundation NI.