How can we address inequalities of representation in the cultural workforce and specifically in cultural and arts leadership?
Working with Professor Jenny Phillimore at University of Birmingham, Dr Karen Patel and I were commissioned to investigate existing data on Cultural Leadership and Diversity in the West Midlands. The study has been produced as part of our research at Birmingham Centre for Cultural and Media Research (BCMCR) will contribute to a wider study investigating diversity and leadership across a range of industries, in the region.
We have made key findings and our recommendations available here. We offer original findings on the diversity of leadership based on our analysis of ACE National Portfolio Organisations (NPOs) in the West Midlands. We highlight areas which need further research and policy attention in relation to cultural leadership, and offer a working definition of cultural leadership. Our research highlights the significance of freelancers and cultural entrepreneurs in the sector, creating complexity in how we view leadership training and opportunities. We also draw attention to good practice in the region, specifically to projects such as RE:Present16 and ASTONish.
Some thoughts on ‘diversity’ and recent debates.
I recently completed an evaluation of RE:Present, a very successful programme which focused on developing the skills and knowledge of 35 diverse cultural leaders in Birmingham. As a result of that work, I can’t stop thinking about the term ‘diversity’ and whether it is helpful or not. Continue reading Diversity, Superdiversity, Decolonise not Diversify
Since March 2016 I have been involved in the evaluation of the RE:Present programme, a new initiative aimed at emergent and established cultural leaders/ producers and artist/leaders from diverse backgrounds who are currently underrepresented in Birmingham. Continue reading RE:Present Symposium: Cultural Leadership & Diversity
As part of my role as a researcher at Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Studies, I was recently invited to evaluate Re:Present, a new programme of activities which seeks to transform the diversity of Birmingham’s cultural leadership. As researcher / evaluator my focus will be twofold: the individual participants’ experience and the significance of the programme in relation to Birmingham’s cultural ecology.
Created and delivered by Helga Henry of Creative Shift and Lara Ratnaraja, Re:Present is funded by Birmingham City Council and Arts Council England, with the additional support of University of Birmingham, Birmingham City University and Aston Business School. But Re:Present is also best described as a very personal project for Lara and Helga. Having worked with Birmingham’s cultural industries for over 15 years, they have witnessed significant changes in the cultural landscape during that period of time. Re:Present was created in response to their concerns and what they perceive as a lack of opportunities for individuals from ‘diverse’ backgrounds. I will explore the idea of ‘diversity’ in future posts but for this first blog post, I describe the context for this initiative. Continue reading Diversity and Cultural Leadership