On diversity

by Jini Stolk

We all read Joseph Recinos’ Where are the Minority Voices in Theatre. I know we did.

Here are some thoughts I think are relevant:

  1. Vu Le finds recent stats on diversity in nonprofit leadership in the States (only 8% of board members are people of color; nearly a third of nonprofit boards don’t have a single board member of color; only 7% of CEO/EDs are people of color; only 18% of nonprofit staff are people of color; only 5% of philanthropic orgs are led by people of color) to be alarming. He argues, with all his normal passion and persuasiveness, that the solution is not to increase the demand for diverse leaders, but to increase the supply. He says we should be increasing funding of communities-of-color led nonprofits; supporting pipeline programs bringing leaders of color into the field; funding leadership programs specifically targeting leaders of color; supporting up-and-coming leaders of color; changing hiring policies and practices; and changing inequitable nonprofit dynamics, especially funding dynamics.
  2. In England, a debate on Class, Race, and Classical Music (although I would argue that this discussion should not be limited to the classical music field) tackled the idea of who classical music is for, why we think it’s important for the whole of society to have access to it, and what the institutions of music education and musical excellence can do to become part of people’s lives who wouldn’t otherwise have access or opportunity to be involved. According to Tom Service in The Guardian, “the debate felt to me like the start of a big and essential discussion…, cutting to the core of the values and motivations of music education in general, and throwing up challenging questions for the future.”
  3. Alan Brown, in this short piece, wonders why so few artists are to be found at national (mostly U.S. and U.K.) arts conferences, and argues that bringing artists into the center of discourse on critical issues facing the sector is one of the few hopes we have for solving real problems. “Their voice is sorely missing in the breakout sessions and hallway conversations that shape the field. What is the point of talking about topics like audience growth and creative health without artistic decision-makers in the conversation? Too many panel discussions are one-sided debates — an endless loop of talking about change without change agents in the room.”


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