Breaking down the barriers to the arts

Breaking down the barriers to the arts

By Stephen Cashman


To remain relevant to the communities they serve, arts organisations need to change – or they will die. This article examines a range of barriers to arts involvement, including marketing which might itself create barriers. It concludes that both organisational and social change are needed.

Organisational culture is an important factor in determining whether an organisation is socially inclusive. Culture is about the organisation’s shared values – the things people believe and assume, and the mental models they use to make sense of the world. In short, ‘the way we do things around here’. Culture is learned. It’s determined by the organisation’s history; it’s partly subconscious; and it’s heterogeneous. It is also evident through the symbols we use, and the group behaviours that take place. These are the overt, outward signs of organisational culture. But hidden beneath them are underlying beliefs and assumptions, and ‘the way we see things is determined by what we know or what we believe’ (John Berger, 1984).

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Barriers Inclusion Strategy
Resource type: | Published: 2013