A huge benefit of the Audience Diversity Academy has been having the opportunity to hear from a wealth of speakers –both in the workshops and during the Inclusivity and Audiences Day –all of whom have provided interesting provocations or approaches to instigating change.
In ‘Communicating Challenging Topics’, Kat Francois talked about ‘Making sure you have a wide circle/wider opinion’, which seems obvious, but sometimes it is easy to stick to what you know, particularly if we don’t always want to be the person who speaks up.
However, as Kat discussed it is important to consider ‘who will benefit from challenging bias in the workplace - opting out of speaking out is the definition of privilege.’ Having more people-more voices-in the circle, will help to disrupt the natural/unintended unconscious bias which occurs in many organisations.
Stella Kanu, Executive Director of LIFT Festival, talked about the fact ‘Anyone in the room can have the breakthrough idea’ – allowing the decision-making process to be a shared activity. Sometimes it is also about working cross sector towards a common purpose, instead of working in isolation to one another within an industry, if ultimately,we are all trying to do the same thing. Finding a co-conspirator can support that change to happen.
Listening to Richard Loftus from Town Hall Symphony Hall speak about what we can do within our roles to allow change, was incredibly useful in dismantling the notion of a ‘hierarchy of influence’. He allowed us to identifythat we each have a level of responsibility or permission that we can harness to advocate for and bring about change–which is an important reminder that everyone plays a part within an organisation, and more so if you are a small team–your influence shouldn’t be underestimated.
The biggest learning from all of this has been to recognise that change takes time, and we should work from a point of strength. What do we have? Not what don’t we have? Not thinking that we are starting from a place of lack.
If we recognisewhat everyone in the company can already bring to the table; then it is crucial to identify who we need to bring to that table in order to increase our exposure to bias and diversify our offer.
Sarah Isaacs (Administrator and Digital Lead) at China Plate