Aimee Wood, Arts Communications Officer at Leeds Town Hall and Florence Fawcett, Programmer at Leeds International Concert season reflect on Inclusivity and Audiences Day as part of their joint fellowship at the Audience Diversity Academy.
Where to begin? Honestly, we’re still feeling dazzled by all the amazing, thought provoking speakers at the AMA Inclusivity Day in Birmingham last week. It felt SO good to meet lots of like-minded, friendly people, and equally as importantly, to get out of our little Leeds bubble. This is one of the busiest times of the year for us, so frustratingly we haven’t had time to really let that whole day of eye-opening truths really sink in. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with so many new ideas and things to consider that we hadn’t thought of before, so with so little time to devote to this - our most important endeavour - where do we begin? How do we begin?
We think that being self-aware is a good place to start. If we’re not aware of our language, for example, or of how it might reach different people in different ways, then how are we ever to improve it? As we keep diversity and inclusion in the forefront of our minds whilst we continue with our daily (yet joyfully musical!) grind, we begin to see small adjustments we can make in the everyday.
Our recent workshop with poet Kat Francois gave us the chance to really reflect on ourselves as individuals as well as organisations. A detailed breakdown of unconscious bias was enlightening - being aware of this could have great repercussions, whether it comes from us or from elsewhere. Kat’s breakdown of why we avoid challenging topics or conversations also gave us courage to start to vocalise our ideas for the future, and to begin conversations and to widen them at the same time. So we’re going to continue to work scrappy with bitesize manageable chunks, and just keep chipping away. Sort of how we’re going to approach this tablet of chocolate.