Are you toilets accessible and safe for all genders? Is your venue accessible to all types of bodies and abilities? Do people know who they can talk to if they feel unsafe? Are your staff trained in areas of gender diversity and cultural competency?
These are a few questions we should be asking ourselves when programming festivals, shows, conferences… any event, actually.
We asked Bethany Atkinson-Quinton (radio producer and presenter, PBS), MzRizk (DJ/Event Curator/Radio presenter), and Sabrina Robertson (Maths & Magic/Native Tongue Publishing) for their ideas to consider to ensure inclusive programming.
I think if festivals, organisations and venues are serious about making their programming inclusive then they need to be very active in their approach.
Reflect on who is currently in your festival lineup/organisation/venue, keep stats, put your commitment to improving gender diversity and representation in your strategic plan and measure your progress. People need to be critical of how they operate and how inclusive they are being. Who are the people willing to walk through your doors and be a part of community and who aren’t and why aren’t they?
Important questions to ask are: are you toilets accessible and safe for all genders? Is your venue accessible to all types of bodies and abilities? Do people know who they can talk to if they feel unsafe? Are your staff trained in areas of gender diversity and cultural competency? Are you consulting with the traditional custodians of the land on which your festival/organisation/venue sits? How have you worked with the traditional custodians to recognise the place on which you gather? Is it written into your policy?
Never assume someone’s gender, ask people what pronouns they use.
Engaging with people and communities that don’t already engage with your venture is a long process of self-reflection and actively working with people and communities. It’s about listening to what people want, it’s about creating genuine relationships and trust.
Stop booking your friends or acts connected with your friends if the acts do not suit the event or support slot. The politics in the industry are obvious and acts more suitable miss out.
Step outside your circle and look for acts in places you wouldn’t usually attend. Not sure where to go? Ask someone.
Racism and sexism are rampant in our industry. This requires us to listen and not just agree with the minorities and then continue doing the same thing. A change is required and we can all do better.
Listen to community radio where lots of presenters push local acts constantly.
Stop putting ATSI (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) artists on the smaller stages as a token. There are main stages and there is room.