Cultural diversity
A straitjacket for the arts?
Sunday 28 October, 12.45pm until 1.45pm, Henry Moore Gallery Lunchtime Debates

Cultural diversity policies are booming in the arts. Former culture minister David Lammy pressured national museums and galleries to set targets for ‘Black and Minority Ethnic’ staff; the Arts Council, Museums and Libraries Association and others all promote cultural diversity initatives. The idea is that these help artists and practioners get a much-needed foot in the door. However a number of recent studies have been highly critical of such schemes, arguing that they pigeonhole non-white artists; engaging with them on the basis of their ethnicity rather than their work, and that this creates a cultural apartheid by separating them from the mainstream. Are these criticisms valid, or is it still necessary to take steps to encourage and develop talent from under-represented communities?

 Speakers

Sonya Dyer
artist and arts consultant; author, Boxed In: How Cultural Diversity Policies Constrict Black Artists
Naseem Khan OBE
journalist and broadcaster; former head of diversity, Arts Council; author, The Art Britain Ignores
Andrew Brighton
writer and painter; contributing editor, Critical Quarterly; former senior curator for public programmes, Tate Modern
Chair:
Dr Tiffany Jenkins
writer and broadcaster; author, Keeping Their Marbles: how treasures of the past ended up in museums and why they should stay there

 Produced by

Dr Tiffany Jenkins writer and broadcaster; author, Keeping Their Marbles: how treasures of the past ended up in museums and why they should stay there

Diversity policies and the arts - what's next?, Sonya Dyer

 Recommended readings

Boxed in: How cultural diversity policies restrict black artists
‘The official promotion of difference is not helping black and minority ethnic people enter the mainstream as equals but instead is keeping them at the margins’
Sonya Dyer, Manifesto Club, 2007

The arts Britain ignores
Written at a time when the work of many first generation immigrant artists was being eschewed, this paper went on to have an enormous effect on arts policy throughout the 80s and beyond
Naseem Khan, Community Relations Commision, 1975

The nature of the beast: cultural diversity policies and the visual arts sector
‘Since the 1970s, cultural diversity initiatives within the visual arts sector have arguably exacerbated rather than confronted exclusionary pathologies of the art world’
Richard Hylton, Institute of Contemporary Interdisciplinary Arts, 2006

recommended by spiked

‘Can’t non-white people ever just make art?’
Nathalie Rothschild, 21 May 2007

Diversity is divisive
Munira Mirza, 22 November 2006

The 'disorganised apartheid' of cultural diversity
Tiffany Jenkins, 30 April 2007

Session partners