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New report shows lack of diversity in arts sector leadership roles

A new report launched today by Diversity Arts Australia has found culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) Australians are underrepresented in arts sector leadership roles.

The report, titled Shifting the Balance: Cultural Diversity in Leadership with the Australian Arts, Screen and Creative Sectors, is based on research by Diversity Arts Australia, Western Sydney University and BYP Group. It examines the diversity of board members, management and other leadership roles at 200 of Australia’s leading arts organisations.

CALD Australians were found to be under-represented across every leadership role in every cultural sector, organisational type and jurisdiction. Despite making up 39% of the wider community, CALD Australians hold only nine percent of board roles, 10% of leadership roles, 12% of executive staff roles and 10% of judging roles. More than half of the organisations surveyed had no CALD representation among their board members, award panels and executives.

Forty-three organisations from the literature and publishing sector were surveyed, including major journals, festivals, service bodies, literary awards and publishers. Out of the sectors surveyed, it had the highest representation of CALD leaders at 14%, and the most organisations with CALD representation in leadership roles (63%). However, CALD Australians are still underrepresented in the literature and publishing sector, with about one in three (37%) of the organisations surveyed having no CALD leaders.

BYP Group researcher and principal Jackie Bailey said the report provides ‘a much needed reality check’. ‘Australia’s cultural leaders have expressed support for diversity, but Shifting the Balance shows that we need real action if our cultural sector is to genuinely represent us,’ said Bailey.

Diversity Arts Australia executive director Lena Nahlous said the project’s aim is to inform creative sector organisations so they ‘will be better able to identify and address barriers to inclusion by people with CALD backgrounds’.

The report recommends a series of steps for cultural organisations, government agencies and investors to support change, including committing to minimum diversity standards and targets to achieve equitable CALD representation by 2024, monitoring and reporting on changes, promoting inclusion through meaningful organisational change, providing mentorships for CALD Australians to participate in leadership, connecting CALD practitioners through international collaborations, and researching barriers to inclusion and participation.


Category: Local news