Inclusivity and Diversity

Inclusivity and diversity is all about people. No one is left behind, and involvement actively sought.

It’s ensuring access and participation by a wonderful mix of people, adding value and contrast to your project and participant experience. Celebrate culture, embrace diversity, and ensure no groups of people are excluded.

Inclusivity is more than ‘stakeholder engagement’, and diversity is more than a HR policy. It’s about truly seeing and offering pathways for involvement by a wide and varied range of people.

Having a diverse group of people working together is of course hugely beneficial for any organisation, and should be encouraged and developed through your employment policy. More than policy though, this needs to be acted on, and become part of the fabric of the organisation and its culture.  Watch the terrific video above from Accenture shows the many dimensions to inclusivity and diversity in the workplace. 

Four critical steps to ensure inclusivity and diversity

To ensure that you work actively on inclusivity and diversity, build these critical steps into your planning. The below is based on project participation rather than HR policy for your organisation.1.

1. Identify stakeholders and diverse groups of people

Identify all potential stakeholders (people!) that may be relevant to your project – be they working on it, contributing to it, or experiencing it. Use numerous avenues to identify this wide range of people. Remember stakeholders are not just partners or participants, they are people that have an opinion, express concerns or may be affected by your activities. Read more about stakeholder identification in the Getting Started module of the course.

2. Identify inclusion expectations

Put your organisation, project or event ‘on the table’, and map out for each group, what type of access might be expected or should be provided. You could use the decision filter described in the stakeholder identification lesson.  Remember to actually speak to various people about their participation hopes and expectations.

3. Identify exclusion risks

For each group of people and programme/project element, identify where there is risk of exclusion, of not meeting stakeholder’s expectations and requirements, or your own organisational policies and aims regarding inclusion and diversity. Actively look for pathways for groups that could be at risk of exclusion. Again, remember to talk to those groups of people to identify appropriate and accessible pathways.

4. Take action to close the gaps

Once you know who your stakeholders are, who the diverse groups of people are that should be included, what information, access or concerns they have… then you can map where the gaps are in your planning and take action to fill them! And as always, include those people in planning inclusion. Make no assumptions on their behalf.


Inclusivity and Diversity in Practice at Events

So how do you ensure an authentically inclusive event that represents and embraces diversity within your community?

Work on the fundamentals through your recruitment processes, physical setting, content programming, stakeholder engagement and procurement practices. These, along with building the right organisational culture, will set the foundations to ensure an inclusive event that embraces diversity.  

Inclusivity

To embed this spirit of inclusion, ensure access for those who have a potential interest, opinion, expectation or other connection with your organisation and projects.

‘Inclusivity’, is defined as the practice or policy of including people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalised.

People should be able to:

  • freely express who they are, their own opinions and points of view;
  • fully participate in equally, safely, confidently, independently, and with dignity regardless of race, age, gender, colour, religion, sexual orientation, culture, national origin, income, or disability (mental, intellectual, sensorial and physical); and
  • feel safe from abuse, harassment or unfair criticism.

The antidote to discrimination is inclusion. 

By embracing inclusivity into your organisation’s values you are committing to anti-discrimination. This would be enacted through employment policies, programming policies and procurement policies. 

Some examples include:

  • Family facilities
  • Safe/quiet spaces
  • Gender neutral bathrooms.

Diversity

A diverse and vibrant mix of people builds strong and successful teams in organisations, and in public participation programmes, offers terrific experiences and helps to build social harmony.  

Diversity is the measure or variation of social and cultural identities among people who exist together in a particular setting.

To embrace diversity in your organisation, your project and indeed your community, you are looking to build authentic cross-cultural experiences – people of all races, ethnicities, ages, religions, backgrounds and gender participating together.

What you’re aiming for is to celebrate a wide range of perspectives and backgrounds, cultures and experiences, and create authentic exchange and participation.

White privilege makes some people think of diversity meaning people who are not Caucasian being included. Be extremely careful not to label particular people as ‘diverse’. 


Accessibility

Ensure access by people with the widest range of capabilities, ensuring no barriers prevent equal access safely, confidently, independently and with dignity by everyone. This may include: access ramps, viewing platforms and amenities; parent’s rooms; sign language interpreters; multi-lingual translation headsets, personal assistant ticketing. 

Performance Interpreting is an example of a specialised services for the arts sector. Attitude is Everything is a programme that helps those with mobility access to enjoy camping music festivals in the UK.

Examples of physical accessibility initiatives include:

  • Wheelchair access across all event areas.
  • Viewing platforms for wheelchair access.
  • Disability access routes for event entry (parking, ticketing lanes, seating, campsites).
  • Disability access toilets, showers and retreats.
  • Sound Amplification Systems (hearing loops)
  • Auslan (deaf) Interpreting
  • Audio Descriptions and Audio Described Tours
  • Open Capturing
  • Tactile Tours
  • Relaxed Performance
  • Including vision Symbols on all events
  • Companion Card ticket access
  • Carer Card ticket access
  • Large print versions of the Program Guide or other accessible support material for patrons

Information

Inclusion can also mean that enough information is available to those that need it, for example where a project may impact on the local community amenity, timely and accessible information and exchange must be available. If there is likely to be local community disruption, communication lines must be available across several platforms and be highly responsive.

This would include communicating information about operating hours, traffic alterations, noise and lighting controls, protection of local biodiversity, waste management, security and safety.

Community stakeholder meetings could be held to invite participation and to share information.

Multiple routes for two-way communication with all stakeholder groups should be available and tailored to suit each group. 


Feedback

Contractors, suppliers, staff and crew all should be included in various levels of event planning and debriefing and have the opportunity to express their opinions, give feedback, offer suggestions or to present grievances on decisions made by the company.

First Peoples

Where this is relevant and appropriate, acknowledge traditional landowners and first peoples, engaging their participation, request permission, respect their rights, access and involvement. 

In some countries this may mean an acknowledgement of traditional owners in opening ceremonies and all communications. 

In other regions it may include formally requesting permission to hold an event on land, which by common law is owned by a private citizen but by indigenous tradition, or statute, is under the custodianship of the indigenous people. 


Ticketing access

Ticketing policies and procedures should not discriminate accessibility by any group. Multiple ticketing options available to ensure accessibility by all.

If you have a ticketed event where it is run for the whole of the community – eg a major sports event or a city-wide arts festival run by a community organisation or local municipality funded group – then it would be viewed as unacceptable for exclusion to occur because of the price of the tickets is too expensive, the routes through which tickets must be bought are not accessible to all (eg credit card only or online only), or that there are no low price or open access/free activities or components.

Consider free fan zones, free access and other elements to include all members of the community.


Supply Chain

Ensuring there is a clear route for SMEs to become a potential supplier. Throughout your tendering process, ensure all who wish to do business with you, have transparent access routes to becoming potential suppliers.