Thanh Sinden, Strategic Audience Development Manager at Culture Coventry, explores why art is the greatest gift for all.
‘What we call civilization – the accumulation of knowledge which has come down to us from our forefathers – is the fruit of thousands of years of human thought and toil. It is not the result of the labour of the ancestors of any separate class of people who exist today, and therefore it is by right the common heritage of all.’ (The Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell). When reflecting on this point in ‘The Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists,’ in the cultural context, I thought back to my purpose in my job and in my belief in equality of opportunities and of increasing access to great arts and culture for all. The sector’s calls for activism, diversity and inclusion are clearer, louder with Arts Council’s ‘Creative Case for Diversity’ and strategic plans set out to guide organisations and to demand accountability on the purpose of democratisation of arts and heritage.
Reflecting more on the work I have been doing at Culture Coventry and through the mentoring and peer support of the AMA’s Audience Diversity Academy I know my experiments need to go a bit deeper, I need to, we need to, do more than invite people in – we need to go beyond the welcome to truly being inclusive spaces. I have been working in a strategic way focusing on audience engagement, diversification and increase access. Focusing on our audiences that we want to invite in and build relationships with is a starting point. The deeper level of work that must happen is organisational development. I am working to embed inclusive practice and ensuring equality and diversity are at our core of everything we do. We are committed to promoting the values of diversity and inclusion in our organisation workforce in doing so we enable a more authentic relationship and find relevance with our wider audience. We will create a strategic plan to progress our organisation in values that demonstrate and maximise our social impact and how we change lives for the better through creating inclusive spaces.
I believe what matters to our local networks of communities, audience, customers and to our funders is the added value we bring as a public organisation in the city. When we matter more to people we move from existing in the city to being relevant to people’s lives. I therefore, challenge myself, my organisation, the wider sector in creating processes that raises our organisational consciousness so that we contribute to an equal, diverse and inclusive society where all have the chance to thrive.