There are many ways in which artists, facilitators of creative pursuits and the ‘average joe’ can support the development of safer spaces where difference and diversity can be embraced.
First; ask yourself these questions…
- When I meet someone with differencing views to my own… how do I react?
- When I am in a room with a new group of people; would I naturally gravitate to those who look or sound the same as me or approach those different to myself?
- What makes me different to the ‘average joe’?
- Do I value diversity within my friendship, relationship, workplace and social settings?
Upon pondering these questions; I have realised my own unconscious bias towards gravitating towards people who look or sound similar to myself; realise my potential to use my diversity and differences as a neurodiverse, disabled creative educator within society is often overlooked and I don’t always feel safe or comfortable in certain social or workplace or educational situations. You may feel similar.
So how do I try to value differrence and diversity within my world?
Meet new people by finding similarities between me and others; then expanding this into talking and communicating about our differrences.
Choosing to listen to other views and opinions on social issues that differ to my own. Listen to understand, not to judge or make assumptions.
Using peoples preferred pronouns, names and descriptors. Asking for clarity around name pronunciation if I am unsure, and asking others to do the same. A name or pronoun is an important part of an individuals identity – it is important to respect this.
Be honest about my own bias and unconscious bias. Get educated, be aware, look over things twice, three or even four times to understand barriers to avoid potential conflicts.
Diversity isn’t a one way street. We are all different, and we all have our own unique perspectives on life. Everybody has a part to play.
If we can all work together to create safer, more inclusive spaces for all to live, work, play and socialise within… we are one step closer to inclusion for all.