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How to Accelerate Change in the Arts

Whether you are an art maker, presenter or consumer, we all play a unique and important role in developing the arts industry. Below is an interactive list of suggestions that each one of us can engage in to actively accelerate change in 3 areas: social change, health and well-being and environmental sustainability. Just click on these 3 areas of change to see the suggestions. Underneath that, you will find a list of possible benefits from putting these suggestions into practise. 

Accelerating Change in the Arts was presented as a film installation at TANZRAUSCHEN‘s Pop Me Up store (Wuppertal, Germany) and also featured in the Screen Dance Academy 09-11 September 2021 in cooperation with ARTE

Art Makers

Click on one of the following:

  • Social change

    Work with people who look and think differently to you

    Be transparent about your needs and expectations and ask others to do the same

    Treat members of the team as experts in their own jobs

    Create work schedules that cater to people’s needs

    Dream of your utopic workplace and work towards creating that

    Make sure the people affected by a decision participate in the decision making process

    Value process over product

    Have zero tolerance towards racism, sexism, ableism and all forms of discrimination in your workplace

    Reimagine success and failure


  • Health and well-being

    Place health at the front of the decision making process

    Find ways to make it fun

    Clearly set working hours and respect yours and others time off

    Autonomy in decision making. Practice decision making outside relations of power and social pressures

    Communicate to the people who can make change or who need to hear your concerns/requests. Don’t let things pass if they have an effect on yours or others well-being

  • Environmental sustainability

    Modify production to eliminate waste and conserve resources

    Use non-toxic substances

    Re-use sets and costumes

    Consider how your work could impact positively on land, air and water sources

    Incorporate sustainability into design, tech and production elements

    Present work locally and digitally and
    invest in your local arts community

    Call out practises that show a lack of environmental awareness

    Consider appearing virtually at events

Art Presenters

Click on one of the following:

  • Social change

    Write a measurable inclusion plan and be transparent with staff, audiences and the wider community about challenges and achievements

    Apply a quota system to ensure underrepresented groups have an equal or majority presence on boards, juries and management positions (50% non white, 50% non-male, plus non able bodied people)

    Consult a professional to aid in the decolonization of your workplace

    Define and publish your values

    De-gender your workplace: gender neutral roles, bathrooms and costume options; educate your team to proper pronoun usage

    Rethink financial distribution, consider paying everyone the same

    Question how you want to see your industry develop for the better and how you see your role in this

    Which other ways, other than your own, could an artwork be interpreted? And are these interpretations harmful? In which case, what steps do you put in place to warn audiences of possible harmful content?

    Give the whole team royalties and credit to flatten hierarchical earning

  • Health and well-being

    Create the conditions for flexible working methods and scheduling

    Provide recovery time for racial trauma, menstrual and maternity leave, and procedures relating to gender transition

    Sending job offers? Include detailed wage and job conditions including nudity expectations and any factors of health and safety

    Contact employees only during business hours, to respect work/life balance

    Ask employees about their specific workplace needs i.e childcare, wheelchair access, flexible working times, healthcare and commit to providing them.

    Ask employees how they like to work or how they like to be directed. You might be surprised by what they say

    Schedule your employee’s religious celebrations (ie. Employees fasting during Ramadan might have different needs during this time)

  • Environmental sustainability

    Include SMART goals in your sustainability plan (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound)

    Schedule education and awareness raising in your institution

    Form a sustainability team in house

    Partner with environmental agencies and science institutes to work towards CO2 neutrality

    Work with artists, local theatres and community groups to create more sustainable touring models

    Resource share with other organisations

Art Consumers

Click on one of the following:

  • Social change

    See shows that are non-white, non-binary and not backed by critical acclaim

    Commit to thinking critically about representation in film, theatre, in the audience and theatre workers and comment when it’s missing

    Question social codes in the cinema/theatre

  • Health and well-being

    How does a show/film make you feel?

    Interact with the audience members around you and ask questions about their experience of the film/ performance.

    Consider imagery from the perspective of others? Was it inclusive? Does it isolate certain audiences?

    Does hate speech, physical assault or obscenity have a place on screen or stage?

    Consider non harmful feedback options if interacting with the artists or performers

  • Environmental sustainability

    See more work from local artists and at local venues

    Question institutions and venues about their actions to CO2 neutrality

    Support small and upcoming venues who show action against climate change

    Talk to other audience members what steps they are taking tackle climate change

    Call out practises that show a lack of environmental awareness

    Donate to non-profit organisations that support sustainability

Benefits we can all enjoy

  • Greater inclusion
  • Innovating the art form.
  • Strengthening the community 
  • Mirror image of the society in which we live
  • Greater access for people  who encounter barriers when visiting cultural sites
  • Improved soft skills such as self-confidence, communication, empathy and self-expression 
  • Supports the careers of non-white and non-male artists.
  • Strong organizations and partnerships
  • Improvement of quality standards
  • Contributes to the greening of the theatre sector.
  • Decentralised structures/reorganisation of artistic work processes.
  • Decolonization