Forgive me if I appear to be repeating myself. The subject matter of change does not travel in a chronological order. Often, we have to go over the story again and again for whatever conscious or unconscious reason people did not hear me the first time.
First things first, I was a Change Maker before I took up this official title and I will be fighting towards a better day for all for the rest of my days to come.
Furthermore, we started here with this programme for Change with the numbers, the data. Arts Council England had officially identified that Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic and Disabled People were underrepresented in the Leadership workforce of the Arts and Museum industry and, in my case, the Theatre Industry.
The odds are against us.*Please let me know if you know of any Black Females (not even going to call for Caribbean descent) serving on a Leadership Team in the U.K within a Theatre Venue, much less being the actual Artistic Director...
The numbers are people. Black people, Asian people, the ones we choose not to name in this country, but pile up in a catch all, it will do, Minority Ethnic phrase. If I never hear that description of people again it will be too soon. I know quite a few people from the excluded crew, but even if I had another 100 years I wouldn’t know them all. One thing I do know though is my own story, I know something of the experience of the excluded.
After a while people lose hope, patience and, eventually, they no longer care.
The history that Dr Maya Angelou speaks of in the above quote can be scaled according to need.
There is a foolishness that the U.K. are currently going on with, which feels like a kind of semi denial of how we got to this place of chaos and despair. Leaders appear to be lurching forward with undercover solutions and last ditch attempts at dignity on our world stage.
Meanwhile any of us who have children and young people in our lives are asking them what they would do? Keenly listening to the wisdom of babies because we need hopeful, truthful, untainted, out there, what box are you talking about, this is a spaceship ideas and we need them now.
Trying to nurture and create the best environment for our future hopefuls whilst feeling hopeless is a tough task, especially if those young hopefuls do not recognise the work it took to get us this far. There seems to be a jostle for ground in all areas be it race, gender or class when really, we’d benefit from taking up more space between us and uniting.
So, history scaled, context is everything.
Are we talking about one building’s place in the ecology of a place’s history, or its place in the future of the Theatre industry?
Can the responsibilities to place, people and industry interact with each other and help each other to thrive?
What impact and contributions are being made for change towards a better day for those currently getting an unfair deal in this game of life and for those dealt a hand that very few could find a way to win from?
Exclusion and hardship are not romantic, they are rubbish.
I’m one woman with a lived experience that reflects a journey taken by many, however I have taken roads and valleys that few have traveled and observed and encouraged my family to step into their own lives despite the odds. This makes a difference to my work, to the way I make my work, to the way I am seen or not seen, to the way I see the world.
When my children were little we had a postcard that said ‘boys don’t read’. We placed it on their bookshelf, it made me laugh. Our eldest just graduated and our youngest is on his way.
I’m making my work, the way I want to make it, every day.
*Great news on the appointment of Doreen Foster the new Director of Warwick Arts Centre. Congratulations.