Artists confront the perpetrators of gendered harassment and demand change

Kate Blackmore filming Sabella DSouza - photo by Penelope BentonOn International Women’s Day 2018, the National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA) has released, Dear Person I’ve Been Reluctant To Keep Engaging With But Have Had To For Professional Reasons – a public letter addressed to the perpetrators of gendered harassment, released in text as well as in a video performed by leading Australian artists and arts workers.

During March, NAVA will be championing the work of female, female-identifying and LGBTQIA artists, contributing to positive global discussions on gender equity. NAVA recognises that while the worldwide movement to end gendered harassment has been focused on practices in the arts and entertainment industries, gendered harassment is a societal ill that is experienced across all industries.

“Gendered harassment reinforces gendered power structures, destroys confidence and ends careers,” said Executive Director of NAVA, Esther Anatolitis. “NAVA thought very carefully about how best to make a constructive, impactful contribution that was strong enough to empower change.”

“The letter quite deliberately makes for uncomfortable reading – and we’re explicit about that. This is no longer a matter for politeness: the growing number of issues NAVA deals with in this area alone mandate a clear shared message that this behaviour will no longer be tolerated.”

NAVA endorses the statements and policy positions that have been made by the Australia Council, Arts South Australia, Screen Australia and numerous performing arts companies, and looks forward to statements yet to be made by prominent institutions in the visual arts.

“Australia’s visual arts, media, craft and design sector has the capacity to take a very visible stance against gendered harassment for the benefit of the entire Australian culture,” said Anatolitis. “I encourage all arts workers and artists to read the letter, watch the video, and consider how best you can act upon it.”

“And if you recognise yourself in it, please seek advice from professionals on what to do next. We’ve provided a set of resources as a starting point,” added Anatolitis.

The letter, Dear Person I’ve Been Reluctant To Keep Engaging With But Have Had To For Professional Reasons is now available on the NAVA website along with a set of resources.

Image: Kate Blackmore filming Sabella D’Souza reading Dear Person I’ve Been Reluctant To Keep Engaging With But Have Had To For Professional Reasons – photo by Penelope Benton

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