FAIR PLAY REWIND: celebrating a trailblazing equity and inclusion program for the Victorian creative industries

Diversity-Arts-Australia-Fair-PlayWhat’s the responsibility of creative organisations to act on equity and inclusion? How will greater equity and inclusion reshape the creative sector?

These are just some of the questions that were addressed by speakers participating in Diversity Arts Australia’s Fair Play: Rewind event – the closing event of the ambitious and innovative Fair Play program, which was funded by Creative Victoria and aimed at strengthening the Victorian creative industries.

Held virtually via The Wheeler Centre, the event reflects on the Fair Play capacity-building program’s social impacts through talks and conversations with program educators, participants and partners.

“The Fair Play program’s focus is on building organisational capacity, which is rarely prioritised in the creative sectors,” said Lena Nahlous, CEO, Diversity Arts Australia.

This approach has meant that we’ve been able to work with organisations to address the root causes that lead to inequity and exclusion and focus on transformation. The practical approach includes organisational equity audits, mentoring, training and equity action planning.”

In his introduction, The Hon Danny Pearson, Victorian Minister for Creative Industries said, “so often when we talk about inclusion in the creative industries, the roadblocks can seem so broad and varied they almost become overwhelming. The fact that this is the first program of its kind in Australia speaks volumes. And that’s why today is so significant.”

Addressing 28 creative industries organisations and businesses that completed Fair Play since 2019, Pearson says, “ Not only are we celebrating you, the first crop of organisations to finish the program, but also how your participation has highlighted the benefits of Fair Play to arts organisations throughout Australia.”

The event features program and training partners Rob Hyatt (Manager, Education and Visitor Experience, Koorie Heritage Trust), Caroline Bowditch (CEO, Arts Access Victoria) and Katie Stewart (General Manager, Victorian Music Officer), alongside project participants Gabrielle Ryan (Head, Production and Relationships, The Wheeler Centre) and Nicole Beyer (Theatre Network Australia), Project Coordinator Margaret Mayhew, Lead Trainer Paula Abood also provided insights based on their involvement.

Rob Hyatt, Manager of Education and Visitor Experience, Koorie Heritage Trust said, “One of the more amazing opportunities that we have through the Fair Play programs that we’ve run is we were engaging with the industry and learning from their perspective…”

“Whether it’s industries, galleries, art, whatever it might be, it’s much more about the story as to what that engagement means, and why certain elements of competency or safety are important. I think you just can’t get that from a textbook, you just can’t get that from reading, but listening to people.”

Speakers reflected on both the personal and organisational impacts of the program, “The Fair Play program was life-changing, career-changing for not only the way that we work but the way that we’ve been able to now have a flow-on effect to the eight music businesses that have gone through the programme has just been really tremendous.” said Katie Stewart, program participant and partner, and General Manager, Victorian Music Development Office.

“It’s such a great programme to be a part of for those couple of years that we were a part of it… We wrote an equity action plan with all of the team and the board … it’s a formal guiding document with actions and goals and gives us a roadmap to do the work that we want to do … and we’ve already started doing that work…” said Nicole Beyer, Executive Director, Theatre Network Australia.

Diversity Arts Australia is continuing to run equity and inclusion programs modelled on Fair Play. Currently, working with The Australian Ballet and Griffin Theatre. They have set up an Equity and Inclusion checklist on their website.

The program was funded by Creative Victoria. Training and delivery partners include Koorie Heritage Trust, Arts Access Victoria, Regional Arts Victoria, MAV, VMDO and Abbotsford Convent.

A re-run of the event will be streamed on Diversity Arts Australia’s Facebook page this week Thursday 25 November 2021 at 6.00pm. For more information, visit: www.diversityarts.org.au for details.

Image: courtesy of Diversity Arts Australia