Abid Hussein will attend Nordic Dialogues in Oslo
Diversity increases both innovation and quality, according to Abid Hussein. He is Director of Diversity at the Arts Council England, where he works to challenge directors, curators and those who create cultural programs to consider the question of inclusion on all levels.
Arts Council England is the national development agency for arts and culture. Here, Hussein is responsible for the organisation's work on equality, inclusion and the initiative "Creative Case for Diversity". 2 and 3 December he visits Oslo to speak about leadership in the cultural sector, at the conference Nordic Dialogues. We asked him a few questions about diversity in the arts.
Why should diversity be on top of the agenda for the cultural sector?
– From my perspective, it's about tapping into the talent and stories of all our communities. Art and Culture has the power to bring together communities at a time when we're seeing increased polarisation and division across society. Through stories we recognise what brings us together whilst also being able to celebrate and understand our differences too. Increasingly, it's also important for arts and cultural organisations to feel relevant and accessible to the communities they serve. Through nurturing new relationships, we're investing in our future talent, audiences and developing pathways to increase the diversity of our arts and cultural offer.
You have often talked about "The creative case for diversity". What is the "creative case" is about?
– Far from diluting quality, diversity increases innovation and excellence creating compelling new work and narratives that amplifies the voice and presence of communities that for too long have been missing, ignored or under represented across arts and culture.
– The Creative Case for Diversity was launched in 2011 as a catalyst to reframe an increasingly stagnant and unproductive approach to policy and practice which too often centred almost exclusively on the legal imperative for Equality and Diversity. We had lost sight of the art. It articulates a refreshed paradigm for diversity, which retains the principles of equality, access and opportunity but also recognises and celebrates the importance of diversity as a source of artistic excellence and advantage.
How does this challenge cultural leaders?
– The Creative Case for Diversity challenges Directors, Curators and Programmers across arts and cultural organisations to take ownership of, and to be accountable for, how the diversity of wider society is reflected in the work they programme, curate or present.
Nordic Dialogues, 2-3 December in Oslo
Policymakers, leaders, artists and cultural workers are meeting in Oslo to exchange knowledge and ideas. How can we realise the potential of a diverse Nordic region?
This conference is the result of the project "An Inclusive Cultural Sector in the Nordics" (2017-2019), led by Arts Council Norway. The Nordic Council of Ministers and the Norwegian Ministry of Culture has funded the project.