I’m an art worker and cultural journalist currently based in Paris. I’ve spent the last decade traveling, researching, and working internationally across many arts disciplines. I left full-time employment a year-and-a-half ago in order to experiment with new tools and with using my skills to contribute to building a greener, kinder, and more thoughtful cultural sector.
Diversity, to me, is a simple fact of life. It is the basis for what makes me excited to get up in the morning: the possibility of an encounter that may expand my thinking, shift my perspective, or challenge my ways of conceiving and interacting with the world. “Diversity,” I think, has also become an institutional buzzword whose thoughtless overuse often obscures what we are really talking about: power and equality and justice. If I am very honest, I will tell you that when I hear the word “diversity” and think of how it relates to what I know of the arts field, I burn with anger. I think about the timidity and selfishness of leaders that I have worked under. I think about the indifference and denial that so many of us are met with when we speak of being harassed. I think about constant financial stress and the emotional exhaustion of being subtly treated as less-than because of how you look or sound. If we want diversity in the arts, we must do the hard work of creating and sustaining the preconditions for its natural flourishing.
To my mind, listening is the foundational act of creating the preconditions of diversity. It is also the core value upon which my independent podcast Points of Entry is based. Across 7 existing episodes, I have spoken with people from around the world who are doing grassroots work in the arts around issues such as labor reform, gender-based violence, economic precarity, decolonisation, mental health, and climate catastrophe. Their concrete ideas have been heard by 1,500 individuals in 40 countries and from every continent. And, interestingly, some of the most enthusiastic feedback has come from listeners who are not culture professionals. I would like to propose a special, 3-episode series that tackles various aspects of diversity from differing perspectives. I also want to make written transcripts for current and future episodes available online. And it would be fantastic to take advantage of the Flanders Arts Institute’s platform and network to further amplify these voices and the specific, concrete changes they propose.
This project lays at the intersection of resistance, colonialism, maps, and GIS. In my project MapBH, I tackled the digitisation, translation, and transformation of old colonial maps across the 19th and 20th centuries into a simple modern projection that's easy to explore and outline the stories of neoliberal destruction. In The Reclamation Project, we plan to tell those stories.