Ethnic and Racial Inequity in the Cultural Sector: Confront, Eradicate, Transcend

Roaa Ali, Asif Majid


This is the editorial for the IPED special issue titled ‘Intersections, Institutions and Inequities: Axes of Oppression in the Cultural Sector.'


We first conceived of this special issue in the spring of 2018. At the time, the need to address a lack of diversity, problematic discourses around diversity, and the absence of holistic understandings of multiple and intersecting axes of oppression in the cultural sector were vital and critical questions. We received enthusiastic, thought-provoking, generous, and -- at times -- viscerally raw responses to our call for papers. As editors, we were grateful, enthused, and honoured to be able to provide a platform for such rich and important discourse. Now, as we publish this issue in the midst of the COVID-19 global pandemic and the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement, these issues feel more urgent than ever. Many cultural institutions have issued statements of support upholding the message of Black Lives Matter. Some have been genuine, while others have been performative. Nonetheless, the movement has laid bare -- for those who previously ignored such truths -- the many racist practices, structures, and attitudes embedded in the cultural sector’s daily operations. The summer of 2020 brought forward brave and honest accounts of the lived experience of inequity experienced by numerous Black and ethnically diverse students, cultural workers, and artists. As a contribution to those conversations, this special issue could not be timelier.


cultural sector, ethnic inequality, racism, diversity

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Ali and Majid


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