Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Cultural Industries: The Role of Cultural Organizations

Julie Bérubé, Université du Québec en Outaouais; Vivek Venkatesh, Concordia; Jacques-Bernard Gauthier, Université du Québec en Outaouais; Maud Loranger, Université du Québec en Outaouais; Léah Snider, Concordia University

According to Florida (2014), the creative and cultural industries should not be affected by equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) issues.  The competitive advantage of individuals lies in their talent and creativity and is not dependent on, for example, ethnicity, gender or social class. However, the results of scientific research point rather towards systemic discrimination within these industries, exacerbated by the policies put in place to promote them. Current research shows discrimination based on gender and ethnicity, but also on physical ability, age and location. Based on these observations, Eikhof (2017) proposes a theoretical approach in which she studies, on the one hand, individuals working in the creative and cultural industries and the decisions they make and, on the other hand, the decision makers and the context in which they make EDI-related decisions. Nevertheless, Eikhof (2017) does not take into account the role of cultural organizations. But, Acosta (2016) notes their importance in shaping policies specific to cultural industries. The objective of this research is therefore to identify the role of cultural organizations in EDI issues within the cultural industries. To this end, we are currently conducting semi-structured interviews with artists and cultural organizations in four Canadian cities (we are aiming for a total of 60 interviews). These results are analyzed using Boltanski and Thévenot (1991; 2006)’s theoretical framework On justification. Respondents responses are associated with the different worlds of Boltanski and Thévenot (1991; 2006) in order to identify tensions and the formation of compromises. Based on the empirical data collected on the tensions and compromises, we will propose ways in which cultural organizations can work towards equity, diversity and inclusion in the cultural industries.

This paper will be presented at the following session: