Being an ally means using your power and privilege to support people of colour and other marginalised groups. Allyship is not about the different struggles of diverse groups cancelling each other out or competing with each other; rather, it’s about coming together in solidarity.
There are many ways that organisations and individuals can show support, such as by lending your voice, or providing financial support or other resources. Another way is to refuse to support projects that disempower people who are marginalised or underrepresented. Actions featured throughout this site offer important ways to show solidarity at structural, organisational and individual levels.
Importantly, allyship is also about using your position or capacity, wherever possible, to help undo structural inequalities. At times, it can mean giving up privileges or resources.
How do I do it?
There are many ways to be an ally to people of colour, culturally and linguistically diverse and First Nations people. Here are some ways you can take action in the creative sector:
Organisations and Institutions
- Ensure your organisation regularly reviews its plans, policies and practices so that diversity and equity are embedded through Equity Action Plans and Strategic Plans.
- Track your organisation’s progress. Undertake annual surveys to measure how well you are meeting diversity and equity standards and quotas. Ask the team to provide feedback.
- Hold your organisation accountable. Ensure that policies, practices and procedures do not harm, exclude or marginalise individuals, groups or communities.
Employment and board recruitment
- Ensure your organisation has sound and equitable employment and board recruitment practices that increase opportunities for people of colour and First Nations people.
- Lobby government and institutions for change. Support movements, attend rallies, join and create petitions, write submissions and take other necessary actions to support greater diversity, equity and inclusion in the creative sector.
- Support the work of organisations like Democracy in Colour in Australia, All Together Now and Common Ground.
Refuse to participate
- Refuse to speak on all-white panels, to serve on all-white selection committees and boards or be represented in all-white shows or collections.
- Refuse to attend shows and events, for example club nights, drag and burlesque performances, comedy shows and costume parties, that rely on cultural appropriation or stereotypes.
- Refuse to support projects that disempower underrepresented groups.
- If you attend a show, festival or exhibition that doesn’t represent people of colour or First Nations people, send an email to alert the organisers of this failing.
- Support creatives of colour and First Nations people by buying their work, seeing their shows, reading their books and contributing to their crowd-funding campaigns.
- Share, retweet and talk about art and articles by people of colour and First Nations people.
- Commission works and fund projects by creatives of colour and First Nations people.
- When you leave a job or a position, recommend people of colour or diverse cultural backgrounds or First Nations people to the role.