Call for action for Finnish art institutions – Our answers
This questionnaire was sent to us by Art for Equ(al)ity network. We published our answers in November 2020.
Inclusivity and safer space:
1. How are racial equality, diversity and anti-racism discussed in your organisation?
Equity (including racial equality), diversity, accessibility and anti-racism are discussed in our organisation in the beginning of orientation of new employees and in all our action. It is the main content of our work - our mission is to promote equity, diversity and accessibility in the culture and art fields.
We should still learn more about anti-racism tools and go through them even more systematically with all of our staff. As a source we will use "Sources to support antiracist action" put together by Kiia Beilinson and Miia Laine in May 2020.
2. What anti-racist strategies does your organisation already employ and/or is aiming to develop?
In our work we aim to actively study and tackle discrimination and racism in both structural and individual level. Our goal is to provide guidance on tackling discrimination and inappropriate treatment in 2021. Read more for example here.
3. Does your organisation have a non-discrimination plan? Has it been made public? What goals and actions does it include?
Our non-discrimination plan is part of our equality plan (valid 2019-2022). It includes a variety of equality measures. The full plan is available to read here (in Finnish). We monitor the implementation of different equality measures in various ways.
4. Has your organisation appointed an equality officer? Is there a separate compensation for this work or does it fall under free labour?
We have appointed an equality officer and a working group that shares the responsibilities in equality matters at our workplace. We don't have a separate compensation for this work but it's part of our staff’s job descriptions. We talk about this in our development discussions and our goal to make this work also part of our payroll system that is being developed at the moment.
5. Does your entire staff receive anti-racist and anti-bias education and training by an external expert?
That is our goal. We have received education for example from Ekvalita Oy (abuse of power, inappropriate behaviour) and from The Finnish League for Human Rights (preparation for the writing process of our equality plan).
6. How do you address racially driven incidents at the workplace and in public events?In these situations, who is the person to approach? How are these situations handled? In what ways are the wellbeing of the employee / audience member / artist facing racial discrimination ensured?
We declare our events a discrimination-free zone. Declaring a discrimination-free zone means actively tackling discrimination and recognizing the equality of all people. We appoint persons who can be contacted in case of misconduct, discrimination or racism. Our staff is committed to support safer space and interfere in inappropriate behaviour and racism. We collect feedback, also anonymously. If and when we make a mistake, we take responsibility and apologize immediately.
7. Are the principles of a safer space visible and acknowledged by your work community? Are they also implemented, visible and acknowledged in public events?
In accordance with our equality plan 2019-2022, we are finalizing our safer space guidelines in 2021. The draft of our safer space rules is already implemented, visible and acknowledged at all our events. The draft can be read here on our webpage and it will also be made visible on the wall of our office.
8. How is ethnic diversity taken into account in recruitment?
In accordance with our equality plan, we have developed our recruitment to a more diverse direction in 2019–2020. In our job advertisements, we encourage individuals of all genders, gender identities and different minorities to apply, regardless of the applicant's ethnicity, disability, religion or age. In our job advertisements we also state that we are non discrimatory workplace. Our language requirements can be flexible.
9. How do you plan to promote racial equality and diversity in your organisation?
We educate ourselves and build networks and collaborations with organisations that work with anti-racism issues and strategies.
10. In case your staff consists only of white individuals, consider why this is the case. Could something be done differently?
Out of seven permanent employees in expert positions in our nearly 20 year history, two have been raciallized/BIPOC people. At the moment, our staff is only white and we are aware of this. Although we have developed our recruitment in a more diverse direction, we still have work to do to make our staff more diverse.
Deconstructing the omnipresent whiteness in institutions:
11.In what ways do you recognise and deconstruct white priviledge, as well as the practices that normalize and prioritize those privileges?
We strive for a norm-critical approach and self reflection.
12. Identifying one’s own position and privileges: what does this mean within your organisation and in your external communication efforts?
We strive for a norm-critical approach. We try to recognize our own position and priviledges, for example as culture workers with a monthly salary (full time or part time, permanent or temporary positions) opposed to many freelance artists with precarious positions. We strive for equal opportunities for everyone, try not to speak for anyone else or to make unnecessary assumptions.
13.How does your organisation actively participate in deconstructing white history and the Western Canon? How is this recognised in the planning and curating programmes?
We strive for a norm-critical approach and decolonial practices. We collaborate with museums for more inclusive history and diverse narratives in their contents. When we produce information material and tools for culture field, for example a new inclusion checklist for museums, we widely co-operate with various stakeholders and try to make sure these aspects are included.
Audiences and audience development:
14.How would you describe your audience structure? Who is present and who is missing? How have you succeeded in terms of racial equality, diversity and accessibility?
Part of our work is to educate culture and art institutions to reach more diverse audiences. We organize our own events always as accessible as possible.
15. Is your programme also accessible to non-Finnish-speaking audiences?
Usually yes. English is not always accessible for everyone, we strive for using different languages. Our programme is often accessible for example to sign-language users etc. We always invest in having some translations/interpretations available.
Representation and contents:
16.How is racial equality, diversity and anti-racism taken into account in the curation of your contents? Whose works are selected for the programmes? Who is on stage?
When we select speakers or performers to our events, we pay attention to diversity intersectionally.
17. What kinds of roles and narratives does your organisation reproduce?
Our work is to support art and culture organizations in diversity, equity and accessibility issues. In all we do, we pay attention to diversity of representation and people having their own voice according to the principle ”nothing about us without us”. We also follow the principle that there should be marginalized people in positions of power and active doers, like educators and experts in various subjects. We collaborate with museums for more inclusive history and diverse narratives in their contents.
18. Who are you producing content for?
Art and culture organizations and professionals and artists. Future art and culture professionals and artists.
19. At the moment whiteness, ability, cisgenderism, and often a male gaze and androcentrism are accepted as “neutral” points of view. How do your contents approach ethnicity, gender, sexuality, ability, bodysize, class, religion, culture, and their intersections?
Our work is to support art and culture organizations in diversity, equity and accessibility issues related to all different minoreties and under represented groups.
Communication and transparency:
20. How does your organisation report its decision-making? Is it available to the public?
We are developing our work more visible and open in our communication in 2020-2021.
We publish our annual plan, annual report and equality plan on our website. We have been named Fair Employer of the Year 2019 by Art and Culture Professionals’ Trade Union TAKU.
21. When advertising open positions and inviting collaborators through open calls for your programmes, do you disclose your selection criteria?
22. Do you communicate in inclusive language, which does not exclude members of marginalised groups?
Yes. On our website we have materials in several languages, for example some in plain language, Sámi language, Finnish and Finnish-Swedish sign languages, in English, Swedish and Kurdish.
23. How do you communicate about your organisation's funding and associated partners? If questions arise about these issues, how do you respond?
On our website openly, for example in our annual report. We answer further questions.
24. How is criticism received in your organisation ? Do you apologise publicly for mistakes you may have committed? Are you prepared to modify your ways of operating based on received critical feedback?
We collect feedback, also anonymously. We declare our events a discrimination-free zone and appoint persons who can be contacted if misconduct and discrimination or racism. Our staff is committed to support safer space and interfere inappropriate behaviour. If and when we make mistakes we take responsibility and apologize immediately when become aware of it.
25. Do your staff members and content producers have possibilities to criticise problematic contents, without jeopardizing their position in the organisation?
Yes. We encourage our staff to be critical. We solve possible problems for example in our staff meetings or with the help of a more neutral ”outsider”. We try to practice openness for example with the support of professional guidance.
26.Is the information regarding accessibility and barrier-free mobility publicly available in your spaces and events? From whose perspective do you consider your spatial planning?
We do an annual budget for accessibility. We always inform about the accessibility of our events and of our office. We develop accessibility in our office and at Cable Factory. We pay attention to the accessibility of our communications, digital and other.
For example we always test the accessibility of our new websites and have as many interpretations available at our events, as our budget allows. We do not arrange events in places thatare inaccessible and we require this also from our partners.