Clear Expectations: Gender equity is a social, cultural and political issue

Filed : Local and industry news .

A new resource of best practice for the contemporary arts when working with trans, non-binary and gender diverse creatives has been published today, supported by Countess and NAVA.

WHO IS COUNTESS

Countess was established in 2008 by artist Elvis Richardson as a blog compiling and publishing statistics on gender representation in the visual arts. In 2016 Countess released The Countess Report a comprehensive data collection survey of gender representation in the Australian art sector.

WHO IS NAVA

The National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA) leads advocacy, policy and action for an Australian contemporary arts sector that’s ambitious and fair. Since its establishment in 1983, NAVA has been influential in bringing about policy and legislative change to encourage the growth and development of the visual arts sector and to increase professionalism within the industry.

WHAT IS CLEAR EXPECTATIONS

This new resource aims to provide institutions, galleries and curators with tools and strategies for working with and supporting trans, non-binary and gender diverse people.

Representatives from Countess say: “The Clear Expectations resource is a timely and much needed piece of research that we are proud to be the original commissioning partner of. The resource has already impacted on our data collection philosophy and we believe it will have a significant impact across the art and cultural sector.” 

“Clear Expectations is so needed and so welcome. NAVA is proud to support this important resource written by Archie Barry and Spence Messih, and so deeply impressed with the ongoing work of the Countess in championing gender equity for transformative change,” said Esther Anatolitis, Executive Director of NAVA.

Gender equity is a social, cultural and political issue that affects everybody. The participation, representation and action of people of all genders is essential for a world that’s ethical, confident and creative.

Nationally consistent, nationally observed industry standards are essential to unleashing ambition and achieving fairness. NAVA urges the sector to spend time reading this new resource of best practice for art spaces ranging from artist run initiatives to larger institutes, when working with trans, non-binary and gender diverse creatives.

WHO ARE THE AUTHORS

Co-Authors of the new guidelines, artists Spence Messih and Archie Barry (pictured), said: “Experiencing harm from the bureaucracy of institutional decision-making is a common experience for trans, non-binary and gender diverse people, even in the Australian arts sector. Institutions, galleries and curators often fail to respect and affirm the gender identities of trans, non-binary and gender diverse people — this is particularly alarming as institutions often engage with this community of people to represent their gender identities.”

“For trans, non-binary and gender diverse artists, representation can lead to various issues including the commodification of personal identity, the tokenisation of work, having the complexity of one’s practice be reduced to a gender-centric reading, and witnessing the erasure of gender diversity in broader gendered contexts. Other challenges include being excluded from dialogue, being misgendered in a public domain and having artwork censored,” they continued.

“Take the time to read through this resource with your collaborators, colleagues, board and staff,” said Esther Anatolitis (Executive Director NAVA), “and let’s make sure the contemporary arts sector is respectful, safe and welcoming for all trans, non-binary and gender diverse people.”

Clear Expectations is now available as a free download below and via the new Countess website www.countess.report.

It has also been added to NAVA’s Gender Equity resources and will be available as part of NAVA’s revised Code of Practice for the Professional Australian Visual Arts, Media, Craft and Design Sector.

Image: Co-Authors of the new guidelines, artists Spence Messih and Archie Barry

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