Tag Archives: arts management

Link Roundup! – 12/11/15

Link Roundups feature articles and bits of internet goodness that our dramaturgy team digs up. If you find something you want to send our way, drop us a line on Facebook or Twitter!



Playwright Dominque Morisseau’s recent essay for American Theatre addresses the loaded social politics of theatre etiquette and the inherent privilege present in many theatre spaces:

We take their donor money and put them on boards, and we brush their microaggressions off as our old grandma or grandpa who might be a little racist and elitist but are otherwise harmless.

To that I ask: harmless to whom? I am telling you it is not harmless. It is harmful. It further marginalizes audiences of color and tells them they are not fully welcome in the theatre, except by permission of the white audience. It tells the upper-middle-class white audience that theatre is their home first and the rest of us are just guests.


The Atlantic has a story about a graduate art project at the State University of New York at Buffalo that brought up issues of safe spaces and artistic intent:

Activists who say the display crossed a line insist that they are not focused on the artist or her intentions, but are concerned instead with the impact of the project on students and the administration response. Nevertheless, the controversy highlights the fact that many students view free speech as a critical part of, and not a diversion from, conversations over race on campus. Yet even so, students don’t necessarily agree on what constitutes a threat to free speech.

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The How-To Guide for Promoting Diversity in Arts Management

Last month, Howlround published a piece by Elena Muslar entitled “Racial and Ethnic Diversity in Arts Management: An Exposé and Guide.” The article focused on Muslar’s research as part of her MFA thesis, which contained interviews that demonstrated common challenges and hang-ups the success and promotion of people of color. In her “Expose and Guide,” Muslar includes questions, suggestions, and pathways to creating opportunity and access into arts management positions.

E_E Muslar infographic

Muslar noted four common responses in her interviews to current arts managers, about why there were not more people of color in leadership positions in their organizations:

  1. “My organization does try to reach out to people of color but they don’t apply.”
  2. “I’m not really sure why we haven’t had people of color in leadership positions.”
  3. “I fear my own voice in this conversation.”
  4. “I’m not sure how to get young people of color interested in this field.”

These answers are not surprising, and by now near commonplace. However, they are important to hear, and identify, so we can move past these fears and misconceptions. Without recognizing the hesitations, we are unable to challenge them, and consequently, leave them behind.

In all four responses, uncertainty is a common link. Responders are not sure why there is a lack of diversity in leadership, where their place is in the conversation, or how to resolve the issue. Uncertainty, here, is defeating. Rather than asking questions about how to perceive and create change, they are resolved in their inability and their unknowing.

Muslar does more than just raise these questions though, she provides answers.

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