The Art of Balance: For equality and diversity in the arts
The Art of Balance (Balansekunst) is a Norwegian association of more than 80 organisations, companies, festivals and other arts and culture institutions that engage in promoting gender equality and diversity in the arts.
The Art of Balance wants to share knowledge, experiences and ideas on how to proceed in the field of gender balance and diversity, specifically through challenging structural inequalities, stereotypes and prejudices.
The initiative was established in 2009, when a couple of key institutions in the Norwegian music business got together to come up with easily accessible tools for stimulating some much needed action towards gender equality in the industry. See The Language Gap below or our guidelines for handling sexual harassment for a sample of our work.
Society is marked by strong social and cultural norms attached to for instance gender, sexuality and ethnicity, which in turn leads to inequitable distribution of power, and to unequal prerequisites for people. Inequality exists on most levels, and they tend to influence and enhance each other. Gendered educational choices, for instance, contribute to maintain a gender-segregated labour market. Equality means greater freedom for all, and greater diversity leads to a richer cultural life.
People make choices based on social structures and expectations, not only based on personal abilities and ambitions. Therefore, diversity and gender balance in cultural life has significance and impact on questions concerning equality in general. In addition, it is considerable waste of talent not to recruit from a broader range of people. Patterns and structures that contribute to making and maintaining homogeneity and inequality in cultural life must be broken.
The Language Gap
Over the last few decades, music journalism has been professionalised. It is no longer enough simply to attach artist portraits, album reviews, concert reviews, or other reviews of artists to stereotypical clichés on skin colour, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender. The good music journalism of today is about music, and demands knowledge.
Yet, female and male artists are still treated differently in the media.
The Art of Balance has taken the initiative to work out a checklist for writing about music in the 21st century. Whenever you feel the need to classify artists as girl bands, as ballsy rock, or as female musicians, try swapping gender with skin colour, sexual orientation, or religious beliefs.
If it looks odd, it is odd. View the full article here.
Please credit The Art of Balance if using our work. More information in English will follow shortly.