More about Words Ireland’s Surveys & EDI Project 2021
Words Ireland, a grouping seven literature organisations, is embarking on an equality, diversity and inclusion initiative in 2021 supported by the Arts Council. We’re beginning by carrying out the first major survey of writers and illustrators in Ireland in over a decade. The anonymous information gathered will feed efforts to improve the payment and working conditions of writers and literature workers for years to come. It will also identify barriers to being published or working in the literature sector that underrepresented groups may face.
The initiative also involves the development of a Charter for Inclusion that will outline Words Ireland’s collective values, principles, and our commitments to underrepresented writers and illustrators, and to literature workers in Ireland. Once drafted, we’ll share it with the sector for discussion and comment at the first session of our webinar series starting autumn 2021. The series will also try to identify practical ideas and initiatives that can reduce barriers to access in future. We’ll then work toward a final draft of the Charter that we’ll encourage the whole sector to endorse.
Throughout the process, our work will be informed by six writers who understand the difficulties facing people who wish to enter and progress in literature. Each individual organization within Words Ireland will also be adopting or improving their own diversity strategies over the course of the year as part of the overall journey.
We acknowledge that practical ideas, discussions and public statements are only first steps. We’re beginning from a position where supports and initiatives aimed at underrepresented writers, illustrators and literature sector staff are almost non-existent, and where strategies and policies to address these barriers are at very early stages of development.
As any writer knows, becoming a writer takes years of hard work and dedication. Sustaining a life as a professional writer is difficult. However, we’re committed to finding ways that make a career as a writer, illustrator, or literature sector worker equally feasible for all.