Words Ireland’s Diversity & Inclusion Webinar Series
In November 2021, Words Ireland hosted a 3-part webinar series on Diversity and Inclusion in the literature sector, following the launch of findings from its recent surveys on pay, conditions and diversity in Irish literature. The webinar series examined the barriers preventing inclusion in the sector and identified possible solutions. It delivered presentations on projects already underway in Irish literature and arts sectors to increase diversity and inclusion; and presented and discussed Words Ireland’s ‘Charter for Inclusion’ which it hopes the literature sector will endorse.
THE FIRST WEBINAR (2 Nov) focused on the introduction of a ‘Charter for Inclusion’ for the literature sector, with contributions and commentary from Noeleen Hartigan, Oein DeBhairduin, Heather Maitland, Valerie Bistany, Joanna Walsh, Michael McLoughlin, and Brendan Mac Evilly, and Chaired by Ruth Hegarty.
THE SECOND WEBINAR (16 Nov) focused on specific diversity & inclusion initiatives in the Irish literature sector. It include presentations plus Q&A from Gráinne O’Toole and Nidhi Zak/Aria Eipe from Skein Press; Anna Walsh and James Hudson from the Trans Writers Union and the Small Trans Library; Niamh O’Donnell and Elizabeth Mohen from Poetry Ireland; Sasha de Buyl from Cúirt International Festival of Literature.
THE THIRD WEBINAR (30 Nov) focused on what’s happening in broader arts sector. Speakers included Prof Deborah Kelleher, Director of the Royal Irish Academy of Music, who spoke about their new strategic plan that puts investment in access and inclusion at the centre of the organisation, and the innovative Open Youth Orchestra of Ireland. Siobhán Bourke and Dr Ciara Murphy who provided some key Dignity in the Workplace insights from ITI’s recent ‘Speak Up: A Call for Change’ report and reflected on barriers to entry to artists and arts workers. Lynn Scarff, Director of the National Museums of Ireland, spoke to her experiences as an advocate for the ‘participative museum’ and shared her reflections on having meaningful engagement for underrepresented audiences. Maureen Kennelly, Director of the Arts Council, rounded up the session with her reflections on the issues raised during the discussions.
Our Draft Charter of Inclusion, presented at our first webinar on 2 November 2021, is below.