How Diverse is the Arts and Culture Industry?

The arts and culture industry sees itself as a society domain that has always been open to other cultural contexts and social issues and that would always act in ways that take diverse perspectives into account. In reality, however, the situation is quite different and is often reflected in one-sided programmes. The problems relate not only to artistic production but also to the way in which work in the cultural sector is done and the extent to which migrants have access to artistic professions and other jobs in the cultural scene.

We also need to question the ubiquitous Western outlook on cultural scenes and contemporary art in regions at the outer edges of Europe, as well as the fact that the attention paid to exotic cultures and art scenes tends to follow short-lived trends. All too often, such global networking and cooperation remain superficial and unable to really satisfy any serious interest.

In this stream, representatives from the cultural sector in Austria will meet with artists from Eastern and South Eastern Europe to discuss – together with cultural theorists – the extent to which the “Western outlook” determines our cultural scene and the extent to which this, in turn, hinders artists from other regions from gaining access to it or forces them to adapt to prevailing artistic trends. This Western outlook is an obstacle not only for artists but also for the public; it hinders “fringe” groups and persons with migration backgrounds from participating in cultural life. The most important question is how to make diversity an inherent part of the cultural scene and how to progress from good intentions to implementation. It is hoped that good practice examples will enliven this discourse. By including representatives of businesses that, as the result of an increasingly lively CSR debate, have been opening up to new cultural perspectives and projects, our objective is to give the participants an opportunity to present new possibilities for cooperation between widely different groups in society.

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