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Surely, it’s not that hard?

An EDI research project. Carried out by Saoirse Amira Anis. Commissioned by NEoN Digital Arts. Project completed April 2021. Research undoubtedly ongoing.

Having spoken to several arts practitioners, and reading several inspirational texts, this research project has led me to conclude that the art world would benefit from the following: 

EDI” is replaced with “equity”.

(By regarding the characteristics of marginalised groups as individual minorities, the issue of equality becomes insincere and impersonal. The political without the personal is merely performative and is unlikely to amount to beneficial change. If we, “the marginalised”, were viewed as equal – imagine the possibilities.)

More funding to develop external structures which reinforce the importance of equity within the Institution.

(otherwise, the Institution is basically marking its own homework and/or the onus falls on one marginalised person who is likely to feel unsupported by the Institution.)

More funding for non-privileged artists to support one another.

(it would be foolish to dismiss the benefits of organisations / events which are run “by us, for us”.)

All stolen artefacts returned to their country of origin.

(Surely, it’s not that hard?)

Dissolution of arbitrary hierarchies.

(To be honest, gatekeepers are shooting themselves in the foot by underestimating the creativity and genius of the so-called “underclasses”.)

Acknowledgement of complicity in systems of oppression.

(Including holding bigots and bullies to account.)

Centring everything around empathy and care.

(Plenty queer, Black, PoC feminists have been saying this for years and years.1)

Dissolution of the fear of being radical.

(Asking for equity should not be radical, but standard.)

More action from those who are in positions to act.

(Use your privilege, please.)

Privileged people in positions of power educating themselves.

(Do the work, please.)

Collaboration which reinforces the strength in community.

(“No matter how much we are working to change the world, we must still find ways of coping with the reality at hand.”2)


Up next for me:

Continued learning.

(The fact that I am a queer Black woman does not make me exempt from using my privilege. I have work to do too.)


[1] Some of whom can be found on the next page
[2] Johanna Hevda, Sick Woman Theory:

With warmest thanks to the following souls without whom this project would not exist:

For speaking with me:

Tayo Adekunle
Christian Noelle Charles
Jazmin Morris
Rachael Simpson
Natasha Thembiso Ruwona
Sarra Wild

For writing words and living lives which continue to guide me:

Mele Broomes
Angela Y. Davis
Virginie Despentes
Antonio Gramsci
Ashanti Harris
Johanna Hevda
Audre Lorde
Lola Olufemi
Assata Shakur
Alberta Whittle

Project pages: