My opinion piece was a response to Shervin Nekuee's article on 'Apartheid in the Dutch arts'. Like I do, Shervin recognises that there hardly are any decision-making art professionals from minority backgrounds in the Dutch cultural sector. I reject Shervin's pessimist tone though.
For a new generation of 'culture vultures' diversity is engrained in their behaviour. Where an older generation of museum, theatre and art managers could still ignore the (early) impact of migration, globalisation and digitalisation, a new, younger generation can not. They cannot allow their organisations to act within a social vacuum, removed from an increasingly diverse group of 21st-century audiences and funders.
Let's be positive. Instead of talking about exclusion mechanisms, let's openly discuss how we can be more inclusive. Who are diversity role models in the sector? How can we make sure promising young professionals from a non-Dutch background are being promoted? How to provide safe working environments for starters in the cultural sector? With an open, honest and responsive attitude, cultural organisations cannot but recognise that diversity is in their own interest.
'Inclusion' can only add to the quality of cultural programmes on offer. A more diverse sector with professionals from all strands of society will allow spaces where 21st-century audiences can safely learn, reflect and share ideas, responding to two all-encompassing questions: What makes us human? What makes me me?