Friday, August 8, 2008

National Diversity in the Arts Information Bank

An online resource for employers and practitioners to explore diversity in the arts

This idea was inspired at NPAC/TCG Conference Denver 2008. I've been spit-balling with many colleagues, most of all, Kimiko Shimoda who runs our FAIR program. I'd love to get your feedback. Do we need something like this? How could this model be improved? What's missing? What's great about this model? Personal thought and observations are vital at this stage. Thanks for your help!!!

This is a direct response to conversations about issues of diversity for arts organizations including inclusion, recruitment and retention.

The National Diversity in the Arts Information Bank (NDAIB-horrible acronym!) is an online resource for organizations and individuals looking to improve their efforts in either hiring a more diverse work force or find organizations looking to hire a more diverse workforce. It is not a job placement site. It is a user generated site that connects people with tools and information that already exist in order to build a more diverse and sustainable field. The information is all opt-in. That means that individuals would only report as much information about themselves as they wished. The site would be key word searchable so people could look for others like themselves working in the business or organizations that were working in certain veins for example. It has 4 major components.

Organization Profiles
These are profiles created by arts organizations. They can include basic demographic data, a narrative of their diversity efforts, action plans, programs and strategic efforts that are already in place (ex. OSF FAIR or the OSF diversity council) as well as grants or other awards being used to work on diversity within the organization. This section provides organizations with working models to learn from, gives individuals seeking employment important information about places they might like to work, and promotes the good work organizations are already involved in.

Individual Profiles
These are profiles created by individuals who are already working in the field. They can include pictures, bios in narrative form, biographical information in list form, resumes, and even blogs. These would be opt-in format, the individuals would be able to report as much or as little information about themselves as they wished. There would be drop down menus so people could use language from the site to describe the areas of the arts they worked in (ex. Development, stage operations, acting, etc) as well as the areas of diversity they belong to (i.e. gender, differently-abled, ethnic information, geographical locations, etc). Instead of “other” categories” there would be places to write in your own descriptions if none of the words were accurate for the individual (ex. Instead of identifying as “black” a person might want to identify as “brown skinned” and there should be room for that. This section taps into social networks that are already in place, provides individuals with successful examples to emulate, and promotes the good work individuals are already doing.

This would include links to service organizations, funders, job banks, articles of interest, conferences, etc. There’s already incredible work being done in the area and this is the place to see all the places it can be accessed.

This would be place for people to connect and communicate. People could ask for advice, discuss issues, suggest links for the tool box section, or bring up other useful information.


  1. Press Release
    August 26, 2008
    For Immediate Release

    Contact: Mary Seaborn
    or Brandon Maitlen


    WASHINGTON - The number of Hispanic students in the nation's public schools nearly doubled from 1990 to 2006, accounting for 60% of the total growth in public school enrollments over that period. Presently, 10 million Hispanic students attend the nation's public schools, 20% of all public school students.

    In 2006 Hispanics were about half of all public school students in California, up from 36% in 1990. They were more than 40% of enrollments in three additional states (Arizona, New Mexico and Texas) and between 20% and 40% of all public school students in five states (Nevada, Colorado, Illinois, Florida and New York). Overall, Hispanics are the largest minority group in the public schools in 22 states.

    Strong growth in Hispanic enrollment is expected to continue for decades, according to a recently released U.S. Census Bureau population projection. In 2050, there will be more school-age Hispanic children than school-age non-Hispanic white children.

    In order to illuminate this growing group of public school students, the Pew Hispanic Center today releases "One-in-Five and Growing Fast: A Profile of Hispanic Public School Students," a statistical portrait of the demographic, language, and family background characteristics of the nation's 10 million Hispanic public school students.

    Key findings from the report:

    The vast majority of Hispanic public school students (84%) were born in the United States.
    Seven-in-ten (70%) Hispanic students speak a language other than English at home.
    Nearly one-in-five (18%) of all Hispanic students speak English with difficulty.
    Nearly three-in-five Hispanic students (57%) live in households with both of their parents compared with 69% of non-Hispanic white students and 30% of non-Hispanic black students.
    More than seven-in-ten U.S. born Hispanic students of immigrant parents (71%) live with both parents. Smaller shares of foreign-born students (58%) and U.S.-born students of native parentage (48%) reside with both parents.
    More than a quarter of Hispanic students (28%) live in poverty, compared with 16% of non-Hispanic students. In comparison, more than a third of non-Hispanic black students (35%) reside in poverty and about one-in-ten non-Hispanic white students live in a poor household.
    Foreign-born Hispanic students (35%) are more likely than their native-born counterparts (27%) to live in poverty.
    The report, One-in-Five and Growing Fast: A Profile of Hispanic Public School Students, is available on the Center's website,

    Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center, is a non-partisan, non-advocacy research organization based in Washington, D.C. and is funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts.

  2. Damm I'm finally here!

    Even though I'm still unsure-- if I'm posting in the right spot, oh well.

    In any event, a few of my suggestions for the toolbox, "events around the globe: as it happens + reports", "resource bank", which might have links to legal/accounting experts within arts communities, this might require us to go out and find liasons, "watch events" not a very good name but an archive of videos of events/performances/ etc. posted by members, so we can watch what's going on. etc.

    Okay, that's all I have for now.
    peace yall,
    Katie Ka Vang

  3. Claudia - I think it is a good idea but I am not sure if I fully understand the purpose of the site. It would seem to me, speaking on the organizational side of things, that if you were to create something like this, it should be more of a tool. I am not saying this very eloquently - If I were an organization and knew about this site, I am not sure how having (I am distilling your concept down) info on brown or black folk is suppose to propel me into diversity enlightenment. I think for the individual the concept seems solid. If I understand it correctly, it is a social networking tool.

    Please ask me questions if you don't understand.

  4. I'm inspired by the many conversations I have had with professionals in the field who say they can not "find" professionals of color. Is it becuase they aren't around? I find that hard to believe. Is it because our young professionals get poached from the field at a young age? I remember being a young professional of color and not being able to "find" opportunitues. It could be becuase we don't know how to nework suceswsfully wihtoin our own soical networks. It might be cuase the people hiring don't know where to find us. Theis site woud serve as a tool for both artists of color looking for career paths and inspiraton as well as organizations looking to deepen thier diversity. I speak in this in waaay too narrow a scope. I'm thinking in terms of all types of diversity, age, locations, skill set, ability. etc. The cool thing about a site like this is it's user generated so the success is on us