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Equality, Diversity and Inclusion within Festival Organisations

British Council’s Festival Connections delivered an exciting workshop addressing the nuances of equality, diversity and inclusion within Festival Organisations!

Participants gained a comprehensive understanding of how to increase their talent pool, encourage diverse perspectives to drive individual and team performance, and eliminate impediments to creating an inclusive organisational culture, practices and policies. Participants got a crash course in how to foster a culture of inclusion where employees feel respected and their perspectives and contributions valued. The workshop examined potential barriers to both diversity and inclusion and design measurable solutions to overcome those obstacles.

Priyanka Shetty (Senior Manager - Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Pride Circle) was one of the workshop facilitators who shared insight on organizational inclusion, measuring culture, and designing interventions for the workplace.

Our second facilitator was Hafiz Furqan Bashir (Regional Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) - South Asia, British Council) who gave valuable input on designing EDI policy, and evaluation methods available to organizations.

The workshop also had a guest speaker, Solo (writer, illustrator, and creative director) who provided a practitioner perspective on the importance of creating spaces that prioritize equitable practices.

Priyanka Shetty opened by contextualizing queer inclusion for which she saw Section 377, which criminalised same gender love, as the biggest legal hurdle for companies in hiring LGBTQ+ people. She said that Supreme Court's ruling against Section 377 was a big win for the LGBTQ+ community. She stated that companies are now moving towards LGBTQ+ inclusion via affirmative hiring, healthcare insurance, transition coverage, and open Pride Month celebrations within organisations. On the question of why organisations should prioritize being LGBTQ+ inclusive, she referenced a study by Boston Consulting Group that reported 80% of the Gen Y and Gen Z workforce prefers to work for companies that are openly inclusive. She remarked that this could impact the future growth of organisations which would necessitate steering their direction towards equitable policies. She concluded by identifying concrete measures organisations could take in order to become more inclusive: hire from diverse communities, implement sensitization programmes, and channel supplier diversification by bringing in LGBTQ+ vendors.

Our second facilitator, Hafiz Bashir, first explained three important considerations organisations should center while devising strategies for ED: financial and operational committment, long-term planning and accountability, and goal achievability. He also reminded festival organisers that LGBTQ+ friendly venues among other festival arrangements should be prioritized. He provided the six area example of British Council, which involves inclusion along six axes: age, disability, race/ethnicity, gender, religion and belief, and sexual identity and asked organisers to think about which axis they would want to focus on. He concluded his talk by emphasising the need to put in place evaluation and monitoring tools at key intervals during a company's progression.

Date: Thursday, March 24

Time: 3:00 PM to 5:30 PM IST

An edited recording of the workshop will be available soon!


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