One of the great resources that has been produced by the arts, culture and heritage sector to support the creation of a more equitable and inclusive cultural environment in the province is Inclusion 2025: A Practitioner’s Guide to Inclusive Museums. This resource was part of a larger project led by the Ontario Museums Association (OMA), the ROM and the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion (CCDI) to address the current gaps in diversity and inclusion in the cultural sector and to respond in a meaningful way to community voices calling for substantive change.
Inclusion 2025 is a very practical guide that includes the following sections:
- diversity & inclusion principles in the museums context
- case studies of institutions implementing inclusion in their own spaces
- a resource library to enable users to approach their particular area of museum work with a diversity and inclusion lens (categories include everything from collections development, education & interpretation to curatorial practice, HR & governance)
To frame the guide, the authors provide the following introduction that names what’s at stake for the museum sector in doing this important work. These words are an important call to action.
"Museums are meaning-making institutions. They play a crucial role in shaping our understanding of the world, our communities and our relationships through the knowledges they share and stories they tell. While best efforts are made to engage diverse audiences, the stories told and how they are shared are heavily influenced by an institution’s ‘status quo’. These explicit and implicit standards of practice are often rooted in legacies of power and oppression that persist within our institutions. These legacies tend to privilege the white male experience and ultimately reinforce Euro-centric ableist narratives of patriarchy, exploitation, colonization and heteronormativity. Unconscious bias and a lack of cultural competence further perpetuate these narratives within our institutions.
Museums need to look inward in order to understand how the internal practices and legacies of power impact who museums are for and how they may be failing to reflect diverse audiences. That is, by addressing how and by whom cultural institutions are designed, museums can begin to critically reflect on whose experiences are acknowledged, whose are not, and how this may impact audience and community engagement."