The Colour Cycle

A podcast that aims to disrupt cultural whitewashing and asks do our Arts and Screens look like Australia?

The latest Census statistics paint a picture of Australia that many of us already see on our streets - almost half of Australia’s population are first or second-generation migrants. But we don’t see this diversity when we go to the theatre, or visit an art gallery, or even when we watch TV at home. So what does it feel like if your culture is largely invisible? In this original podcast series by Diversity Arts Australia, we’ll ask this question of some of Australia’s leading culturally diverse artists and arts workers. We’ll look at what’s working and explore ways to increase diversity so our arts and screens look like the real Australia.

This ancient continent has been populated by diverse groups of people and artists from over 500 language groups and nations. We recognise that diversity didn’t start with Australia’s European colonisations and the migrants who came after. But too often Australia’s indigenous artists are relegated into one box to tick. In this episode, we talk to two important indigenous artists, Lily Shearer and Colin Kinchella about what we can learn from the diversity of Australia’s first peoples.

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We often talk about the need for quotas to compel arts organisations to include more diversity in their programming. When Create NSW’s Screen division introduced a 50 50 quota for gender - they significantly increased the participation of female directors, writers and producers within a very short period of time. So could quotas work to create a more culturally diverse arts sector? This was a hot topic at the Beyond Tick Boxes symposium in 2017 with an animated panel discussion that we recorded live and nicknamed "Where are the teeth?".

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Over this podcast series we've heard lot's of strategies for increasing cultural diversity in the Arts and on our Screens - so are we there yet? Well we're on our way but still have a long way to go according to a panel discussion which Diversity Arts Australia hosted at the Performing Arts Connections Australia conference (Australia's peak performing arts body for theatre, dance and performing arts). The panel included some Colour Cycle alumni; Sunil Badami, Benjamin Law, Zainab Syed, Maria Tran and Jackie Bailey. 

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In our first bonus episode we are playing a live recording of the speech from Australia's Race Discrimination Commissioner Dr Tim Soutphommosane, the Beyond Tick Boxes Symposium. It was so good we just had to share it with you. He challenges Australians to think about cultural diversity as more than just going out for souvlaki, dim suns or pho. Dr Soutphommosane also poses the question whether creative expression is a human right? 

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Many people have made assumptions about our next two guests. Zainab Syed is a performance poet from Pakistan, she wears a headscarf so people assume she’s a refugee or hardship and that her work should reflect this. But her story is one of privilege. We’ll talk to her about “Changing the Narrative” - how do you change the stereotypes or assumptions made about artists of colour. We also meet Kevin Bathman whose work about the inter-marriages of Indian and Chinese couples in south-east Asia doesn’t fit easily into most boxes.