A new podcast that explores whether our arts and cultural sector truly reflects Australia’s multicultural society has been launched by Diversity Arts Australia. Hosted by DARTS Executive Director Lena Nahlous, The Colour Cycle is a seven-part series with an exciting line-up of guests including writer and actor Benjamin Law, Australian Race Discrimination Comissioner Dr Tim Soutphommasane, performance poet Zainab Syed, refugee arts worker Carolina Triana, and writer Sunil Badami.
Lena Nahlous and Zainab Syed.
“We want our podcast to open up conversations about why our arts and screens don’t reflect Australia’s real cultural diversity”, said Nahlous. “We’re also showcasing some brilliant artists and creative workers along the way”.
As data collected by the 2016 Census demonstrates, Australia is an increasingly diverse nation, with nearly half of our population first or second-generation migrants. Yet as the Australia Council’s 2017 Making Art Work report has shown, artists identifying as being from a non-English speaking background have consistently been underrepresented compared to the Australian workforce: they make up only 10 percent of artists compared to 18 percent of the workforce.
Highlights of the series include Benjamin Law discussing the challenges of casting an Asian-Australian family in his hit comedy The Family Law; Carolina Triana on how the first New Beginnings festival helped launch the careers of many refugee artists; and Sunil Badami on labels and why David Malouf is rarely referred to as a gay Lebanese author, merely a great Australian author. Nahlous also get her guests talking about how it feels to be underrepresented in media and possible strategies for change.
“We hope our podcast will challenge cultural whitewashing and the idea that you can just tick a box and tackle the ‘diversity issue’. The issues are not only attitudinal but also institutional and structural, and things can only shift when all of these elements change. We also intend to have a lot of fun and be a little provocative along the way”, said Nahlous.
The Colour Cycle podcast will be available on Apple iTunes.