Inclusion in the Creative Workplace

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About This Project

With assistance from the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade, WorkInCulture is supporting the efforts of the sector towards more inclusion by developing Inclusion in the Creative Workplace, a program of resources in this area. In particular, our focus is on advancing diversity and inclusion in the creative workforce including among its volunteers.

Statistics from Enriching Our Work in Culture, a 2008 research report from WorkInCulture, show that 60% of organizations in the sector employ 4 or fewer fulltime employees. At the same time, the micro, small and medium-size organizations which dominate the sector want to improve their efforts towards inclusion, yet may lack the HR knowledge, practices and resources to put toward the effort.

The Inclusion in the Creative Workplace program supports the efforts of these smaller workplaces towards inclusion by developing elements that can be freely used and adapted by people in the sector. It is multi-faceted – including informational resources, tools and training.

WorkInCulture developed its understandings of inclusion and diversity by exploring and adapting commonly accepted definitions (such as those in the glossary of the Ontario Human Rights Commission).

Inclusion – appreciating and using our unique differences in a way that shows respect for the individual and ultimately creates a dynamic multidimensional organization.

Diversity – the presence of a wide range of human qualities and attributes within an individual, group or organization. Diversity includes such factors as age, sex, race, ethnicity, physical and intellectual abilities, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity, educational background and expertise.


WorkInCulture collaborated with two key partners – TRIEC (the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council) on the development of training; and Hot Docs (the Canadian International Documentary Festival) on volunteer management questions.

WorkInCulture advocates a framework for change which includes:

  •     Articulating a vision of inclusion
  •     Research and self-reflection about progress towards inclusion
  •     Making a business case for the implementation of inclusive practices
  •     Implementation of inclusive practices
  •     Revisions to public image and communications
  •     Continuous evaluation and change.

Five individuals from the sector formed our advisory group to consult on development of the program and 16 arts organizations from around the province agreed to be a cohort to assess materials, examples and learning elements. We appreciate  their help in offering feedback.


Program Elements

Materials and information have been written from the perspective of those working in a typical small arts and culture workplace. Wherever possible our examples and language are taken directly from the sector.

The key elements are:

  • The Inclusive HR Toolkit is a general online resource addressing human resources practices from the perspective of inclusion. It includes adaptable and adoptable policy examples, best practices, links, resources and checklists.
  • WorkInCulture has also posted 4 interviews to its YouTube channel; the interviews describe the personal experiences and advice of people working in the sector.
  • WorkInCulture, with TRIEC’s help, has developed and posted two free eLearning modules on developing the case for inclusion.
  • WorkInCulture is working with Hot Docs to promote good volunteer management practices (including a new manual on volunteer management), and developed a section in our Resource Kit on diversity and inclusion in volunteer practices to complement the manual and materials developed by Hot Docs.
  • Finally, working with TRIEC, WorkInCulture has created and tested an in-person workshop on initiating and implementing diversity and inclusion initiatives in the creative workplace. 


Benefits of an Inclusive Approach

The benefits of an inclusive approach are many:

  • Expanding the pool of talent and enhancing creative diversity and innovation
  • Training new generations from a range of backgrounds in order to address succession challenges
  • Taking advantage of the expertise of all generations of cultural professionals
  • Broadening the perspective and skills of organizations and leaders to make decisions and grapple with change
  • Developing individuals’ skills such as cultural self-awareness and cross-cultural communication
  • Extending opportunities for partnerships, markets and audiences (audience and market diversity)
  • Enhancing community engagement