I've been thinking a lot about how institutions, despite best intentions, maintain exclusive and homogenous workforces. I've been thinking about this because a couple of weeks or maybe months ago I sent in a proposal to my boss's boss to change the situation we have of an all white team (depending on how you define 'white' but the team definitely does not reflect London's diversity).

Not everyone can see the homogeneity or feels it as a problem or something to reflect on but if a person can see it, they usually just experience guilt and think about other things. No one seems to prioritise it. And to be honest, the only reason I prioritise it is because I don't like feeling so different myself. I don't like feeeling like the only not-normal person there. It makes me insecure in myself and for my job, so I guess it is self-interest my desire to force difference on everyone.

I had to write a lesson plan for a workshop about illustration. Being a visual artist and trained to thoroughly reject illustration as an interesting means of visual communication, I had to really research the topic before I could feel comfortable with it. I found a fantastic website, based through a university in the USA. The lecturer or author of the site took us through methods of visual analysis and deconstruction. She had a link also for interpreting visual information through issues like gender and ethncity.

This appeared all well and good, that she covered different contexts and perspectives informing illustration and how we interpret it, but these were links off the main page. This is my problem. Why is the model constantly replicated where there is a main story and then the side stories of gender or ethnicity? Why is ethnic or cultural context alway marginalised? Surely it is the very starting point? We start with our own ethnic and gendered and cultural positions... it's not marginal, it's the very centre of perception and interpretation. Why isn't it put there? Why isn't it prioritised like that? Nowadays, we have the theory and people who write for or work for institutions tick boxes by including these issues in side-bars or links and appendices. But, in fact, it's central. Context should be there at the beginning, a fundamental - because it's there anyway and you know whether you're included in it or not.

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