A workshop I was teaching was being photographed. The photographer was a 20-something white woman from the countryside with a dominant culture background. At lunch we were talking about my own artwork and what I was trying to achieve in the workshop she had just observed.

She asked whether I make work about my area - we had just been working with my local school and the class was mostly Bengali British children. She seemed surprised when I said that I do make work in response to my locality - that I try to challenge the stereotypes of the area and the people who live there.

I explained that I try to point out to kids that there are many visual languages, just as there are spoken languages, and that we must recognise our own cultural position when it comes to reading, or interpreting, visual images. She said yes, that opens them up and they can use other [visual] languages in their own work if they are made aware of them. I stared at her. I couldn't be bothered explaining the problems with treating other culture's historical visual languages as fodder for your own creativity. I just thought again how difficult it is to explain to someone who is from the dominant culture (and she's from a particularly mono-cultural area) what it's like to not be. That not all territory is equal, not all intellectual property is treated the same and that it's not a level playing field.

I have to admit that on first sight I was already prejudiced against her. She was brought in because she's friends with my line manager. She does gallery and museum education herself and I just looked at her, listened to how she speaks and thought, there are enough middle class white dominant culture women in gallery education. You can't even see what the issues are from another perspective. Nepotism and Unequal Opportunites employment practice is bad enough (though that's also how I got the job) but when it replicates the same unthinking, uncritical stuff - it makes me despair - and angry.

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