Audience Diversification – Foreword from Contributing Author Donna Walker-Kuhne
I am deeply inspired by the initiatives, dedication, and creativity demonstrated by the League of American Orchestras as they advance the goal of building a culture of inclusion in the orchestral field. This report is an essential guide, supported by research, which shares data on the experience, exposure, and necessity of engaging diverse audiences. The field needs a roadmap of best practices that demonstrates a path towards successful and impactful strategies to build a culture of inclusion and belonging.
The roadmap includes the importance of uniting staff towards the shared goals of building a diverse and inclusive environment with a consistent and robust foundation of training and application of learnings to their work. The knowledge that diverse demographics respond to cultivation in different ways requires orchestras to be nimble, creative, and opportunistic. All staff and musicians should be trained consistently in creating a welcoming space, sensitivity to cultural differences, and building trust with the community. The combination of diverse staff, diverse approaches to marketing, and diverse programming are also key components that stimulate interest and sustained participation.
There is an emergence of valuable work being done towards creating an inclusive environment in the orchestral field. It is based on a respectful integration of thoughtful programming with target communities. Study these orchestras, talk with them, and find out their learnings and mistakes. The orchestral field needs to unite and share. I am inspired and hopeful that brave, collaborative working will result in orchestras across the country attracting new audiences that truly reflect the diverse communities they serve.
Founder and President
Walker International Communications Group Inc.