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The management and measurement of inequality in the cultural sector

Dr Susan Oman (University of Sheffield) explores issues of management and measurement of inequality in the cultural sector.

The cultural sector has resolved to make its institutions and places of work more welcoming and inclusive, pledging to address inequality. Yet, increasing attention is being placed on whether mounting resource and rhetoric for diversity work has achieved a fairer cultural sector, and indeed, how we might monitor or evaluate success.

This public lecture looks at some of the issues of management and measurement of inequality. It reflects on two years’ research into data practices and equality monitoring processes across the sector and aims for a pragmatic reflection on where the sector is in terms of inequality – and who needs to take action.

The work of diversity is demanding and falls out of mind in day-to-day practice for many. The cultural sector needs to be more reflexive, honest and realistic about what is possible – and from whom. If the sector pledges to tackle inequality, it has to be a focus and responsibility for all, all the time, not just those with diversity in their job title.

Dr. Susan Oman is a Research Associate at the University of Sheffield. She held two consecutive AHRC fellowships looking at data in the creative economy: one, in the Sheffield Methods Institute (2019), and one in the School of Media and Communications at the University of Leeds (2018).

Susan was recently awarded an Honorary fellowship to the Institute of Cultural Practices at University of Manchester in recognition of her research on methods, data and partnership working in the cultural sector.

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