Learning & Conversation Tools

Some resources to help you have conversations around diversity + inclusion.

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Conversation Starters
  • Diversity and inclusion is something I / my artist / my venue is really passionate about.
  • It’s really important to me / my artist / my venue to have good representation on stage that reflects our audiences.
  • It’s really important to me / the festival that we have a balanced crew.


  • Can you tell me who else is on the lineup? We really love playing / booking shows where the lineup reflects the audience.
  • Can you tell me who you’re planning to send out as crew on this show?
  • Can you tell me who else is working this gig?


  • I notice that the lineup so far is all white / male…. are any other acts going to be added to balance that out?
  • I notice our crew so far is all white / male… do you have any plans to bring anyone else on board? Can I help in any way?


  • Can you tell me what your festival / venue / business approach is to diversity and inclusion on your lineups? Is this something you think about when you’re booking?
  • There’s an increased focus on staffing our shows / tours more diversely. Is this something your company is thinking about at all?
  • Is there anything I can do to help you diversify your books a bit more?


  • It would be really great to get some support acts on this show / tour who aren’t white / male. Have you thought about that? Do you need any suggestions of where to look / who to talk to?
  • It would be really great to have a more balanced crew on this show / tour. I’m happy to help with suggestions if you like.


  • Do you have anyone on your books / can you suggest any acts who will help balance out the lineup on this one?
  • Do you have any crew you can send us / hire who will help us diversify this crew?


  • We’ve had a really positive experience with hiring more broadly recently, it’s been great to round out our team with some different experiences and perspectives.
  • We’ve been getting more requests from our audiences to see better representation in our venue, how would you feel about mixing up the lineups a bit more for your regular clubnight?


  • Our agency / company is looking at implementing Inclusion Riders across our whole roster. We feel this reflects our values and aspirations for the live music industry. How would you feel about this being in your contract?
  • Some of our other artists have asked for us to use Inclusion Riders in their contracts; is this something you’d also be interested in? 
    Why Representation Matters

    “The more diverse the representation, the more people recognise their right to exist. If you have all cis white men on your board/front bench/panel, it’s an implicit endorsement that they are the only ones with authority.”

    Leonie Hayden at the Spinoff: Why diversity matters (and no one should need to write this headline in 2020)


      “… We all need to be ‘mirrored’ in the public sphere (popular culture, media, arts, etc.) to be considered a fully human, fully social being. Identities are formed by watching sports, theatre, TV, and YouTube; by playing video games, dancing, and listening to music. Those are more than just forms of entertainment, they stage “visions of possibility” for what and who we can become. Because marginalized populations have fewer role models in the workplace and society in general, we need more expansive and generous visions of possibility that tell stories of people from different races, genders, sexualities, classes, abilities, cultures. Everyone should have the opportunity to be recognized as fully human.”

      USC Prof Dorinne Kondo on Why seeing marginalised communities in pop culture matters


        “Representation matters, because ‘If she can see it, she can be it.’ Our children’s early experiences — including the hours spent consuming media — shape what they imagine to be possible for people who look like them, live where they live, or come from where they came from. Simply put, kids determine what they can be based on the examples around them.”

        Laura Thomas on Why representation matters

        Diversity vs. Inclusion

        What’s the difference between diversity and inclusion?

        Diversity is about the who – who makes up your workforce? What’s the composition of your team?

        Inclusion is about the how – how is everyone treated inside that workplace? Are all people given the same opportunity to participate and thrive?

        It’s possible to have a diverse team but not an inclusive one if certain teammembers are being marginalised. For example, you may have some women on your team, but they may be paid less or excluded from decision-making. This is why it’s important to hold up the mirror and think carefully about what kind of culture you’re fostering when you’re talking about diversity.

        What Does Workplace Culture Have to Do With It?

        So we’ve talked about Diversity vs. Inclusion (above), and the notion that a diverse group isn’t necessarily an inclusive group.

        Having a workplace culture that is welcoming and comfortable for everyone regardless of gender, sexuality, skin colour, dis/ability, and supports all its members to participate equally, is a key component in gaining and retaining a diverse team.

        Nobody wants to play (or work) on a show as the only woman/POC/visibly queer person/tangata whenua if they think the environment will be a hostile one, even if that hostility is unintentional on the part of everyone else.

        Having a diverse workplace – and in particular diversity in your leadership team – also does things like reduce the chances of sexual and racial harassment.

        That’s why holding up the mirror to your own team is an important step 1 of any ‘where do I start?’

        Unconscious Bias

        What is unconscious bias?

        Unconscious biases, or implicit biases, are attitudes that are held subconsciously and affect the way individuals feel and think about others around them.” (source)

        Unconscious bias can take many forms, including:

        • assuming someone is not a good ‘culture fit’ because they are not enough ‘like the rest of us’
        • thinking that men are naturally better leaders
        • making assumptions about capability or education based on how someone looks or sounds

        More on Unconscious Bias in the Workplace

        Unconscious Bias Resources from the University of Auckland