CFP: Themed Issue on Axes of Oppression in the Cultural Sector – IPED International Journal

The Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Equality and Diversity (IPED) international journal invites submissions to a special issue titled: ‘Innovations, Intersections, and Institutions: Axes of Oppression in the Cultural Sector’.

There has been an increasingly visible discourse on diversity — and more precisely, the lack of it — in many cultural sectors across the Global North, particularly in major global ventures such as Hollywood (Hunt et al. 2019) and through national reporting practices (DCMS 2016). This increased awareness is usually followed by discursive calls to increase diversity in cultural institutions, as in the Arts Council England’s “Creative Case for Diversity” and various institutional initiatives in the US, Australia and others, which have been launched in the last decade. Furthermore, there have been many activist calls to decolonise public spaces and cultural practices, which are starting to make an impact on institutional practices.

However, the term diversity is a problematic one that often fails to account for the importance of the intersectionality of multiple axes of oppression and the interplay of varied social constructs such as race/ethnicity and gender, religion, sexuality, class, disability, and so on. Moreover, institutional diversity initiatives are typically the result of an institution being reactive to short-term funding calls or political agendas, and ultimately fail to address structural inequalities or understand the artistic and economic value of diverse artists and content.

Artistic works that negotiate these intersections — of oppression and marginalisation — often offer fertile ground for innovative artistic processes to address the complexity of their subject matter and challenge the hegemonic nature of the cultural sector. This special issue is interested in highlighting these artistic negotiations, creative processes, and survival strategies, as well as the contributions of ethnic minority and decolonial artists, that unsettle hegemonic structures in the Global North. A particular emphasis is on articulating and unpacking, in artistic and ethnographic detail (Conquergood 1985), these creative processes and the negotiations that marginalised artists/voices undertake while they are creating new work.

Further, this special issue recognises the ongoing reinvention and regeneration of the cultural sectors in the Global North, while aiming to examine the grassroots efforts that are contributing to these changes. These efforts could refer to new economic, artistic, and/or social initiatives that are revitalising the sector from the bottom up. We welcome contributions from a range of disciplines including cultural studies, performance studies, sociology, and anthropology that take the form of articles (4000-6000 words) or reflections (1000-2000 words) in response to one or more of the following questions:

1) Using recent attempts to diversify cultural institutions in the Global North as a point of departure, what processual value does the mainstreaming of marginalised artists/voices add to the cultural sector as a whole?

2) How do multiple axes of oppression manifest in creative artistic processes?

3) What strategies of survival do marginalised artists/voices use to create and showcase work in a cultural space dominated by hegemonic institutions?

4) Through engaging cultural production, how have marginalised artists/voices instigated institutional and structural change?

5) How do the recent calls to decolonise culture and public spaces contribute to imagining alternative cultural spaces, and generating new modes of cultural production

Abstracts (250 words) with a title and a short bio (100 words) should be sent to Roaa and Asif by late 1st of September 2019. We expect that contributors will submit first drafts by February 2020, but we are happy to extend this – please let us know and we can negotiate a new submission date. After receiving editorial and peer-reviewed feedback, second drafts are due by July 2020, with an expected publication date of September 2020.

The Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Equality and Diversity (IPED) is an open access journal open to academics and practitioners globally.


Conquergood, Dwight. 1985. “Performing as a Moral Act: Ethical Dimensions of the Ethnography of Performance.” Literature in Performance 5 (2): 1–13.

Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS). 2016. “Creative industries: Focus on Employment”.

Hunt, Darnell, Ana-Christina Ramón, and Michael Tran. 2019. “Hollywood Diversity Report.”