Listening Session Report

MAAE R.I.D.E. Committee - addressing Racism, Inclusion, Diversity, Equity


MAAE is committed to determining a course of action to foster culturally responsive learning, and work to dismantle systemic racism and bias. The Missouri Alliance for Arts Education Committee on Racism, Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity - called R.I.D.E. was formed in early June, 2020 to reduce systemic racism and bias present in arts education programs in our state.

The committee's first project consisted of four listening sessions conducted from August-October, 2020, that focused on observations of the limited participation by people of color at professional development conferences and performance/exhibition opportunities. The committee was also interested in, exploring the role that systemic racism or bias may play into these phenomena.

A diverse group of sixteen individuals participated in four one-hour listening sessions with members of the committee. Participant responses were analyzed inductively within and across sessions by a committee member who was not present at the listening sessions. This analysis was then compared with debriefings of committees members. All listening session participants were provided with a copy of the results and invited to participate in two sessions in which the results were reviewed. Refinements were made to the report based upon participant feedback In examining participant responses eight prevalent themes emerged:

  1. Published Literature within the field

  2. Contest Judging Systemic Biases and Concerns

  3. Student preparation of candidates for higher ed

  4. Relationships within higher ed and collegial world

  5. Conference presentation topics/offerings (relevance of content.)

  6. Personal Barriers to Participation
 - People unwilling to seek, ask/apply

  7. School District Barriers

  8. Emotional toll of dealing with systemic racism

The next steps of the committee will involve developing plans to (a) collaborate with arts education associations, (b) secure financial support, (c) increase the network of individuals, associations, institutions and (d) continue to study the issue. The committee has also developed an non-prioritized list of ideas of additional potential actions based upon this project.

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