At the July Insights and Ideas cafe many people reported their feelings of respect and admiration for the inspiring individuals speaking about their experiences. The amazing and wide-impacting work that these people had instigated on equalities had inspired diverse communities.
One of the interesting aspects of each talk was the consistent prejudice, discrimination and ignorance that still pervade our society regarding under-represented groups. The speakers really drew the audiences’ awareness to the fact that modern assumptions of equality still need to be tackled. This was especially poignant when Annie Park was discussing youth suicide at the hands of persistent bullying. The Loud and Proud Choir offers community and group support for those who feel they have had no-one else to turn to.
What is interesting and important was that these groups – the Glasgow Women’s Library, Loud and Proud Choir, Solar Bear and Deaf Theatre Club – are in an amazing position to offer support for hard-to-reach groups. For example, the Glasgow Women’s Library has established some strong networks with older Muslim women. Sarah Cowie had also inspired East Lothian Council Museums to include and access groups they had never previously thought off. The Deaf Theatre Club is the first of its kind in Scotland and tapping into the myriad of talents within young Scottish people.
In this current climate the work that they do is becoming ever more important. The current public spending cuts in the UK are disproportionately hitting certain groups in society. In figures from the Fawcett Society, they show that out of 18 billion in planned public sector cuts, 15 billion of those will directly hit women. Demos have also reported that 9 billion worth of cuts will hit disabled people. Furthermore, the Child Poverty Action Group has estimated that child poverty will rise by 400,000 by 2015.
Cultural organisations are key to not only encouraging awareness of the unfair structures in society but at tackling them as well. The support that the talkers gave to individuals and groups was truly inspiring.