A Jacky Winter Statement of Intention.
💡 This is a living document and will change and update as frequently as we will ourselves as a business. We welcome feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org
Our statement of commitment to the First Nations of Australia has been published and available to view here. We have also updated our list of actions below.
The upheaval and suffering following the murder of George Floyd, countless others, and the subsequent protests, is a direct result of centuries of causes and conditions that have given rise to racism and violence. While it is encouraging to see such quick and decisive action being taken by so many, it is also a sobering reminder of the ignorance many of us, Jacky Winter included, have maintained for so long in the face of systemic racism. This moment of realisation isn’t about becoming aware of our own ingrained racism and privilege, it’s about becoming ashamed of our willful ignorance and lack of effort to change what we were seeing in front of us.
We are, quite literally, in the business of representation – or so we thought. It’s one thing to say the makeup of our company and roster should reflect the inclusivity of the industries we serve – but media, publishing, advertising and design are not very inclusive. They are built into the very fabric of capitalism, which is the biggest cultural and financial mechanism for sustaining and rewarding racism. It has been easy for us to view the commercial art world as somewhat of a meritocracy – based on the quality of the artwork and nothing else – and that this was a good thing. But this narrow view neglects the key factors that play a role in who is enabled to get into the arts in the first place and which art is considered commercially viable. Systemic racism does not allow all work of merit to rise to the top and thinking otherwise enables white supremacist culture.
The work we do as agents and producers directly affects the work represented in the commercial landscape. Now more than ever, we realise that our position and privilege affect which artists and artwork are recognised, legitimised and compensated. We have the power and platform to reframe representation and be a stronger voice not just for commercial art, but with specific focus on the biases and prejudices that are so deeply embedded within the current socioeconomic structure. It is our obligation as a company to educate ourselves, scrutinise our practices, make meaningful change and be held accountable for our influence.
We have offices in Melbourne, Australia and New York City, USA. Both countries have a corrosive history and presence of violence and racism, and within each there are BIPOC communities to which we have a responsibility to do far more. We are committing to utilising our resources of time, money and privilege to take actions that provide meaningful opportunities for First Nations and Black creatives.
Below is a summary of some of the changes we have made or will make across each office and throughout Jacky Winter to directly address the injustices against these communities:
- Through our UK office, Jacky Winter has joined Agents for Change, an "assembly of illustration-based agencies in the UK, working together with the shared goal of increasing diversity across the creative industry ... collectively providing support and resources for young people and emerging artists of all ages who belong to typically underrepresented groups."
- Over the past 18 months, we have been working towards establishing a First Nations voice and increasing First Nations representation at Jacky Winter. In collaboration with design researcher Nicola St John and RMIT University, and directly alongside First Nations community members we are attempting to increase access, representation and compensation of First Nations artists and designers through a support system that is culturally safe, inclusive and supportive. We are working to privilege First Nations voices within the process, draw on First Nations’ ways of working, and follow the expertise of those familiar with First Nations cultural and intellectual property. We are creating something alongside and supported by the First Nations community so it can be sustainable for the long-term future.
- We have engaged Emrhan Tjapanagka Sultan of Sul Nation – Mukulri Art and Consultancy to assist us with drafting a formal Statement of Commitment to the First Nations of Australia that we will use actively to be a north star for our Australian operations. (Update 2021-02-04 - This is now complete and available to view here.)
- Emrhan is also assisting us with a takeover of our social media feed during the upcoming NAIDOC week (July 5–12) to help use our platform to celebrate First Nations artists both past, present and emerging. (Update 2021-02-04 - NAIDOC week moved to November and takeover is currently on our fees for that time)
- Donations to multiple bail funds in the US through ActBlue and set up of recurring donations to organisations in both the US and Australia who are directly doing the work to dismantle systems of racism and oppression, including Paying The Rent. (Update 2021-09-09 still in progress - see our instagram stories for receipts of all donations)
- Exhibitions through our gallery, Lamington Drive, that either give back to or exclusively feature artwork by BIPOC artists, and residencies through Jacky Winter Gardens. We pledge to work together with relevant parties and voices to do this in an appropriate way.
As the hosts of Creative Mornings Melbourne, we pledge to engage more BIPOC speakers from all areas of the creative industries.
- In the coming weeks we are launching our new season. We are actively seeking out and reviewing folios with the hope that a number of Black artists will be part of this intake. This will not be a once-off, knee-jerk reaction, but a long-term commitment to seeking out and elevating the careers of artists who are, literally and figuratively, less represented. Inclusivity will be a priority, not only for this coming season, but for all seasons to come.
- To fully support and engage BIPOC artists, we need BIPOC agents and producers. We are actively working to reform internal HR policies so that inclusivity is a priority for future hires.
- All staff will be involved in ongoing inclusivity, antiracism and unconscious bias training, in addition to specific training on how to ethically and respectfully engage and work with First Nations artists. (Update 2021-04-23 - All production staff have completed the 'True Tracks' program hosted by Terri Janke and Company)