By Jaime Sharp
Social justice advocacy group Black Opera Alliance (BOA) and international arts management consultants TRG Arts have announced a partnership to further BOA’s mission to expose racial inequity and under-representation of the African diaspora in all facets of the opera sector and promote reform.
In September 2020, BOA released their “Pledge for Racial Equity and Systemic Change in Opera,” which maps out eight areas of needed transformation. As the opera field seeks out truer equity, inclusion and racial justice, this framework provides specific requirements and timelines.
BOA is eager to understand whether The Pledge is being followed and if progress is being made. BOA is also committed to helping the sector understand how to make this needed transformation.
“We are pleased to partner with TRG Arts in this incredibly important work because we believe their expertise in data analysis and benchmarking is crucial to ensuring that change in our sector happens. Lack of industry-wide accountability has been a prime culprit in stalling substantive industry progress in the EDI space. This partnership will aid in BOA’s goal to shine a spotlight on the sector’s progress with The Pledge,” said Dr. Derrell Acon, Project Director / BOA Leadership Council.
Through this partnership, a system will be created for the sector so that benchmarks can be learned, and progress can be tracked and shared. Additionally, BOA and TRG Arts plan to release quarterly Insight Reports in 2021 that will detail how the sector is making strides towards The Pledge’s requirements.
“We are so proud to be invited to participate at Black Opera Alliance’s table. At TRG Arts, we have witnessed the powerful transformation that can happen when data are collected and analyzed, and insights are shared,” said TRG Arts CEO Jill Robinson. “Supporting Black Opera Alliance’s work to expose racial inequity and under-representation, and promote reform is an honor for us. The time for action in our sector is now.”
Dr. Acon continued, “While colleagues at TRG Arts offer a wealth of experience in arts analytics, our BOA team brings a myriad of critical perspectives as marginalized artists and administrators in the opera field. The collaboration is magic.”
“Insight reporting to the sector on our findings will mightily advance Opera’s understanding and approach to this work, as well as further position BOA as a leader in the broader performing arts sector vis-à-vis verifiable change and accountability in the spheres of racial equity and social justice.”
Jaime Sharp is an administrative assistant with the Black Opera Alliance.