Pluralism and cultural diversity
The Mondriaan Fund has expressed a vision of cultural diversity in the 2017-2020 policy plan. It thereby takes into account the Code Cultural Diversity. Since 2011 this code has offered the cultural sector a handle for expressing, implementing and evaluating diversity policies. The Mondriaan Fund structurally assesses to what extent this code is complied with.
What is meant by pluralism and cultural diversity?
The theme of cultural diversity has been on the agenda of the Mondriaan Fund for several years. The fund prefers to use the broader and more inclusive concept of (cultural) pluralism or inclusivity, which attends not only to cultural origin and background, but also to gender, age or regional distribution. The fund wishes to contribute to this pluralism and take it a step further.
What is the vision of the Mondriaan Fund?
In the 2017-2020 policy plan, the Mondriaan Fund has expressed a vision of pluralism starting from the broader basic principle that the citizens of the present and the future form the starting point and legitimacy of the fund. This conviction is embedded in the toolkit and method of the fund, which wants to be as open and inclusive as possible.
As a public fund, the Mondriaan Fund, on behalf of citizens, invests in visual art and cultural heritage. These are pluralist and support an open democracy. They are also an extremely public good. And they form an exercise in plurality; they see to variations of reality; they are by their nature cosmopolitan and boundless. They start from possibilities rather than boundaries. Consequently, they contribute to a free mind and an open view, which are so indispensable for a democracy that represents more than the voice of the majority. The fund encourages the laboratory function of art and heritage and the exciting and unifying role they play in society. A flourishing cultural life involves more than just the spectacular, the known and the established. It is also about supporting the as yet unknown; the not yet established, interesting initiatives that wish to speak a different artistic language and/or have found alternative ways to reach the audience. These dynamics stimulate the innovation of cultural life.
What does this mean in practice?
Pluralism forms an integral part of the practice of the fund. The Mondriaan Fund, as the code requests, sets specific targets on the issue of pluralism. As for advisors, employees and supervisors, the fund aims at a representative reflection of society. In the appointment of new advisors as well as the recruitment policy of fund employees, the fund pays attention to backgrounds that are as diverse as society itself. Furthermore, when appointing advisors and employees, the fund endeavours to ensure that they possess the competence of ‘intercultural sensitivity’, as it is described in the code: ‘The extent to which a person actively shows an interest in others, their backgrounds, needs and perspectives.’ The following is applicable to employee vacancies: all vacancies are distributed through key figures and within culturally diverse networks such as that of Binoq Atana, the recruitment agency Colourful People and regional networks such as those of We The North.
In the assessment of applications, the fund makes use of advisors. They are experts in their area and are able to properly evaluate the applications. The advisors are recruited publicly and appointed on the recommendation of a selection committee. At the selection, it is important that the advisory committees are composed in such a way that they can pass judgment about all aspects and across the entire width of the applications submitted to them. Therefore, the advisors must possess knowledge of the field, the ability to analyse, to look beyond their own preferences, and to be able to come to a balanced judgment. For the Mondriaan Fund, it is important that advisors have an open view, that they have a broad and inclusive way of looking and judging, that they can offer new and open perspectives on developments in visual art and cultural heritage and society. Specific attention is paid to pluralism and intercultural sensitivity, which means the ability to take an interest in others, their backgrounds, needs and perspectives. The appointment of advisors also takes into account distribution in all its aspects: in terms of geography, gender, cultural diversity, age et cetera.
In the decision about the allocation of a grant, an inclusive concept of quality represents an important criterion. This forms part of the General Terms and Conditions of the fund, and is described as follows: “The point of departure is an inclusive concept of quality which takes into account the particular context within which each application is submitted or carried out. The Mondriaan Fund wants to contribute to the pluralism that is characteristic of visual art and cultural heritage. In doing so, cultural, geographical and other forms of diversity are considered.” With this concept of quality and the points of emphasis from the policy plan, the criteria from the policy framework are guaranteed, namely: artistic quality, advancement of education and participation, social value and geographic distribution.
The fund active promotes its vision, which is also a foundation of the code, by placing pluralist example projects prominently on its website, for example, and by amplifying them, where relevant, with a blog, and by translating the vision to concrete actions for the public and for employees. In its communication, the Mondriaan Fund – following plans of the cabinet – aims to communicate as much as possible in a gender-inclusive way. The communication strategy of the Mondriaan Fund is in keeping with the vision and goals from the policy plan, as described above. The Mondriaan Fund wishes to be an open and inclusive fund, and to effectively convey what it stands for, who can apply, and what kind of valuable results that yields to society.