Edinburgh Festival is *ordered* to be more diverse

The Scottish Government, responding to an online woke campaign is pressuting the international festival to be more female and diverse.

The festival says: ‘We make no excuses for our shortcomings and recognise that we are not yet where we want to be.

‘Whilst we are proud of our resulting programme and our ability to create work for more than 500 individuals, we acknowledge our failure to reflect the diversity of practice in our community and our responsibility to give voice to those whose voices have been marginalised.’

The language could be taken from a Stalinist confession.

Read here.

 

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  • There you go with the weaponisation of woke again. No, it’s not just like in Stalin’s day, but of course you knew that.

      • Yes, I do. You use the word as a slur against those who purport to be sensitive towards others. This weaponisation has been discussed by journalists—it’s not a concept I invented.

        • Why not do a blind audition? solves the issue. Sorry but I had a feminist music teacher at conservatory, she forced us to study and perform female composers in the 1700’s. They were awful. All I kept thinking was, I would rather be studying Mozart. Culturally speaking you can not compete with a Mozart. Sorry that women back then were not allowed to work as hard on a craft, but that is the way it was. If there are brilliant composers we are missing, fine. But if they are not as good it simply embarrasses women and minorities.

      • I see you revised your last sentence from ‘Just like in Stalin’s day’ to ‘The language could be taken from a Stalinist confession.’ Did you change your grasp of the meaning of words?

      • Now that universities have enlightened graduates on the need for enforcing diversity standards across the board, it’s occurring in every school, business, religious institution, government, etc.

        In the US we’ve been taught that all-White anything is racist in school and all over the media. Indeed my own synagogue has been identified as racist due me to no persons of color being present in administration. So, we must make accommodations for those we’ve discriminated against.

        As a 24 year old Jewish woman, I think it’s a real breakthrough! We are looking forward to welcoming more members of the community into our lives even though it’s a challenge for our elders like my parents.

        Shalom

        • When I was born, many decades ago Jews weren’t considered white, at least not in the States. Now not only do we get counted as white, but we’re accused of discriminating against non-whites. It’s a crazy kind of progress.

          • Clearly Jews are white. Whatever color would they be otherwise??

            It’s a good thing more inclusivity continues to head to Jewish places of worship too.

            People remain woefully underrepresented and underserved by many of the self-segregated neighborhoods. We see it all too often in Florida in Boca Raton and in New York. The neighborhoods De Blasio are set to shut down now are mostly orthodox and Hasidic. They have been too enclosed, too white and way too unfriendly to “outsiders” who don’t look like them.

            People of color have feelings and need to be included by Jews! This is why diversity is such a good thing and will open doors to so many disenfranchised peoples.

            We are ONE!

          • Depends on which Jew we’re talking about, doesn’t it. My black-haired, olive-skinned father could easily pass as a local in Arab states or South America. My black-haired, fair-skinned mother, not so much.

        • It’s all right to have all-black colleges in the US, but not all-white. It’s fine to have all-women’s colleges, but not all- male. I don’t know why the Supremes haven’t declared them un-Constitutional. This is just nonsense.
          .

        • Sure Lynn. Just to clarify: you say ‘As a 24 year old Jewish woman, I think it’s a real breakthrough!’. I’m sorry to be a diminutioner of your achievement but here in the UK thousands of Jewish women have reached the age of 24. I assume that you are from the USA (as you say ‘in the US we’ve been taught’…). In that case, even more achieve that status over there. If you are from the USA, don’t think that you are in any position to lecture us in the UK on how we should be more diverse.
          You say that ‘universities have enlightened graduates on the need for enforcing diversity standards across the board’. Where is the evidence please and where is the board? If you are referring to US universities, then all I can say is that they have made a pretty crap job of it – the USA has been and is to this day arguably the most institutionally racist nation in the ostensibly enlightened western world.
          You say ‘enforcing diversity’. Is there legislation on this? Will there be fines and imprisonment if graduates don’t? How will you measure whether a graduate has implemented diversity standards? Actually, I think you meant ‘undergraduates’ – I damn well hope so! I cannot see the universities carrying out regular compulsory diversity seminars, inquisitions and prosecutions on their long-departed alumni! It’s no good relying on the police either – here in the UK they cannot even enforce the wearing of masks on trains; I doubt whether they will be that keen on enforcing cultural standards. In the US they are too busy shooting and intimidating non-whites.
          Back to the matter in hand – diversity. When will we get a black woke woman Pope? When will we get a black king or queen in this country (other than on a chessboard)? Talking about chess, why is it that white always gets the first move? You wokers have lots of vital work to do to sort out these blatant inequalities.
          By the way, please could someone give me a dictionary definition of ‘Cultural Appropriation’? In short, if a white person has dreadlocks, is that CA? If a white woman wants to wear a sari, is that CA? If a white orchestra plays a work by Samuel Coleridge Taylor or Duke Ellington, is that CA? If a restaurant run by white proprietors prepares and serves up vindaloo or gumbo to white people is that CA? If a black actor plays Richard III, is that CA? If a white person plays Othello, is that CA? Do we excoriate such people for stealing other people’s cultures or do we celebrate their diversity? Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so they say.
          No ad hominem attacks or obfuscatory sophistry please. As they say, there’s no such thing as a silly question; there’s only a silly answer. Let’s hear the answers to these questions and the rationale behind them.

          • All that matters now is being a black…whatever, being a woman and being offended about…anything.

            Scholastic achievements and hard work just don’t cut it anymore babe.

            The left is label obsessed since they think it makes them appear to look intelligent. Of course not. It makes them look whiny about any little thing which is why people are sick of them and their constant crying, violence and insecurity.

            As for the religious footnote of Judaism it is important to realize it’s only a religion as opposed to a race. Democrats segregate everyone by COLOR and they only recognize 2 of them; white and black! Nobody else matters in their narrow world pervaded by sarcasm.

            Jews don’t have the power that blacks possess particularly in the USA. They’re not even spoken of anymore unless there’s some “hate crime” they’ve likely brought on themselves using their “white privilege”.

            Jews long have been too discriminating against persons of color and it’s taken BLM to start forcing them to treat others with respect. Besides a Jew, George Soros is funding them as he has ANTIFA since he feels so poorly about how Jews have hurt so many others. Glad he’s doing something about this! They hate other races too much and clearly need intervention.

          • Here is “White Privilege” on full display by VIOLENT Jews in NY.

            As usual there are NO POC’s and NO WOMEN included in their arrogant riot. Yeah RIOT baby!!!

            https://youtu.be/sWw73ol2GyI

            Their entitlement during a pandemic is absolutely disgusting! Most aren’t following Governor Andrew Cuomo’s rules either. Jews need to be MUCH more humble and accepting of others. They all look the same!!!

            JESUS has a plan for them too y’all. WORD!

      • Norman, just like Woke Woman I take issue with the use of the word “woke”. It has become a dog-whistle, used to rally the troops, dismiss the views of those you disagree with and make the argument appear black-and-white so, yes, it has certainly been weaponized. Your use of it here totally distracted me from your take on the story, which may have merit. However, whenever I see that word it irritates and alienates me, and it makes the writer appear “gammon” (I am of the “gammon” demographic by the way) or “boomer”, words that I’ve never written before and would prefer not to use because they too provoke alienation instead of debate. Wouldn’t it be amazing if everyone on this site could try and debate matters in a more grownup and thoughtful way, and generally be less Trump! That includes you, Norman! We all have so much more in common than that which divides us.

        • Democrats have insurmountable mental health issues that revolve around their core of negativity.

          The unnecessary enmity seen in America towards President Trump began in 2016 when Hillary’s deception was revealed. It fully kicked in only on the Left on the eve of the elections when these people learned that living their lives based solely on insults, sarcasm, elaborate lies, higher Ed indoctrination with no way to pay for it and SJW “fashion statements” it not acceptable.

          Their party marketed themselves as accepting, inclusive, diverse, etc but obviously the Left is not. They’re divisive, arrogant, self-absorbed, projection prone, immature USERS!!!!! They sure don’t care about working class, unionized or blue collar Americans.

          Take what’s happening RIGHT NOW with AGMA. Such a prescient topic of total work-loss in a field long dominated by the Left and what are the powerful Democrat leaders doing? NOTHING!!! The endless moanings and whinings of The MET situation along with the lot of opera and symphonic organizations is PROOF POSITIVE! It’s all “story” and no ACTION! De Blasio, Cuomo and Schumer haven’t done a damn thing! They’re entirely too fixated on Trump to care about anything else. NYC is hemorrhaging residents along with the state due to their communist, high taxes and laws which enable criminals.

          It’s why Trump has had such a huge advantage and the left remains bitter, intellectually vapid, angry and powerless.

          • Great posting Fidel. If you’d lived 70 years ago that alone would have got you a top job as an advisor for the late Senator Joe Mccarthy. Think of it – you could have helped clean out the perfidious Commies.

    • WW, it’s sobering to realize that the educated cohort and the middle classes enthusiastically supported Hitler. No, it’s JUST LIKE Stalin: the harsh diktat, the removal to the gulag (cancel culture) and the junkyard dogs at the gates to ensure no diversity of opinion is allowed. Hideous, every bit of it.

      How well meaning communism started out to be!!

  • I hate to be so critical, but: “and our responsibility to give voice to those whose voices have been marginalised”

    People whose voice has been marginalized, already have a voice, they don’t need to be given one, they need opportunity, platform, to be listened to.

    How much is this more of what we’ve already filtered doesn’t make it, so you can join in and be token when you pass the filter?

    Just saying, that is worded a bit strangely…

  • My very Dear Friend Ruth, cycled from Merseyside to Edinburgh, to hear Kathleen Ferrier and Bruno Walter. Ms Ferrier was there because she was a magnificent musician and human being. Her voice, lifting the hearts of each and all who heard her. Similar can be said of Bruno Walter, and together, something spiritual happened in a world terrible bruised and hurt. Ought not these current times be times to reflect? Be blessed!

  • Well, that’s what you get when you take your eye off the ball to concentrate on “core resilience”. I literally have no idea what these people are talking about and frankly I’m glad I dont as they appear to occupy a very strange world indeed.

  • Stalinist language indeed. “self criticism”. A pillar of Stalinist culture.

    “give voice to those whose voices have been marginalised.”
    How, when and why have women – in fact – been marginalised in Scotland, in Greater Britain, in the last, let’s say 20-30, years?
    We are eager to learn. Facts please.

    • Yes, really. A couple of years ago I was watching on Sky News some minority party leader from Scotland — Green or Lib-Dem or some such — a woman, who was about to pack it in. I realised that the government was led by Nicola Sturgeon, and the Opposition by Ruth Davidson. Meanwhile, Theresa May was PM and Arlene Foster was ruling the roost in Belfast. (I think Wales was being led by a man).

      I wish the social engineers would give it a rest. People of all stripes were apparently voting for women without any undue pressure. By the same token, aside from any actual obstruction (like unequal pay, which women are speaking out about and with a lot of support from men), it seems women are making their way in most walks of life without this sort of patronising guff. Where they have not made inroads — the top of The City and the Fortune 500 companies — people are beginning to ask why. But they do not have to be babysat to the top — they are getting there on merit.

  • We aren’t presently living in Stalinist times but the wording as quoted above does indeed sound ‘Stalinist’ and makes one’s blood run cold.

  • ‘Whilst we are proud of our resulting programme and our ability to create work for more than 500 individuals, we acknowledge our failure to reflect the diversity of practice in our community and our responsibility to give voice to those whose voices have been marginalised.’
    You have to ask about the snowflakes of today “is anyone ****ing capable of doing anything for themselves in terms of initiative, creating opportunities and grafting away to get a break?” But I forgot, they need to be victims of some imaginary discrimination!

  • Why can’t Scotland be Scottish? Why does every last festival have to be homogenised to the point it’s impossible to tell one from another?

    (Is there some opposite call for, say, the Rapandar festival in Senegal to include a bunch of white people?)

    This woke-ness is beyond irritating when it’s coming from some benighted ‘inclusive’ soul; coming as a ukase from the government, it’s verging on unbearable.

    • The clue is the middle word in Edinburgh International Festival. Are bagpipes and Hamish MacCunn really enough? (OK, before you get out your dirk, James Macmillan – and Englishmen like Kenneth Leighton and Peter Maxwell Davies.)

      • From the outset, the EIF has been “international” — in fact, its founding (by an Austrian Jew, Rudolf Bing) was a major impetus in stimulating international movement of artists, connoisseurs, and tourists alike.

        I went to five EIF events in 2018 (and also a few ‘Fringe’ events while in town), and was consistently impressed by the outstanding artistic standards. The concert performance of Wagner’s /Siegfried/ (under Mark Elder) was the single best performance of anything I have ever heard in person.

        I am horrified to hear that Creative Scotland, which is supposed to be an arms-length funding council, is interfering (or being seen to interfere) in the running of a great festival, ostensibly out of concern for diversity measured according to crude quotas or percentages. Leave the demographics out of it, and let excellence speak for itself (and ensure that those with control over the artistic programme are out listening for excellence from all possible sources, rather than relying on ‘star’ status as a proxy for excellence)!

        • SVM, you make my point much more clearly. The EIF was never intended to have a narrow Scottish focus. But perhaps ‘Not Robert the Bruce’ has a point too; it would do no harm to have a wee bit more of a Scottish flavour as part of the mix. Revive Douglas Young’s The Burdies (produced at the festival in 1966), his translation into Lallans of Aristophanes’ Birds – preferably surtitled in Greek and English!

      • Hamish MacCunn will do fine for me – ‘The Land of the Mountain and the Flood’ still stirs my soul whenever I hear it. The lad was only nineteen when he wrote it! Alexander Mackenzie is another unjustly neglected, and by the sound of his music, warm hearted Scottish composer. If it weren’t for the recording industry, both would be forgotten today.

        • I will check out Alexander Mackenzie – thank you. I certainly did not mean to disparage Hamish Maccunn, or the bagpipes; I like them both (in moderation)!

  • Still thinking about this.
    Recently, in looking at what happened to an Opera house, I knew burned down, and was replaces with La Scala, and then another it turns out, I noticed that both houses had a Salieri Opera for a premiere.

    Now, one can easily take any theme currently up on a media hot list, concoct a story to go with, and voila you have something that would fit such a setting, and the sort of clipped matrix to fit it into. Have times changed?

    No insult to doing something to get more diversity, or even really to Salieri, but you might be making things worse thinking you’re making room for diversity, when in reality it’s token measures that fit into what already is in place that isn’t really allowing diversity, and beyond that simple human expression. Getting people distracted with an item on a current media hot list, to get them to think they are making waves. Um… They might not be.

    • I think you are conflating “diversity of repertoire” with “diversity of demographic”.

      We need greater “diversity of repertoire” (both from living and dead composers) — the canon is too narrow, and we could do with a wider range of good music.

      As for “diversity of demographic”, it is a good thing, *provided* that it arises naturally in the quest for artistic excellence. However, this good must not be used as a pretext for imposing quotas and abandoning artistic judgement. Imposing quotas is a superficial solution that only disguises underlying issues.

  • I don’t think the first half of the Festival’s apology would have got past Stalin’s interrogator – not nearly abject enough. The second half is because the EIF gets funding from the Scottish Government, which mandates diversity. I do wonder what they mean, in terms of the arts, by ‘voices that have been marginalised’. There are many lesser-known composers, some of them non-white, who deserve to be heard (George Walker, for one). But if they are working in the broadly European classical tradition, are they what is required? The Daily Mail Online, strangely, covers this story quite well, and gives the full text of the petition, if anybody is interested.

  • The tone of your article is really strange, though not unexpected. The question we should be asking is why it took the Scottish government’s intervention for the EIF to take a look at these issues. Why weren’t they looking at this themselves? It doesn’t take much to work out why; with the exception of a single BAME person on the board the directors are universally white.

    I’m a school governor and we work hard to try to ensure that there is a representative makeup of BAME people on the board. It’s not always easy but we do achieve this mostly. It needs all boards to think of appointing people with a BAME background. A single person makes very little difference but two, three, four and the organisation starts to be able to focus and drive some change at a strategic level.

    It’s not “woke” to think about these issues. It’s morally right. And your sneering does nothing to help – it allows white middle class people (like me) to sit back and think everything’s ok.

    • Hmmmm, representative makeup……….so do tell us how you go about recruiting Asian, Chinese, Polish, Lithuanian, Latvian, Ukrainian, Portuguese and numerous other “different” groups in society onto your board, or is it just the trendy minority groups you are seeking to attract? Or are you another of the virtue signalling middle class who seem to delight in self flagellation for the sin of being white. Give me a break! By the way, roughly 86% of the population of the UK is white (UK Government statistic).

      • “or is it just the trendy minority groups you are seeking to attract?”

        I think we know the answer to that – their first choice will be people who look like me. Quite right too because, as a black person, I can confirm my unsurpassed expertise in the minority cultures you mention, and hundreds besides. This means that I have a God-given right to stand-in for everyone else.

        In the meantime, I’m hoping that your Sainsburys will move into my country so that I can relish the safety that their new “safe spaces” will provide.

        Life is good.

      • Ellingtonia, you are surely not woke enough. You have omitted Jewish, Catholic, LBGT+, disabled, Welsh, Scottish, red-headed, visually impaired, unemployed and Gender Fluid. You should be ashamed of yourself, offer an immediate apology to all those mentioned above you have offended and attend a Diversity Awareness Course without delay!

        • I offer the most fulsome apology to all those groups I omitted from the list and thank you profusely for pointing out my misdemeanour.

    • Simon Funnell : if you are a school governor, do you consider it is right to “drive change” ( whatever, if anything , that means) which presumably will alter things , potentially to the detriment of your non-minority pupils ? Is that not a particularly insidious form of discrimination?

      • It is a curious acronym, isn’t it? Black gets a mention, Asian gets another. Black is a large varied group but Asia is enormous. Then there’s just plain old ‘ethnic minority’. If you take away Black and Asian, that must be just about everyone else.

        I’m tired of being patronised. Give me good old ‘microaggressions’ any day.

      • And “LGBT” is very curious, too, since it lumps together (a) people who are attracted to others of the same sex, and (b) people who consider themselves to belong to the other sex than that indicated by their biology. This makes as much sense as lumping toghether all single parents and all sex workers as “SPSW people”, with “SPSW health needs” and so on.

    • ‘A single person makes very little difference but two, three, four and the organisation starts to be able to focus and drive some change at a strategic level.’ That’s surely not enough. Make sure it’s 75 per cent BAME and that will really get things moving!

    • I look forward to a similar diktat from the Scottish Government being issued to the curling authorities for a lack of diversity and inclusion within their national teams. As ever ‘high culture’ is the soft target these Maoist bullies pick on.

  • Good thing too. The last thing Edinburgh needs is the annual influx of white, English, middle-class, males showing off their scant talent to their vacationing pals. Scotland has enough scant talent of its own, thank you very much.

  • I think the key here is the word “ordered”. And they have the baseball bats to ensure this is carried out. Another hideous consequence of authoritarian wokeness.

    • “Ordered” only in NL’s headline, but the real wording is more chillingly sinister : “The Scottish Government has said it will monitor the festival in the future to ensure it makes improvements and meets official ‘obligations’ on equality, diversity and inclusion”. And your “baseball bats” will be funding cuts.

  • Much more worrying than political control of the EF is the proposed hate crimes legislation which, despite a minor climbdown by the SNP’s Justice Secretary, really does threaten artistic freedom & will if passed into law lead to artists of all kinds being imprisoned and/or facing large fines – it really is totalitarian. (My last day in quarantine to which I adjusted alarmingly easily. No contact, of course, to check that I was quarantining. The holiday was a joy & I remain in excellent health, thanks for asking.)

  • Is it not time that the Edinburgh Festival went back to its roots by presenting the best artists and companies in the world? I do realise that this is far more difficult nowadays when the costs of touring cannot give Edinburgh any kind of exclusivity. Visiting orchestras are almost certain also to be included in the London Proms and recitals like that by Kathleen Ferrier and Bruno Walter mentioned earlier will likely be repeated in several other European cities.

    At one time presenting the best would almost certainly have meant white. But that is far from true now. Diversity has also been included in the Festivals, but I sometimes feel successive directors have been too prepared to accept what agents suggest rather than travelling to see some of the excellent work being created around the world. Is it really almost 35 years since Frank Dunlop created a sensation with the outstanding Ninagawa Thestre Company from Japan? And around 8 years since the marvelous Suzuki Company presented their stark Waiting for Orestes: Electra? Apart from The China National Ballet performing a rather fake modern version of The Peony Pavilion (why not the original Kunju Opera version?), and Tan Dun’s Opera Marco Polo, has there been any major representation from Asia in recent years? Has Taiwan’s deservedly famous Cloudgate Dance Company made a return since 2008? It definitely deserves to.

    What about Gramophone magazine’s Orchestra of the Year
    last year, the Hong Kong Philharmonic and its Musuc Director Jaap van Zweden? Why always an American or European ensemble?

    That’s just one continent that can offer so much more to help make the Festival more diverse whilst maintaining true international standards.

    • I don’t think China is exactly the flavour of the decade at the moment, what with its involvement in the Coronavirus fiasco and even more given its abysmaal record on human rights . If I were a promoter, I certainly wouldn’t be taking the risk of people staying away in droves by inviting any Chinese organisation

      • That is a ridiculous argument in 2020. I suppose you were against promoters in the West bringing artists like Rostropovich, Gilels and Oistrakh and companies like the Kirov Ballet and Bolshoi Opera to the West during the Soviet era. Do you approve of Putin’s dictatorship? How about Gergiev and Netrebko? Ban their concerts?

        The corona virus fiasco? You must be joking. The fiasco is led by the governments of the USA, the UK, Brazil and others. Just look at the facts. Vietnam: population 95.54 million, number of deaths 35. Thailand: population 69.43 million, number of deaths 59. Taiwan: population 23.78 million, number of deaths 7. These countries are all close to China and all depended massively on tourism from China. In fact, the first case in Thailand was a taxi driver infected by a tourist from Wuhan. These countries acted fast by putting in place mandatory use of masks, testing, social distancing and contact tracing. They put science first to protect their populations. Had countries in the West one likewise, the number of deaths would be a fraction of those whose lives have been needlessly lost as a result of politics and grossly ineffective western governments!

          • A naive view? You mean I praise the government’s of countries like Taiwan, Vietnam and Thailand because they acted on covid19 with speed and efficiency whilst the UK, USA and other countries hid their heads in the sand. Result? Many hundreds of thousands of poor souls are now dead. Is it naive to accuse those same governments of lying to their people? If so, you have a very strange definition of the word naive? These governments are guilty of murder!

            Or do you mean it’s naive to welcome artists who happen to come from oppressive regimes? So you believe these artists necessarily approve of their regimes? Do you also seek to ban tourists from those countries? If so, then recall that Chinese tourists contribute a huge amount to many nations’ GDP and that amount is scheduled to rise dramatically very quickly. How about products made in the regimes you don’t approve of? You ban them too? Who is the one who is being unbelievably naive?

    • Nick, I remember seeing that Ninagawa Theatre company at the Barbican theatre London at about that time, when I was a student on lecture in London. A free adaptation of ‘the Tempest’, so it fitted as a troupe invited to perform there by the RSC. The most vivid and funny staging of the ‘Tempest’ that I ever saw.

  • Politicians just can’t resist meddling aka social engineering so that they are seen (by their target audience) as “inclusive” whereas they dismally fail to represent the majority view of those who gave them their cushty jobs.

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