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IMD Think Piece by Bartomeu Marí, Former Director MALI, Lima, Peru

Diversity and inclusion are notions that burst somewhat brashly into the world of business and politics some time ago.  In the world of culture however, their use has been less frequent, and their appearance reminds us of an ethically unacceptable reality.  I have worked in Europe and Asia, and more recently I spent a beautiful – yet short-lived – period in Latin America.  In these three continents, although the underlying reality is the same for all, the dilemma is experienced very differently: our societies uphold individual, corporate, social and institutional behaviours that systematically exclude and discriminate.

How can we, in the realm of art and culture, contribute to fairer, more ethical and more egalitarian societies?  The answer lies in increased institutionalism, stricter and more intense commitment to the values of empowerment, and equal opportunities.  And it is here that things become complicated.  The objects museums and collections are composed of transmit a language of exclusion, separation, hierarchy and power.

It is not only a matter of being able to guarantee physical access to the content of museums, but also intellectual access.  Physical access to museums has been vigorously restricted, along with access to public spaces in general.  The digital alternative is a transitory illusion that is not exempt from discriminatory consequences.  And it is even more complex and difficult to ensure intellectual access.  The combination of both exclusions is lethal for any area of society that aims towards fair and sustainable development, respect and ethical global values.

ICOM UK