Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Practices in Arts and Cultural Planning

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Diversity, equity, and inclusion are increasingly referenced as goals in general or master plans, yet we know little about how these concepts shape topical arts and cultural plans, which have become an important facet of economic development strategies. Through a detailed content analysis of 64 municipal arts and cultural plans in the United States, this project sought to find out how and when such plans integrate concepts of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We found that these values are only occasionally guiding principles and that most plans are written from the perspective of the majority (usually White) with very little information about demographic or socioeconomic context. Many talk about being inclusive or diverse without ever identifying the marginalized or low-resourced groups in the community. The plans we evaluated span a 20-year time period; those from 2016 to 2019 demonstrate a much stronger equity focus in the planning process and strategy content.