Human Rights at Beyond Tick Boxes

Photo by Chris Woe from DARTS' Beyond Tick Boxes Symposium, June 2017

Tim Soutphommasane

At Beyond Tick Boxes, Dr. Tim Soutphommasane, Race Discrimination Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission, framed representation and access in the arts as a human right. From his opening talk at the symposium:
“If you’re someone who can see yourself, or someone like you, on screen or in our media, you’ve never had to ask questions about why people like you were left out. You’ve never known the feeling of looking into society’s mirror without seeing yourself reflected…
Here, then, is the connection between the arts and human rights. The idea of human rights is that of everyone being born equal in rights and dignity…
There is no human right, of course, for people to be reflected in the arts or in media. But we can all appreciate that someone’s dignity can be connected with how they – or, to be more specific, the group they belong to – are depicted in the public sphere. Where a group in society is invisible or demeaned, the message is clear. Those in that group are outsiders, second-class members, or even an ‘other’ against whom society defines itself.”
Read the rest of his speech here.
Sketch by Loribelle Spirovksi from DARTS’ Beyond Tick Boxes Symposium, June 2017