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Our approach to research and consulting is rooted in the conviction that we, as a team, must practice the principles that we espouse. In particular, we believe that equity is always the horizon we strive towards, one that informs our continual questioning of whose voices are heard and whose aren’t—both within our team and in the communities we study—and what systemic forces are leading to the outcomes we are seeing.
From across our offices, we strive to integrate equity in our daily work by:
  • Naming inequities when we see them, encouraging others to do so, and inviting others to point out what we cannot see;
  • Bringing forward studies that aim to expose biased structures in the arts sector and setting the stage for meaningful discussions about dismantling them;
  • Proposing studies and planning projects in ways that center equity;
  • Lowering the cost barriers to accessing our services for organizations working in historically marginalized communities;
  • Giving voice to youth, and investing in young researchers, so they can tell their own stories in a way that values their lived experience;
  • Diversifying our staff and bringing other researchers and consultants into our projects who offer perspectives that we can’t; 
  • Fairly compensating those who contribute to our research and pushing back against exploitative research practices that stem from the asymmetrical power dynamics between grantees and funders, and between organizations and evaluators;
  • Making our published materials accessible in as many ways as possible;
  • Lifting up diverse voices and viewpoints in our published blogs and newsletters.
We can only be successful if this Commitment to Equity is manifest in our daily work, not just in our words on this page. Thus, we will continuously reexamine and improve our research and consulting practices in ways that foreground equity. 

Why is this Commitment to Equity Central to our Work?

We live in a society that has long struggled and failed to live up to promises of equity. The arts are no exception. While holding tremendous promise to equalize and liberate, the arts also build on beliefs and practices that have:
  • Displaced people, claimed unceded lands, and ignored Indigenous and community sovereignty. This includes the occupied Indigenous lands on which our various offices lie across the US, as well as displacement of immigrant, poor, and BIPOC communities to build cultural facilities through practices such as eminent domain.
  • Excluded, delegitimized or wiped out the cultural practices of historically marginalized peoples, while building support structures designed to perpetuate this bias. For centuries these structures effectively silenced artists who were BIPOC, women, from other religious traditions, or otherwise not in the mainstream.
  • Drawn on the enslaved or underpaid labor to power institutions from which those same people are excluded. Many cultural facilities were built by enslaved African-Americans or immigrants in indentured servitude and to this day are supported by staff that are paid less than a living wage or interns who aren’t paid at all.
  • Collected and exhibited cultural artifacts appropriated from their original settings, exhibiting them in ways that strip away their traditional, spiritual, and cultural meanings, thereby tokenizing the creators and cultures from which they originate.
  • Represented peoples and traditions in trivializing or stereotypic ways. The arts have long accepted performances of cultures without input of that culture. That has taken the form of blackface and minstrelsy, brownface, yellowface, redface, and gross portrayals of disability, homosexuality, transgendered people, immigrants, poor people, and others on our stages. 
  • Failed to educate and train committed youth and young adults who want to be creators and performers but lack access to opportunity; arts and culture institutions have long relied on educational training that only those with generational wealth can afford.
  • Perpetuated myriad biases within our institutions, among our audiences and visitors, and in the stories we do and do not tell.
We recognize the fact that as a firm and as individuals we have built on and benefitted from these problematic practices. We also recognize that despite oppression from institutions and our society at large, the people who have been excluded by these practices continue to be a part of our community and create art that contributes to the culture and well-being of us all. 
We will continue to refine our commitment to equity and our understanding of the inequities that hold back our sector from achieving its full potential. If you have thoughts or would like to join in the conversation with us, please email us at


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