What’s in a name? Sometimes quite a lot! After careful consideration of our mission and goals, we have recently rebranded The Ringling’s Community Engagement Group as the IDEA Team. While this new nomenclature implies that we are a team of people who have ideas (which is true!), there’s a more significant meaning behind the name change.
IDEA is an acronym that stands for Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access. Museums across the country are devoting themselves to these four essential commitments, and The Ringling is no different. As we move into the next five years of our strategic plan, the entire institution will be making a concerted effort to infuse the principles of IDEA into our work at every level.
So what exactly does committing to inclusion, diversity, equity, and access look like? It’s helpful to start with a working definition of each of those terms.
Inclusion is the intentional and thoughtful engagement with diversity so that all individuals are able to contribute fully and effectively to the museum environment.
Diversity is having a museum community made up of people with both observable and non-observable differences – including, but not limited to, age, race, ethnicity, gender identity, socio-economic status, cultural perspectives, and backgrounds.
Equity is the support of fairness and justness based on individual circumstance.
Access is the removal of barriers to provide equitable museum experiences to everyone, regardless of ability.
In the simplest sense, it boils down to meeting people wherever they are and making the museum a comfortable place for them. It means having an understanding that there is no “standard museum visitor,” no prescribed “ideal museum experience,” and no “best way” to engage with our institution.
The work of our IDEA Team, therefore, manifests as deliberate programs and strategies to help us become an institution where everyone truly belongs. We must actively strive to identify and remove the financial, logistical, cultural, attitudinal, and institutional barriers that prevent full and active engagement from all members of our community.
Although the work will not be easy nor quick, it is incredibly important, and we look forward to making steady process in each of the four IDEA areas as The Ringling continues to grow.
To contact The Ringling IDEA Team, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line "IDEA TEAM."