South African categorization of Cultural and Creative Industries …………. Characteristics of a Cohesive and Unified Society ……………………………… 37 Figure 2: Cultural and Creative Industries Cycle of Activities ………………………….
I begin with my background, so as to make clear how I participate, as a white librarian, in discussions about libraries and how they might be places where people from any cultural group find themselves reflected and where they find information the more easily for that reflection.
I also start at that point because cultural competence requires an awareness of your own culture; for me, as a white person, that means thinking about whiteness. I then link experience with reading about cultural competence, and conversations with librarians who are also interested in cross cultural provision.
Whiteness in libraries is introduced via these conversations. A brief comparison is drawn between the usefulness of intersectionality and cultural competence in addressing whiteness.
The conclusion is that cultural competence embedded in professional approaches, library operations and the library environment can be the means for addressing whiteness, if the understandings of power and privilege outlined in intersectionality are incorporated.
I am also a librarian. I have worked in the library industry for eight years, coming to the job after an employment history spanning at least four other industries. In these eight years I have developed a professional interest in cultural competence and whiteness in libraries.
Three factors motivated me to write this article. One set of challenges helped me find my feet as a librarian; another, outlined below, set a strong direction for future work and further study. The second factor is cultural competence, about which I learned in response to those challenges.
Charles Sturt University is committed to cultural competence in the context of Indigenous content in curriculum; RMIT University includes it as a topic in the professional experience course in its Master of Information Management.
Most other library schools include in their program aims, development of skills for working in a diverse environment. The special collections were the Alice Springs Collection, documenting the history, geography, economic development, and cultures of Central Australia; and the Akaltye Antheme Collection, a local Indigenous knowledge collection, developed in partnership with the Traditional Owners.
In addition to a Graduate Diploma in Information Management, I also brought the accidents of life to that job. One of those accidents is being born white. Other accidents include two books, read when I was twenty: I had no idea of that reality until then. Friends and I mused about whiteness — what it means to be white when being white is the norm.
This participation involved some decision-making but I had drifted into that left wing milieu — yes, an accident. Another key accident was work as a personal care attendant in a supported accommodation centre for Koories.
The health effects of a colonised life of disadvantage and discrimination were glaringly evident: Also clearly evident were the strength and resilience of culture, how hard people worked to maintain it and how they worked within it to maintain themselves and their community. The power of being white struck me for the first time: I attribute this to two things: I outline this to indicate that I came to the Special Collections job beginning to understand my privilege as a white person.
This privilege is reflected in the quality of my life; it is a product in part of the dispossession of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia, and continuing systemic advantage for white people. Why is this important to this article? As I said in a conference presentation with Sylvia Perrurle Neale, the Indigenous Services Officer at Alice Springs Public Library, being a member of the dominant group is the biggest challenge I face in working in partnership with other, minority groups.
Working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people has been the main path for my learning about cultural competence and whiteness. However, cultural competence applies far more widely than only working with Indigenous peoples.Related Essays: Diversity in a Police Force View Paper .
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Their cultural diversity has a significant impact on their style of working. CEPR organises a range of events; some oriented at the researcher community, others at the policy commmunity, private sector and civil society.