Community Engagement and IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Access)
The Indiana Arts Commission has adopted community engagement and IDEA as principles to support our values and funding imperatives and address structural inequalities by providing access to programs, services, and resources.
Who’s really in your community? Who comes to your programs and activities? How would you describe them? Are they mostly older, younger, white, veterans, from a certain area of the community, or from all across the state? Do your participants reflect your greater geographic community? Who’s not coming? Who’s not coming that would really benefit from and appreciate your work? Why aren’t they coming? Even if you think you know, it’s important to reach out and ask. Welcome to Community Engagement and IDEA work. This works bring your organization opportunities to increase its impact, value, resources, and long-term sustainability.
So what exactly are Community Engagement and IDEA?
In the most simplistic form, it's what you do and how you do it.
Community engagement (the what) describes the intentional cultivation of two-way, exchange-driven community relationships, and IDEA (the how) describes ways we intentionally remove barriers and welcome all to participate in those relationships.
Community Engagement Defined
The IAC defines community engagement as the activity of consistently cultivating two-way community relationships – beyond conventional programmatic partnerships. Community partnerships are rooted in programs, activities, and marketing, whereas community engagement is rooted in people and requires long-term commitment.
Why Community Engagement?
- To build a better community, not just a better organization
- To understand what the community cares about
- To build better programs and a more loyal audience
- To share control with community groups and members
- To produce things that are meaningful to the community
- To challenge organizations and the community
- To propel change in organizations and the community
- To build a more sustainable, long-term organization
IDEA is an acronym for Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access. IDEA highlights efforts toward underserved communities by addressing structural inequities. Organizations that embrace IDEA are able to foster cultures that minimize bias and recognize and address systemic inequities, which, if unaddressed, create disadvantage for certain individuals or groups.
- Inclusion: All feel welcomed and valued
Inclusion is the act of creating environments in which any individual or group can be and feel welcomed, respected, represented, supported, and valued to fully participate.
- Diversity: All the ways we differ
Diversity includes all of the ways in which people differ, encompassing the different characteristics that make one individual or group different from another. While diversity is often used in reference to race, ethnicity, and gender, we embrace a broader definition that also includes age, national origin, religion, disability, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, education, marital status, language, physical appearance, geography, and any other identifiers that make one individual or group different from another.
- Equity: All having the opportunity to fully participate
Equity encompasses the policies and practices used to ensure the fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for all people, while at the same time trying to identify and eliminate barriers that have historically prevented the full participation of some individuals or groups.
- Access: Of any and all abilities
Access refers to the commitment for everyone to be included in all programs and activities.
What can be done as an Individual Practitioner?
What can be done in your Institution?
This work is constant and always evolving. If you have any thoughts, comments, resources, or suggestions you’d like to share with us, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.