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Racialisation in the creative industries and the Arab-Australian multicultural artist
journal contributionposted on 2016-01-01, 00:00 authored by Sherene Idriss
In Australia, artists of ethnic minority backgrounds are generally offered marginal spaces in which they can express themselves. They tend to be called upon by the state to act as cultural brokers or offer representations of their supposedly neatly bounded communities in the name of social inclusion [Werbner 1997. Introduction: the dialectics of cultural hybridity. In: P. Werbner and T. Modood, eds. Debating cultural hybridity: multi-cultural identities and the politics of anti-racism. London: Zed Books, 1–28]. The aim of this paper is to highlight how processes of racialisation and multiculturalist discourses produce specific vocational identities, namely that of the ethnic minority, community artist who uses their creative forms of expression to redress social inequalities. Drawing on the findings of an in-depth, qualitative study with young, male, Arab-Australian creative workers during 2011–2014, I suggest that this particular vocational trajectory is indicative of the classed, exclusionary and hierarchical nature of the creative industries. The paper pays close attention to the ways they use creativity strategically to deal with broader issues of race-relations and experiences of discrimination to suggest that these ethnic minority creative workers potentially become what Brubaker calls ‘ethnopolitical entrepreneurs’ [2002. Ethnicity without groups. European journal of sociology, 43 (2), 163–189, p. 166] who live off as well as for their cultural difference.