What does it look like to make creative work inclusively?
Today on the blog, A’nysha Fortenberry interviews Austin-based cultural producer Sarah Rucker about her development of an inclusion rider clause.
What’s an inclusion rider clause? Essentially, it’s a piece of language for artists and creatives to add to their contracts with producers, bookers and clients that holds them culturally accountable. Rucker argues that artists and creatives have the right to demand diverse and inclusive workspaces—just like anyone else.
Keep reading to learn more about Rucker’s work and how to create an inclusion rider for yourself.
Sarah is a lifelong arts lover and advocate with 13 years of experience in arts research, programming and presenting. She is the founder of Full Gallop, which offers creative event production and community outreach and engagement services. Full Gallop strives to bridge cultures and connect communities through creative collaborations and programs. She has a personal mission to help increase equity in the arts, especially in Austin, where she recently started the Inclusion Riders Initiative ATX. She was also a founding board member of Austin Emerging Arts Leaders from 2012-2019.
CAN YOU TELL US A BIT MORE ABOUT YOUR WORK AND WHAT YOU CURRENTLY DO?
Rucker: My work is predominantly in the field of event production with a specialty in arts programming and community engagement. For over 12 years my career has been in both the music business and the nonprofit arts sector while also building skills in corporate and private event production. I love helping with events and programs from concept to completion.
HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE AN INCLUSION RIDER? WHAT IS IT AND HOW CAN PEOPLE USE IT?
Rucker: An inclusion rider is an addendum or clause added to a contract with a content creator that stipulates the contractor’s need to work in a well-represented team. It first came about in the film industry to try and achieve a storyline and cast that more closely resembles the audience and population it was serving and depicting. It’s now been proven as a versatile tool in letting any employer or collaborator know inclusion and equity are vital to your work as a contractor.
HOW DID YOU COME ACROSS THE CONCEPT? WHERE HAVE YOU SEEN IT IMPLEMENTED?
Rucker: I first heard about it like many others, while watching the 2018 Oscars when Frances McDormand said “I’ve got two words for you: inclusion riders.” Before that night, the legal language was being perfected by lawyer Kalpana Kotagal and writer/actor Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni after years of studies at the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative at USC with Dr. Stacy Smith. Since then, it has been implemented by Pearl Street Films, with Olympic swimmer Simone Manuel and Michael B. Jordan with Warner Brothers Media.
The complete blog can be accessed here.