Sumaya is a Bristol based mixed-medium creative whose passions are built predominantly from music, film, art and literature. She hopes that others can find company and comfort through her exploration of identity and creative expression, to encourage compassion and conversation. When she’s not thinking about her next meal or nap, she’s eager to get home, cuddle her cats and and binge a new series.
It’s incredibly important to be having these conversations - to explore the ways in which we can move forward and grow together. We can no longer stay stagnated and avoid discussions on topics that may be uncomfortable to be apart of. Sumaya
“Day one of the In Between Time Summit began with a panel discussion on diversity and inclusion. Comprised of passionate speakers Kamalijt Poonia, Dorothée Munyaneza, Yasir Mirza, Jo Verrent and Stacey Olika, the group addressed the question: ‘To Whose Voices Should We be Listening’? Of course it’s not quite as simple as that – too often employers aren’t genuinely interested in our voices as individuals or minorities, but instead more concerned with using our names and faces to claim diversity in the workplace. We are used as tactics for funding, to fill quotas and are dehumanised. However, the fact that talks such as this one are taking place – that energy and attention is being focused on getting that bit closer to achieving equality – makes me hopeful. It’s incredibly important to be having these conversations – to explore the ways in which we can move forward and grow together. We can no longer stay stagnated and avoid discussions on topics that may be uncomfortable to be apart of. Those with privilege and in positions of power, need to be willing to really listen – to be open to challenge and change if that’s what they’re claiming they want to support. Minorities need allies so that they aren’t bearing these hardships alone. Allies who are up for advocating for us on our behalf where necessary, but more than prepared to pass the mic so different stories can be told.
Many additional questions arose as the panel discussion progressed – quite a big one regarding whose responsibility is it to ensure a space is genuinely inclusive. Is it on minorities to try and occupy and create spaces for themselves, or should the majority be open to making room? Equality can sometimes feel like oppression to the privileged. There’s this fear of losing something, but really there is knowledge and perspective to be gained. There’s a fear of minorities taking over, but really we’re just trying to exist in the same capacities as everyone else. Why is it that a white person can exist as themselves within a working environment, but a person of colour, disabled individual or member of the LGBTQ+ community, would often be burdened with the responsibility of representing or advocating for their communities? Sure sometimes this can be a choice, but it can also be something that we’re pushed into, regardless as to whether or not it falls under the responsibilities of our job descriptions. I think the important thing to take away is that if we do so, it should be with our consent and on our terms. All of our experiences and opinions are unique, and could never be representative of or applicable to any one group of people.
Although the discussions that took place were heavy, I’m glad so many individuals came together to question current systems in place. I’m also incredibly grateful that In Between Time are continuously working to elevate voices that need to be heard, and providing spaces for people to engage and grow in.’
Dorothée Munyaneza at In Between Time Summit Day 1 (c) Sam Irving