Maria McManus provides the first list of suggestions in a Bogmans Cannon series on Equality of Opportunity in Irish Arts. Look out for answers from a  range of women writers and artists in the next couple of weeks.

maria mcmanus

Become sensitised to the impact of privilege.

There is a complete lack of awareness among the them’s the breaks brigade and the institutions that support them that much of what they have achieved has been bestowed on them, and is at least in part based on privilege. For example, in general, white men are the most privileged people on the planet – they tend to have more position power, more economic power and more access to the underlying structures that establish, and perpetuate power structures. They’re not doing it all by themselves as they are arrogant enough and narcissistic enough to think they are; rubbish – the odds are stacked in their favour and correspondingly, they are trampling over the rest of us to get where they are.

Recognise, name and sanction incompetence.

Can we call blatant failure to address equality of opportunity what it is – fantastic incompetence?

Stop rewarding people for their incompetence (with salaries, status, power positions) and dismiss people in public positions on the basis of their demonstrable incompetence, poor judgment and blatantly prejudiced and discriminatory practice. Medieval practice merits medieval responses – the stocks, anybody?


Power follows money – so policy which enables practitioners and targets resources at groups that are unseen and unheard, to develop latent talent and enable others to come through, works. Pay particular attention to what is happening at the margins.

A Paradigm Shift & Valuing Difference

Expectation is underrated in terms of its influence and impact in the long term. There is genius in places it hasn’t been found. Have the expectation that exciting, innovating and challenging theatre and art is out there and support it when it shows up. We want different, not new versions of the same.

Maria McManus