Diversity and Inclusion Statement

The Australasian Association of Writing Programs (AAWP) has recently prepared an Inclusion and Diversity statement. The statement embraces the plurality of our membership body, which is comprised of individuals with diverse identities, experiences and circumstances. The statement reflects the AAWP’s commitment to embracing an inclusive culture that serves to celebrate, support and protect our members.

What are our values?

The Australasian Association of Writing Programs (AAWP) is comprised of individuals with diverse identities, experiences and circumstances. By ‘diverse’, we mean both that the world contains many kinds of people with different identities and personal contexts and also that diversity is a key driver of vitality and innovation—the more diverse the perspectives to which we are exposed, the richer our knowledge of the world and of each other. Difference may include, but is not limited to, race and ethnicity, socio-economic status, age, religious and political beliefs, gender, sexual orientation and ability, broadly conceived: including considerations such as neurodiversity and intellectual ability, as well as physical ability. Many of these categories intersect (and may be difficult to disentangle from one another) and change over time.

AAWP is committed to facilitating a diverse range of research, creative and academic writing and communication and collegial collaboration, both online and in person. We are committed to providing a safe and inclusive environment, in which members are able to learn, educate and work together, to produce their best research, writing and teaching. By ‘inclusive’, we mean that our approach to perceiving and treating difference comprises deep respect, a commitment to listen and the equal valuation of a plurality of experiences and identities. We stand against exclusion in all its forms.

AAWP is committed to promoting diversity and inclusion and protecting its members. We do not tolerate discrimination or abuse in relation to race and ethnicity, socio-economic status, age, religious and political beliefs, gender, sexual orientation or ability, broadly conceived.

What do we aim to do?

We work together to facilitate an inclusive culture that encourages, supports and celebrates diverse voices, readers, writers and teachers. Our goal is for the diversity of our membership to reflect the multiplicity of the Australasian community.

We strive towards vigilant awareness of discrimination and engage in a constant and active process of identifying and addressing barriers to inclusion and diversity within our communities and institutions. We aim to work together to implement best practice in terms of promoting inclusion and diversity within our community, at events and meetings, and in all online resources and publications.

We commit to being receptive to a process of continuous learning and improvement, including critical feedback, and to being attentive to the needs of our diverse membership, including times when these needs shift and change. We do our utmost to maintain an awareness of the current global and national political climates and the ways in which these may affect members on a daily and continuing basis.

To these ends, AAWP provides financial support, wherever possible, to AAWP members in precarious employment or part-time or full-time study. This includes but is not limited to membership fee relief and conference bursaries. We are also committed to providing honorarium and other payments to those in precarious employment who manage executive portfolios or undertake significant tasks for the AAWP Executive Committee of Management.

The new Translators’ Prize, initiated in 2020, is a collaboration between AAWP and the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival (UWRF), an initiative that fosters global writing communities and promotes the work of under-represented writers to a broader ‘English-using’ audience.

The new Sudden Writing Prize, also initiated in 2020, is a collaboration between AAWP and Voiceworks / Express Media, an initiative that celebrates the work of emerging writers under 25, by capturing what young people are writing, now. The terms and conditions are designed so that undergraduates and younger postgraduates are able to submit an extract from their assessment tasks or theses (in progress).

AAWP offers four further opportunities in our suite of prizes, facilitating publication pathways and networking opportunities for emerging writers, including under-represented writers. These include: the AAWP and Slow Canoe Live Journal (SC) Creative Nonfiction Prize, the AAWP and UWRF Emerging Writers’ Prize, the AAWP and Australian Short Story Festival (ASSF) Emerging Writers’ Short Story Prize, and the AAWP and University of Western Australia Publishing (UWAP) ‘Chapter One’ Prize for Emerging Writers with a full-length manuscript. The AAWP Prizes and Partnerships Portfolio is supported by the work of various members of the AAWP Executive Committee of Management. These initiatives represent our ongoing commitment to creating publication pathways and networking opportunities for emerging writers and translators. The portfolio is also evidence of our dedication to facilitating generative connections between AAWP and the broader writing community, and to the exchange of knowledge between writers and writer-researchers in academia and industry.

All AAWP prizes have been ratified by Arts Law. In short: ‘Arts Law was very impressed with AAWP’s attitude, which clearly demonstrated AAWP’s respect for writers’. You can read more here:

https://www.artslaw.com.au/case-studies/fair-terms-for-writing-competitions/

AAWP developed a Code of Ethics to reflect the values and accepted behaviours of its membership and to provide a benchmark for members to use in self-evaluation. You can read more here:

http://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/theaawp/pages/16/attachments/original/1384999798/Code_of_Ethics_for_the_AAWP.pdf

We welcome your voice in relation to the diversity and inclusion of our members, partners, affiliate bodies and friends. If you identify ways we might improve or an issue that requires our attention, please contact a member of the AAWP Executive: https://www.aawp.org.au/about/the-aawp-executive/

February 2021