Our community is hands down the thing that makes Shambala what it is. Year on year the spirit of community is increasingly voted as the thing you lot value most at Shambala. People regularly share their stories of the openness and general good egg-ness of our crowd. We don’t want to take this for granted, and want to put even more concerted effort into making Shambala welcoming to everybody, regardless of their gender identity, sexuality, race, ability or background.
At Shambala we seek to celebrate global cultural flows and engage with different cultures with respect.
As part of our commitment to diversity and creating as inclusive as possible space we’ve been doing some introspection and learning, looking at our hidden biases and cultural appropriation.
The term is alive and tricky, but in it’s most basic sense we take cultural appropriation to be: when members of a dominant culture pick and choose elements of another culture to enjoy or exploit from people who have been systematically oppressed by that same dominant group.
We’re on a journey to learn more about cultural misappropriation in festival settings in order to design it out of our fields. This is to make Shambala a safe and welcoming place of genuine and generous cultural exchange.
We are asking our audience to be mindful of the costumes they choose and not to bring along or wear items that have cultural significance to historically repressed minorities or cultures that are not their own. Examples would be Indigenous headdresses, bindis or afro wigs. Stewards and festival staff will be briefed on this to give them the confidence to challenge this when seen on site.
Below are some resources that we’ve found useful as a kickstarter, from articles to short videos to learning resources.
“The Difference Between Cultural Exchange and Cultural Appropriation” by Jarune Uwujaren, Everyday Feminism
“Resources On What ‘Cultural Appropriation’ Is and Isn’t” by Dev Springer, Medium
AORTA is an incredible learning resource. Their Cultural Appropriation resource provides simple guiding questions you can ask yourself when engaging with another culture.
We like this reminder from them: “people most often do not have bad intentions. This is good, because it means this is an opportunity for education and communication.”