Midsumma's Commitment to Diversity, Inclusivity, and Ethical Partnerships: Navigating Complex Spaces with Respect and Understanding
In the complex landscape of our present reality, Midsumma recognises that we all live, play and work in a complicated space right now. Issues of local, national, and global importance occupy a lot of the space in our minds and require careful and thoughtful navigation every day. Many of our communities are currently under increasing threat right now both externally and from within - and many false statements are circulating.
We respect everyone’s personal views and rights. We acknowledge the complexity of issues faced around partnerships, and who participates in events at Midsumma. We acknowledge that this complexity means there is often no singular solution to any given issue or query. We believe that engagement and open dialogue are essential components of affecting positive change, and we are committed to fostering an environment that encourages discussion and understanding while celebrating the diversity and resilience of our communities.
We hear your feedback and continue to assess and refine our approach to ensure Midsumma remains a platform for celebration, inclusivity, and community for all; we also want to help clarify the misinformation:
Midsumma recognises the diversity of opinions and views that exist in our communities and continues to support inclusivity for all groups participating and partnering with us throughout Midsumma Festival, showing and supporting Pride in all aspects of our lives, however this best meets their needs to support positive change. All of our partnerships are value-driven, directly with employee-driven Pride networks – and not conducted through marketing departments. This makes our partnerships unique for an arts organisation but aligns with the ethics and values that we hold dear with regard to everything we do.
Up to 50% of LGBTQIA+ Victorians say they still can't be entirely out at work, and so for these employees, the relationship they have with Midsumma as part of their employee Pride Network is vital to positive changes in work cultures, that we all want to see across Australia.
We have refused corporate partnerships, and also removed partnerships in recent years that have not aligned with our values. We must also note that without partnership support, Midsumma Festival would simply not be able to occur, nor be able to undertake any of our year-round capacity development work, which is 100% provided directly to intersectional strategic priority areas, to build access and opportunities for independent LGBTQIA+ artists.
Regarding police involvement at Midsumma Festival events - Midsumma works with members of our LGBTQIA+ communities who serve as liaison officers within Victoria Police. These officers, known as LGBTIQA+ Liaison Officers (LLOs), play a crucial role as contact points for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and queer community, fostering positive engagement and communication. The contingent of Police who march in Pride March are members of our diverse LGBTQIA+ communities. It's important to note that in Victoria, all events of a certain scale, including those organised by Midsumma, require a comprehensive risk assessment and coordinated event management by Victoria Police (Vic Pol). On major event days during Midsumma Festival, all activities are meticulously coordinated through our event operations centre, which includes representatives from Midsumma, and all first responder teams—Ambulance Victoria, Fire Rescue Victoria, and Vic Pol. This collaborative effort ensures the safety and well-being of all attendees.
This does not mean that Midsumma condones aspects of policing culture, past or present, that are contrary to our values. Midsumma acknowledges community concerns around police accountability (particularly surrounding Indigenous deaths in custody, police brutality, discriminatory behaviours against LGBTQIA+ communities, and dealings with our trans communities), and does not condone such aspects of policing culture. There is much work to be done to address these issues.
Throughout the past number of years, we have been working closely with a range of community groups in relation to police involvement which has brought about a range of changes to the ways police engaged with Midsumma activities for 2022, 2023, and 2024. Positive change of course is always an ongoing process.
Midsumma Festival is committed to promoting respect, generosity, and kindness. We believe in the universal principles of human rights, non-violence, dignity, and the freedom for individuals to express themselves without fear of hate, oppression, intimidation, violence or exclusion.
We care deeply. We understand that people want to discuss how Midsumma fits into it all. We seek to make ourselves available to respond to all those who reach out to us, even though we are a very small team with limited resources. Ethics and values are vitally important to us as we continue to support inclusivity in arts and culture for all LGBTQIA+ people, regardless of age, culture, faith, geographic location, identity, or disability. We will continue to strive to bring people together from vastly different diverse lived experiences and perspectives and seek to find non-exclusionary solutions to issues that help facilitate our core objective as an arts organisation.
We believe in the power of community and value your feedback. Your thoughts, opinions, and experiences matter to us, and we invite you to actively participate in shaping the Midsumma experience. If you have suggestions, concerns, or simply want to share your perspective, we encourage you to reach out.
Please reach out through our feedback form below. If you would like to contact us and the online form below is not accessible to you, you can contact us at [email protected] with any of the following methods:
- Voice Memo
- Zoom Meeting (in English or Auslan)
- Auslan Video
Your insights are crucial in helping us continually assess and refine our approach for the future, ensuring that Midsumma remains a platform for celebration, inclusivity, and positive community engagement for us all.
Thank you for being a vital part of the Midsumma community. We look forward to working together to create an environment that reflects the diverse voices and values that make our festival so extraordinary.