How to decolonise and update language to support diversity and inclusion in the arts. Words matter, so be a good human and make these small changes.

When working in the arts we all want to use industry standard language so that we can communicate clearly. But not all of our language supports an inclusive work environment for a diverse range of people. So I’ve put together a short list of some common industry words we can STOP using FOREVER, and I’ve suggested possibly ALTERNATIVES. I keep updating this page, so please feel free to drop me a line with your suggestions so that together we can make arts and culture a place that is evolving, considerate and open to fabulous change.

In the interests of decolonising our language in Photography, Videography and Microscopy stop saying: SHOOT, CAPTURE, TAKE. Especially when creating imagery in wilderness or images of people. Instead you can replace these words with: MAKE, CREATE, FILM, PHOTOGRAPH etc.

If you are scheduling, instead of saying the SHOOT starts at 9am, you can say FILMING or WORK starts at 9am.

When working with AV equipment (sound desks etc) instead of saying MASTER channel (or master anything) you can say PRIMARY, MAIN, CENTRAL, GLOBAL. Any time the word SLAVE is used in audio or electrical work, replace it with the words SECONDARY, FOLLOWER, DEPENDANT.

When using specific audio leads, instead of using the term FEMALE to describe what parts are on the end of the lead, you can say SOCKET (I’m open to suggestions here). And instead of MALE you can say PLUG (also open to suggestions). This language change is in the interests of making the world’s wonderful non-binary and trans community feel safe and seen in the workplace.

Of course you can replace common words that are used to describe groups of people such as GUYS and MEN with words like STAFF, PEOPLE, TEAM. But hopefully we are already there with that one!

Help me fill this page, help me change our gorgeous industry, help me be more considerate to others in the work place.

I understand that it can seem difficult to unlearn language habits, but it’s actually not that hard. You just need to identify these changes as being important and start making a small effort. It may take time. If none of these changes make sense to you, that does not mean they aren’t important. These ideas may be new to you. Stay open to change, it’s good for the brain and great for us as humans.