Ruthless Jabiru stands unequivocally against racism and inequity.

The essence of our orchestra lies in the performance of contemporary music programmes with a conscience, in collaboration with our friends in the campaigning sector. Through music, we have given our attention to the indigenous casualties of Maralinga, texts of Australian Aboriginal poet Oodgeroo Noonuccal, political and climate refugees worldwide, and the victims and survivors of honour crime. Yet we have neglected to directly call out our own sector’s systemic underrepresentation of non-white professionals, and for this we apologise.

As a collective of freelancers communing on a project basis, we have the agility to make immediate change. This statement outlines the orchestra’s data so far and our renewed commitment to anti-racism following the death of George Floyd.

We understand diversity as fundamentally hinging on self-identification, so the statistics which follow are an estimate in lieu of confirmed metrics.

Ruthless Jabiru is committed to globally-balanced programming. We aim to advocate for composers from our shared homes of Australia and Britain; as well as from Europe, North and South America, Asia, the Middle East and beyond.

Breakdown of the composers Ruthless Jabiru has programmed since outset:

85% Living
45% Women
12% Non-white: of Asian, Arab and Latinx heritage
41% British or British-based
37% Australian

Our commitments

  • We commit to increasing our support to at least 50% non-white composer representation in all future programmes
  • We commit to the inclusion of Black and First Nations composers in these figures in addition to those of Asian, Arab and Latinx backgrounds
  • We commit to at least 50% female composer representation in all programmes

Ruthless Jabiru is an ensemble of professional Australian musicians living temporarily or permanently in the UK. We seek to bring professional, creative and community-building opportunities to first-, second- and third-plus generation Australians, and Australians with indigenous backgrounds; in conjunction with local British creatives and cultural practitioners.

Breakdown of the freelancers Ruthless Jabiru has engaged since outset:

66% Women (50-80% per project)
22% Non-white: of Asian, Arab, Pacific Islander and First Nations heritage (9-33% per project)

Our commitments

  • We will aspire to at least 50% non-white representation across the combined orchestral, soloist, creative and staff engagements for each of our future projects
  • We will explore possibilities to support increased representation of Black and indigenous Australian musicians in the Australian orchestral sector and abroad
  • We will consider new ways to diversify project teams wherever possible; including creative collaborations and staff recruitment from outside the sector
  • We will continue our commitment to gender balance

Further actions (non-exhaustive)

  • Developing a collection system for personal identity markers to ensure authentic representation of collaborators both publicly and internally
  • Supporting non-white businesses for outsourcing where possible
  • Exploring options for unconscious bias training
  • Continued advocacy for anti-racism resources across Ruthless Jabiru’s social channels
  • Commitment to measuring and communicating progress to the orchestra’s members, stakeholders and audience
  • Remaining open to diversity in all its forms

We understand our responsibility to respond to the wisdom and leadership of our non-white colleagues as we adjust our models: we thank them again for their continuing patience.

Kelly Lovelady
Artistic Director
July 2020

Recent Posts

I Care If You Listen | Deep and Low: Australian ensembles meet in London tunnel shaft

Ruthless Jabiru and Decibel New Music Ensemble at the Brunel Museum © Billie Tün (Courtesy of Ruthless Jabiru)

CAROLINE POTTER on 08 December, 2022 (I Care If You Listen)

London has a seemingly inexhaustible supply of quirky venues. On 02 December a pair of Australian ensembles collaborated in a concert in Rotherhithe, in southeast London, on the banks of the River Thames. The performances took place at the Grand Entrance Hall, Brunel Museum — the former entrance shaft to the Thames Tunnel, designed by the engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel. First used as a concert venue as early as 1827, the tunnel is today used by trains, and the striking soot-blackened walls of the underground entrance hall make it look like an abstract artwork. The huge thundersheet in the percussion setup only enhanced this impression that the concert took place in an art installation.

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