* Creation of awareness of racism and its impact.
* Identify and promote initiatives.
* Empowerment of communities and individuals.
However, the strategy fails to acknowledge the essential role
of communications in delivering these objectives!
Inclusive Communications is about inclusion of audiences with varying communications needs, ie those from diverse cultures, with disabilities and or with low English literacy. It is also about recognising the critical role communications plays in delivering policy, services and a quality of life.
In Australia, Multicultural Communications is an essential component of Inclusive Communications. 41% of our population is either born overseas or has a parents born outside this country. “ This means getting on for almost half the population have a very direct link with other countries.” This statistic doesn’t include those who maintain connection to ancestral roots, nor indigenous Australian’s.
So how we can start to ensure our communications meets the needs of this culturally diverse society?
1 Take a broad communications approach- culturally diverse audiences are everywhere! Be inclusive with your 'mainstream’
2 Multicultural communications starts with communications strategy. It is more than just translation and or media placement.
* Much of culturally diverse Australia speaks English, though low
English literacy exists amongst some communities one might
expect to be fluent.
* There are many different perspectives based on culture, religion,
experiences of migration, settlement and living in this country.
* Today most Australian mainstream values are based on the right of
the individual, yet for many their outlook is the family before the
3 Take an approach based on Respect
* Acknowledge that differences exist.
* Show flexibility- explain your service and product in a meaningful
* Set up cultural bridges with bi-lingual/cultural resources and people.
* Review you message. Is it culturally relevant or do you need to
* Be humble- you can’t know and understand all variations.
4 Choosing communications methods and channels has never been
* How do cultural diverse audiences fit with your core target
* What are their media habits- in English and or other languages?
* Do they listen to ‘their radio/TV’? What press, on-line and social
media are being used?
* What is the role of community leaders, influencers and organisations
in sharing information?
* What options exist for those with low English comprehension/literacy
and or with sensory disability?
5 Translations are important and critical for some audiences.These will include newer migrant groups, large communities and those with aging populations.
* Ensure the copy to be translated is culturally relevant.
* Before you start, plan how your materials will be, accessed and
used.Translated materials buried on a website, rarely reach their
audience, who don’t have sufficient mastery of English to find them!
* Use professional translators, not automated technology nor
unqualified bilingual staff.
6 Participate in activities, such as training, to extend your knowledge and understanding of diverse cultures and practical communications approaches.
Of course, I can’t resist the inevitable plug. ComAbility is currently offering two relevant training sessions.
* Wednesday 10 October: Making It Happen-Disability and
Participants: Those working with people from diverse communities
or with a disability.
* Wednesday 31 October: Introducing a Professional Approach to
Participants: Professional communicator’s and those with
responsibility for developing information for diverse audiences.