History and Summary
This past year members of the Music and Theatre Arts Department at University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, including faculty, staff, and students, created a project entitled "A Year of Inclusivity," which had a central goal of increasing the programming of "underrepresented" composers, a term selected because of its inclusive nature, raising such issues as gender, racial or cultural background, and sexual orientation. While the importance of inclusion permeates discussions in education, achieving a diverse and inclusive curriculum in music programs, at any level, is complex and presents inherent difficulties, more so than for many disciplines due to the centrality of historic traditions. Beyond more inclusive programming, this project included related faculty-student research projects, special guests, and lectures. The project's impact on program selection was contextualized through a faculty-student research project which determined patterns surrounding the programming of compositions by women throughout the history of the department. At UW-EC up through the1970's, only 1% of concert repertoire was by women, and despite major societal changes with second-wave feminism during the 1960's and 70's, this percentage increased to only 1.5% for the 1980's and to 3% for 1990-2005.While the programming during the eight-year period from 2005-2013 showed a noted increase, 94% of the programmed compositions in our department remained those of men. During "A Year of Inclusivity," the percentage of compositions by women in comparison to the previous season almost tripled to17%.Reflecting greater challenges, the increase in compositions by non-white composers was less pronounced, increasing from 5 to 8%, from 57 to 89 compositions. Students were involved in the majority of the performances in the project; almost one-half were solo performances by students and almost one-third were by student ensembles. When performers and audiences walked into the concert halls during "A Year of Inclusivity," they were significantly more likely to encounter compositions by people like themselves, a privilege that should not be limited to white men." A Year of Inclusivity"aimed to raise consciousness of the importance of taking a more inclusive approach in the concert hall and to have a positive impact on future programming at UW-EC, as well as at all of the schools and institutions at which our students will teach and perform.