Life Unseen (2020)

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In collaboration with LIFEWTR by Pepsi and Revolt, QSIDE is launching a new study to shine light on the underrepresentation of minoritized groups in the arts including music, film, fashion, and contemporary art. With art’s power to share individuals’ expressions and stories, it is important that all voices, rather than a privileged few, can be heard through these mediums.

We analyzed crowdsourced data about artists in the US from 2018 and 2019. We examined axes of identity such as race and ethnicity and inferred sexual orientation, gender identity, and disability status under four main verticals: film, visual art, popular music, and fashion. By quantifying and bringing attention to the disparities in representation among these areas, we hope to inspire participation, dialogue, and change so that individuals from all backgrounds have the opportunity to be heard.

In every artistic discipline we examined, women artists were represented at lower levels than that of their representation in the overall US population according to Census data. Black male artists were underrepresented in every area except for popular music, according to Census data. In all cases where we were able to infer that people publicly identified as individuals of minoritized populations in terms of gender identity, sexual orientation, and disability status, all groups’ representation in the arts fell below that of their representation in Census data.

We hope that these findings will not only establish the clear disparities in artist representation, but propel the conversation around how we can achieve greater levels of equity in the arts. By studying this systemic underrepresentation, opportunities are created for structural changes to how the arts can be more inclusive of all potential artists from early on.