It is important in a creative industry to create with social awareness in mind. This means that in order for the success of your work, there needs to be a measure of inclusivity that will allow a diverse range of people to access and use your products. This is not just about financial success due to diversification it’s about social awareness and sensitivity so as not to potentially alienate or offend the consumer. How we treat others that are “less able” or from different backgrounds is result of implicit social cognition.
Implicit social cognition
There are arguments that social behaviour can operate in an unconscious fashion. It is concerned with the unconscious processes underlying judgements and social behaviour.
Unconscious bias results from interactions with other people in your society as well as exposure from the media. In this age the exposure from media is extremely saturated and the stereotypes that are presented are ingrained from a young age. The onus is on everyone to become more aware and educated in the reduction of unconscious bias.
How does this apply to me?
When going through the lecture materials, this is an in depth discussion that would be impossible to fully realise in a blog post here, so I will keep it limited to my experience.
In the grand scheme of things, where does this leave me and my possible future career? How do I enable my creations to become inclusive? I can understand in a different industry like gaming, film and animation, that deal with character development and make use of visual cues, that it is easier to be aware socially of how your work will impact the masses. So how does this translate to audio?
At first glance Audio is good for the hearing impaired. This means that by use of clean audio I can create things that in their entirety will be used alongside with visuals to help captivate an audience. There is also the matter that audio encompasses a lot of different things. There is the audio for film, games, audiobooks, and radio. Most of these media work in concert with audio. Does this then mean that the same sort of demands will apply to be socially aware of racism, gender bias and ableism? Its a hard thing to quantify, to be socially and culturally aware in the grand scheme of things when dealing with audio in of itself.
This may mean that I am socially responsible to only produce tracks that are aware and if offensive, do I take the “high road” and refuse work? Because I am female, I know that this influences my decisions greatly. For example I wouldn’t feel comfortable producing songs that were derogatory in nature to women. But in collaborations there may be a relationship that is similar to friendship that would mean that I knew the author of the work and knew that they didn’t mean any harm in an insensitive way. How then do I deal with that situation? Bringing up an important social issue in an arena that is creative and people may be sensitive about that critique in their work.
Another issue may be if I am doing the audio for a film project or animation or game. These post production type media would be out of my control creatively considering the audio needs to communicate with the directors or creators to determine what they want and then deliver that. SO if a movie is culturally insensitive do I raise the issue and deal with the consequences of leaving the project or being kicked off. It’s a hard question to answer especially in an industry that is highly competitive. Am I obliged morally to put the need for change in front of my own career progression?
Of course I can’t actually answer these questions, because in the hypothetical sense I would want to be the bigger person and inspire change. However I don’t know if the situation will occur in the first place or what exactly my response will be.
design award. (2016). Retrieved from https://competition.adesignaward.com/awards/30.jpg
Gawronski, B., & Payne, B. (2010). Handbook of implicit social cognition. New York: Guilford Press.
Greenwald, A., & Banaji, M. (1995). Implicit Social Cognition: Attitudes, Self-Esteem, and Stereotypes (1st ed.). washington: Psychological review. Retrieved from http://faculty.washington.edu/agg/pdf/Greenwald_Banaji_PsychRev_1995.OCR.pdf
Hahn, A., & Gawronski, B. (2015). Implicit Social cognition (11th ed.). Retrieved from https://caa8e1207abbdbbfdeadf27c36addf5c0a4a74aa.googledrive.com/host/0BzJP1GqBZxxKRXF2ZVJQcE9fTkk/documents/HG2015Encyclopedia.pdf
Lai, C., Hoffman, K., & Nosek, B. (2016). Reducing Implicit Prejudice (1st ed.). Retrieved from http://people.virginia.edu/~kmh3xm/Lai%20et%20al.%20-%20Compass.pdf
inclusive design. (2016). Retrieved from http://72abfb7c1a8a71411901-4a3d306595cd09781b35fe13ebdb4f63.r27.cf2.rackcdn.com/EF6FBDAF-31BD-4E2F-86AB-F45D6404F40A.jpg
How to. (2016). Retrieved from https://www-edc.eng.cam.ac.uk/tools/inclusivedesigntoolkit/teaser.jpg