I think that diversity is important in any setting. To use a colloquial phrase: "variety is the spice of life." More so, diversity yields different perspectives on issues that we have not thought about or encountered ourselves. I endeavor to bring people together and focus on our similarities. Though people may come from varying backgrounds, what can be counted on is a shared human experience. I believe that it is this notion- shared experience- that can make the world a smaller place. I believe that empathetic understanding of struggle and the overcoming of it are important to cultural growth.
In teaching or directing, I try to bring the uniqueness of the individual into the work that they are performing. I also try to frame the work in a historical context where appropriate. I am a big believer in looking at works through both the period eye- seeing them in the context in which they were created - and in understanding where a work fits in modern perspective.
Besides cultural variations, diversity also includes differences in opinion. I like to think of the arts as a place for people of all backgrounds to find their own means of personal expression. I believe in freedom of conscience and the right of an individual to express themselves freely. This is of course, the embodiment of the First Amendment to the US Constitution. Concurrent with this philosophy, however, is the inevitability of conflicting views. That is to say, while one is free to express their views, that does not make them immune from reproach, which is another person expressing their views.
Everyone holds their personal views sacred. It is important in any form of criticism to realize this- especially in the arts- people will often take things very personally. It is also important both for the artist to understand the effects and ramifications of their work and for the audience to understand the effect of their reaction. Context is always key.
Finally, it is crucial to understand that while not everyone may agree on everything or anything, everyone has a right to express their opinion. Everyone's opinion has inherit value. Everyone deserves to be respectfully heard.