This episode’s guest, Nina Simon, Founder of Of/By/For All,knows that what looks like a “welcome” sign for some people can be a “keep out” sign for others, especially in civic and cultural spaces (think libraries, theaters, parks, & museums). Nina and her colleagues at Of/By/For All are turning cultural elitism upside down by changing the representation of stakeholders in cultural institutions and working with the people who have been most excluded to address systemic barriers and make real changes together. 

Nina Simon is deeply committed to the principles of inclusion and is working with hundreds of civic and cultural organizations worldwide. In this episode, you will find inspiration and practical pointers for making your organization and programs more equitable and inclusive, too. We hope you’ll get a lot of of this episode where our host, Becky Margiotta, interviews Nina. 

Show Highlights: 

  • Creating all-inclusive spaces for communities 
  • Utilizing parks to connect people 
  • The importance of integrating culturally relevant elements 
  • Making institutional changes to create a sense of belonging for everyone 
  • Looking for invisible “keep out” signs that others may see 
  • What participatory design looks like and the community process 
  • Taking advantage of crises and making large-scale change 
  • Tools and concrete practices to become more of, by, and for your community 
  • Courses focusing on making inclusion something you do instead of something you talk about 
  • Providing a framework to amplify an organization’s ability to achieve success 
  • Integrating digital media and using technology to reach people 
  • Socializing practices and getting organizations involved 
  • Self-assessing organizations to evaluate how representative they are of the community 
  • Inviting people to share what they have to contribute and engaging new people 
  • Breaking free from oppressive spaces and getting outside of our comfort zone
  • Navigating personal insecurities and using our humanity to make space for others 
  • How to create firm connections and acknowledge when others are whitewashing
  • Counterbalancing between using the right language and taking action  
  • How to address the harm that organizations cause communities 
  • Establishing clear expectations across the board 


Contact Nina:

The Participatory Museum

The Art of Relevance

Follow Nina on Twitter