Language and Identity at Spektrix
At Spektrix we’re committed to doing all we can to take an inclusive approach when describing the identities of individuals and groups. We’re also aware that this is a conversation in which opinions differ and accepted terminology is rapidly changing.
We’ve published this page to summarise our current approach and to explain the language choices we’ve made in our communications. We’ve reached this position through a combination of best practice research, internal conversation and connections with members of communities which are currently underrepresented in the cultural sector.
If you’d like more information, or if you’d like to discuss our approach, we welcome conversation. Please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Specifically, this page relates to language around race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality, and disability and neurodivergence. However, some of the same principles may apply to other aspects of an individual’s identity.
Whenever possible, we’ll invite individuals or small groups to self identify.
- When describing race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality or disability and neurodivergence, we’ll follow the lead of the person being described or of their group leader or representative.
- When quoting from another piece of research, case study or similar, we’ll use the language as it’s presented in that example.
- We’ll proactively invite people to tell us how they’d like to be described and use this to inform everything from alt text to introductions.
We’ll follow the RITE principles in deciding when to include demographic descriptors:
- Relevance: We’ll only identify a person’s individual characteristics if they’re essential to the story or if that person has identified those characteristics as important to their personal identity.
- Individuality: Where an individual or spokesperson defines their own identity we’ll respect their language, even if it differs from our suggested terms.
- Transparency: We’ll be open, upfront and consistent about collecting this information from people. We’ll tell contributors how it will be used, give them an opportunity to ask questions, and make sure we ask everybody in the same way.
- Euphemism: We’ll resist using words like ‘diverse’ or ‘differently-abled’ to avoid the subject. We’ll be honest, specific and transparent about the language we’re using and why.
We’re committed to the principles of #BAMEover, which tell us that individuals with a wide variety of lived and cultural experiences should not be grouped under generalised acronyms.
We extend these principles to our work in the United States and Canada, and therefore we don’t use the terms BAME, BIPOC or other variants except where we’re directly quoting others.
We always enable people to self-define or choose not to say.
- Understanding the demographics of our colleagues, users and contributors is important to helping us measure how inclusive we are as a company, and where we could do more. However, we’ll never oblige anybody to disclose any protected demographic information or to align with strictly pre-defined options.
- In offering choices, we’ll avoid the word ‘Other’ and accept that pronouns and other demographic descriptors are markers of identity, not of preference.
We use people-first language as a default.
- However, we're aware this statement oversimplifies ongoing debate in the disability community about people first (People with dyslexia) vs identity first (Dyslexic people) language. Although we’ve stated that we’ll use people-first language if we can genuinely find no other guidance or consensus, the most appropriate usage in each case usually depends on the disability we’re describing and the guidance we receive from partners, users and others who represent or serve each community. We encourage anyone describing disability or neurodivergence to research or reach out to members of that community or partners who serve them, and to follow their guidance for specific groups.
- For example, we follow many of our access partners in the UK, Ireland, US and Canada in using the term disabled people (rather than people with disabilities), recognising that people may be disabled by society as well as by their own bodies.