Our commitment to Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter written in bold white font on a plain black background

It is right that we are held accountable to public statements made in solidarity with Black Lives Matter. 

We would like to expand on our initial response and acknowledge that prior to this date, we have not communicated an anti-racist position as an organisation, accepting that we are complicit in many of the white-led power structures that exist in the arts.  

The organisation has always sought to act equitably, and centre the work of artists in all aspects of our activity. While we are guided by a diverse Board of Trustees, we have no Black leadership in our senior team. We are therefore committed to working with and alongside others on our response to Black Lives Matter. This is not to defer the complex and layered work we must undertake to enact alternative futures, and ways of being that do not knowingly or unknowingly suppress others because of their race. 

We will undertake a comprehensive review of our current Equality and Diversity Policy, and critically, how this policy is adopted in practice, and resources allocated to support it, across all our activities and endeavours. We will publish updates on this every six months, starting after our January Board meeting. We will also seek to collaborate with artists, communities, organisers and activists in North Kent, and in the visual arts sector more broadly, to support overdue structural change.  

Many resource lists have been published to enable arts workers to read, listen and learn about how to better support Black Lives Matter, and hold up a mirror to the structural inequalities that persist in the arts and culture, and as they apply to our sector as a whole. These have been written and compiled by people and communities for whom this has been a lifelong struggle and campaign. Thank you for your generosity in sharing this work.  

If you have any questions or comments in regard to this work, we are reachable at:

Please also note, as a member of the CVAN South East Network, we have also co-signed a regional statement, which can be viewed here.

January 2021 Update

Actions taken so far:

  • We are finalising anti-racism and unconscious bias training for all staff, working with a leading equality consultant, and are developing an action plan.
  • We have reviewed our recruitment practices, and now include distribution to wider regional networks, and have reviewed our Equality and Diversity policies at Board level. 

Actions to take in the next six months:

  • We will work with an equality consultant to develop our organisational action plan, and deliver training to our staff. 
  • We will further review our recruitment practices to include distribution to wider national networks.
  • We will undertake an organisational review, exploring operational ways of working, and people management approaches.
  • We will undertake a review of our programme and the way it is communicated and understood.
  • We will continue to conduct diversity monitoring with our workforce and governance with a view to ensuring representation: the percentage of people of colour on our Board of Trustees currently stands at 40%, and the percentage of people of colour within our current permanent and freelance staff stands at 33%.