Since the killing of George Floyd on 25th May, there has been a wave of protest worldwide, focused on this particular tragedy as well as the thousands that came before it and beyond that, the systems of discrimination and unequal treatment that underlie every Black life lost. Like so many other individuals and organisations, we have taken this time to re-examine our own place in a world that has let this systematised violence go on for too long.
City Arts exists to give everyone the opportunity to be creative because creativity makes people happier, healthier, empowered and more equal. It can sometimes seem like a small thing in the face of the huge inequalities that exist in our society as well as around the world. We know that compared to policing reform, reshaping social policy, addressing historical injustice, improving political representation, tackling economic inequality and ensuring equal treatment under the law, art might seem small – but it can have a huge effect on the character of our society, how we see ourselves and how we treat each other.
We do our best to work with a truly diverse range of artists, reach Black communities and give everyone a voice – particularly when their voices have been silenced in the past. Recently, we’ve been working with partners that can help us do this, including Nottingham Refugee Week and the City Council’s Community Cohesion team. We want to give every person and every community a creative voice and a chance to claim their rightful place in the cultural life of Nottingham.
We also know there are things we could do better. Our staff and board could be more diverse in terms of ethnicity and background. When we commission work, we need to find ways to go beyond the usual networks and recruit more Black artists and artists of colour. There are communities in the city we want to find better ways to reach. These are all things we’re working on.
At this time of speaking up, of reckoning and change, we’d like to make it very clear where we stand. City Arts stands with Black Lives Matter and with the calls for a better, more just society. We believe in the power of creativity to build a more equal world. We will work hard to live up to these ideals.
The staff and board of City Arts