News

Black Lives Matter: Our Commitments

Date published: 10 Sep 2020

Posted by: Suzannah Bedford

#BlackLivesMatter Our Commitments

City Arts came into being over 40 years ago. Our mission was, and still is, to make art for and with people from some of Nottingham’s most marginalised communities.

The significance of recent events, and campaigns they have inspired, call for us to become more proactive in addressing all kinds of oppression.

We will interrogate and improve our working practices. We will continue to remove barriers to access and promote inclusivity.

This work will be consultative and considered.  It must be embedded throughout our organisation, in our processes and programme, for it to be impactful.

Addressing inequality is central to our work. We will continue to prioritise new work, and adapt our existing work, to respond directly to the needs of those most marginalised. This is the beginning of a focused series of commitments to support this work.

What follows is a set of commitments in response to the death of George Floyd. The impetus set in motion by the Black Lives Matter movement demands we respond with action. Here’s how we will start:

Invest

  • We are grateful to our core funder Arts Council England for enabling us to invest in a programme of support for Black artists and artists of colour; a programme that will also consider intersectionality.

Consultation

  • Importantly, a steering group composed of Black People and people of colour will shape this programme of artist support.
  • We will use our expertise and resources to promote the voices and address the needs of marginalised people.
  • We will consult on our organisational language to eradicate any barriers to access we may unconsciously be creating.

Recruitment

  • Earlier in the year we committed to including a positive action statement on all advertised jobs and opportunities.
  • We will undertake a full review into our procedures around Board, staff and artist recruitment. The aim of this is to eliminate any barriers that disproportionally affect Black artists and artists of colour, alongside artists with other protected characteristics.
  • The process will be informed by the voices of people who have those protected characteristics.

Programme

  • The organisation will step-up its commitment to self-evaluation.
  • We will hold ourselves accountable for ensuring diversity across our programme; in the artists we work with and participants we reach.

Amplifying Voices

  • City Arts will use its expertise and resources to support the work of others. By offering a platform to those most marginalised, we will champion their voices.
  • We will signpost to organisations and artists who demonstrate best practice. We must be allies together.

Facilitate

  • We will draw on our connections to promote relevant debate; prioritising the voices of those affected.
  • We will contribute to, and learn from, emergent thinking across the sector.

Listen

  • We are excited to think more about intersectionality. City Arts has a proud history of inspiring the creativity of disabled people, older people, people with mental health issues.
  • We need to listen to learn more about how the issues affecting these groups interact with issues of race.

Remaining Open

This is just a beginning. It is a commitment to refocus the organisation’s efforts towards listening to, supporting and amplifying the creative voices of the most marginalised people in our community: the very people City Arts exists to serve.

We will draw on anti-racism resources and reading materials to become better informed about privilege as an organisation, at all levels. We will continue to keep a dialogue at all levels.

We promise to hold ourselves accountable and listen. We are open to discussion and will take action when we make mistakes. If you have anything you would like to add to our discussion, please get in touch.