Spike Island is pro-equality and committed to being an anti-racist organisation. Black Lives Matter and we stand in full support of Black communities in the UK and elsewhere, as well as anyone suffering from racism, oppression, discrimination or social injustice. We also express our solidarity with, and support for, the Black Lives Matter movement.
We first published this anti-racism page in July 2020 and we continue to share our commitments and progress via this page. This page was last updated in February 2021.
What recent events make so painfully clear is that words are not enough: we must do better and be held to account for our actions. We believe that all organisations should be anti-racist and pro-equality, and so we commit to working hard to dismantle the ways in which our organisation and our sector perpetuate white privilege and Black discrimination every day. Our complicity needs to be challenged in practical ways. To this end, we are investing time and resources into learning more about, and actively confronting, the systemic issues and barriers that cause and maintain structural inequality. In doing so, we hope to better demonstrate, and advocate for, the need for urgent and lasting change.
Spike Island is a place for sharing ideas and engaging in critical dialogue. We continue to champion, collaborate with, support and give voice to a diverse range of artists – including Black artists and others who are underrepresented within the sector – as part of our ongoing commitment to social justice and anti-racism. But there is much more to do, and so we will continue to listen to and learn from others in order to further tackle any barriers to entry or collaboration.
We also recognise that we need to hold a mirror up to ourselves. Although we consider ourselves allies, there is no doubt that we can be better allies. Our commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion is well demonstrated by our artistic programme, but we know that we could and should do much more to engage diverse communities through our governance and staffing. We must transform our working culture in order to make Spike Island more representative of our city.
We make this statement in the knowledge that being an anti-racist organisation that actively challenges social injustice requires ongoing work that never stops. With this in mind, we will continue to discuss and consult on these issues with our staff, board and external advisors, updating and adding to short- and long-term actions detailed below as they continue to develop.
SHORT-TERM ACTIONS – UPDATED 17 FEBRUARY 2021
- Continue with our commitment to work with over 30% Black, Asian and minority ethnic artists through our artistic programmes (Exhibitions, Public Programmes and Artist Development activities).
- Annually publish the demographics of our staff, trustees, audiences and the various freelance workers and practitioners (artists, curators, technicians, etc.) we employ and work with, outlining how we plan to ensure diversity across all of these groups. You can read our 2020/21 report below or download a pdf copy of these demographics.
- We are committed to diversifying and developing our board membership to ensure it is representative of our city, the artists and arts professionals we work with, and the audiences we seek to engage. On 30 November 2020 we announced the appointment of five new Trustees and our board membership is now 75% white, 17% mixed race and 8% Asian British. We will also soon be recruiting for a new Chair.
- Engage our staff team in monthly reviews of our Equality and Diversity Action Plan and anti-racist learning as part of their training and development.
- Our staff and trustees attend allyship training, last held in November 2020.
- Our senior management team will continue to develop their knowledge and understanding of equality, diversity and inclusion via training and workshops. We are actively seeking out opportunities for all staff members to attend similar training and to proactively share ideas about how we can adjust our working practices.
- We have introduced annual unconscious bias training for all staff and trustees, beginning in March 2021.
- Regularly commission and present art and ideas focusing on Black, Asian and minority ethnic experience (intersectional and inclusive in approach).
- Ensure that our artists’ studios are managed fairly for everyone, guaranteeing equality of opportunity for Black, Asian and minority ethnic artists. We have already introduced a Studio Review Process to make sure this happens. Find out more about the Studio Review Process.
- We are reviewing our current studio offer and how we can remove any barriers to inclusion. We will announce new opportunities in Summer 2021 (delayed from January 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic).
- Ensure that our Associates membership network supports more artists and arts professionals who identify as Black, Asian or minority ethnic. We are reviewing our current membership offer and how we can remove barriers to inclusion. We will announce new opportunities in Summer 2021 (delayed from January 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic).
- Use our platform to raise awareness of anti-racism and support the cause publicly and internally.
- Create and distribute a Code of Conduct by the end of March 2021.
LONGER-TERM ACTIONS – UPDATED 17 FEBRUARY 2021
- Ensure that our workforce is more representative of society by updating our recruitment policies and procedures. Our recruitment processes are being reviewed in detail, and new approaches and standards of recruitment will be an essential part of our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy 2021.
- Create a publicly available Ethics Policy to maintain openness, guide decision-making across the organisation, and ensure we do not contribute financially to, or benefit from, companies that condone racist, sexist, homophobic, ableist or transphobic behaviour.
- Further develop and create new structures for consultation through which to learn from, and work collaboratively with, Black, Asian and minority ethnic practitioners, audiences, staff, stakeholders, peers and experts to help embed change.
- Continue to pay all artists and freelancers fairly and on time, and review fees and rates of pay annually.
We will continue to publish our work on anti-racism via this page. We encourage you to join our mailing list to receive our monthly newsletter and notifications of updates.
Please also contact us if you have ideas or comments.
This statement was first posted on 14 July 2020 and updated in September 2021.