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Our Commitment to Anti-Racism

Our Commitment to Anti-Racism



Spike Island is pro-equality and committed to being an anti-racist organisation. We believe Black Lives Matter and stand in full support of Black communities in the UK and elsewhere at this time, 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.

What recent events make so painfully clear however 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 will invest 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. As with many arts organisations, our commitment to diversity is well demonstrated by our artistic programme, and yet we fall short when it comes to our governance, staffing and engagement with our communities. We therefore commit to transforming our working culture, HR practices and consultation processes in order to make our organisation 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

  • Commit to working with over 20% artists of Black, Asian and ethnic minority background through our artistic programmes (Exhibitions, Public Programmes and Artist Development activities), to continue to be representative of the Bristol population.
  • Annually publish the demographics of our staff, trustees, audiences and the various freelance workers and practitioners (artists, curators, technicians, etc.) we employ, outlining how we plan to ensure diversity across all of these groups. We will publish our 2019/20 report via our website on 1 October 2020.
  • 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.
  • Introduce mandatory unconscious bias training for all staff annually.
  • Regularly commission and present art and ideas focusing on Black experience (intersectional and inclusive in approach).
  • Ensure that our artists’ studios are managed fairly for everyone, guaranteeing equality of opportunity for Black and other underrepresented artists. We have already introduced a Studio Review Process to make sure this happens. Find out more here.
  • Use our platform to raise awareness of anti-racism and support the cause publicly and internally.

Longer-term Actions

  • Ensure that our workforce is more representative of society by updating our recruitment policies and procedures.
  • Diversify and develop our board membership (the demographics of which will be published annually, beginning on 1 October 2020). A Board Development subcommittee has already been established to begin this work.
  • 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 ethnic minority 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 and in support of Black Lives Matter 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 posted on 14 July 2020.