In early June 2020, we made a public statement expressing our stand against racial injustice and oppression. We are now following this up with a positive commitment to concrete actions that promote inclusivity in our organisation and the sector in which we operate.
We are deeply aware of the extent to which Black people are underrepresented across our staff team, the senior management team and on our Board. Ensuring that this situation changes, not only through a genuinely held commitment but also through action, is a priority for us. This process is going to involve working closely with the Black community and must be a collective process. We commit to regular updates on our progress, and if we make mistakes, we will acknowledge them and strive to do better.
The global Black Lives Matter movement has laid bare what has long been evident: systemic racism is deeply ingrained in our society. Attempts have been made to address this reality, but actual change is long overdue. Public institutions such as ours have a crucial role to play in promoting anti-racism and in building a more tolerant, inclusive, equal and empathetic culture.
Below are the immediate steps The Hepworth Wakefield is taking in order to tackle racism in our workplace and programme. We are working on this with urgency and, further to the steps below, we will publish a more detailed Anti-Racism Action Plan by 30 November, following our 12 November Board of Trustees meeting.
– Taking positive action to diversify the THW Trust Board, all other Boards and advisory committees.
– Reviewing our recruitment practices to ensure they are fully inclusive, communicated as widely as possible and are welcoming to ethnic minority groups. For completion by 30 September 2020.
– Planning and delivering a comprehensive programme of unconscious bias and anti-racism training for all staff, Trustees and other Board and committee members. For completion by 30 September 2020.
– Reviewing and revising all relevant policies, including our Code of Conduct and staff induction, to include explicit references to our position on anti-racism. For completion by 30 September 2020.
– Revising all individual performance management plans to embed anti-racist and unconscious bias objectives and include anti-racist and unconscious bias training as part of every staff member’s professional development. For completion by 30 September 2020.
– Planning and delivering a new paid-placements and mentoring programme to support young Black people and other marginalised individuals into careers in the art and museum sectors. Working with the University of Sheffield, we have secured significant funding for this programme, which will commence in spring 2021.
– Working with our other partner universities to endeavour to secure funding for similar programmes.
– Establishing an Anti-Racism Trustee Taskforce to support our existing Diversity & Inclusion Action Group and to ensure we deliver on our commitments. Completed.
– Since opening, THW has focused on addressing the historic gender imbalance in Wakefield’s art collection. We will update our acquisitions policy to include an equal commitment to increasing the representation of Black artists in the collection. This work will be supported by the appointment of new advisors from Black and ethnic minority backgrounds to our Collection and Acquisition Committee. For completion by 30 September.
– THW supports artists at all stages of their career – from mentoring programmes for students and young people to commercial fairs, exhibitions, commissions and acquisitions. We commit to increasing the representation of Black artists throughout our programme.
– We are currently agreeing a Memorandum of Understanding between The Hepworth Wakefield and the Geraldine Connor Foundation to formalise the ongoing programme of joint working and mentoring of young Black artists in the Leeds City Region. For completion by 31 July 2020.
– We will reshape our Continuing Professional Development programmes for teachers and future work with schools to support the Black Curriculum, starting by making this campaign the focus of our flagship School Prints project in 2021.