Anti racism commitment
Meaningful change that tackles systemic biases
Plymouth Culture has been working with other National Portfolio Organisations (NPOs) throughout the last year in an ambition to establish an anti-racism culture within our own organisation and across the NPO collective in the city of Plymouth.
We have recognised through this work that words and statements are simply not enough. We need action. Whilst many of us have individually taken positive steps to be more inclusive and create equity, many have failed to address the systemic biases within our organisations and the sector.
We want to apologise for this failure. We understand the harm this has caused to Global Majority artists, creatives and audiences, and the opportunities they have been unable to access as a result.
We have not been bold enough in our allyship. As a result we are learning, and have begun a journey of collective commitment to anti-racism. We want this journey to be transparent so we can hold ourselves and others to account, and we can advocate for other artists and cultural organisations to join us on this journey.
We have documented our journey to date and our commitment to action, which can be found below and in our Global Majority Accountability Commitment Tables, a tool that has been developed from best practice examples and that we have used to track our progress. We will continue to share our journey from this point forward, providing regular updates on our progress as a means of remaining accountable.
The NPOs engaged in the anti-racism commitment include Plymouth Culture, The Box, Theatre Royal Plymouth, Barbican Theatre Plymouth, Literature Works, KARST, Plymouth Music Zone, Take A Part and Real Ideas
The Journey so far
In 2020/21 we commissioned Lorna Rose in partnership with talking on corners founder Ella S Mills, to lead a research project entitled Spaces to Speak. This project was funded through the Cultural Investment Fund, a collective fund financed by the NPOs including Plymouth Culture, The Box, Theatre Royal Plymouth, Barbican Theatre Plymouth, Literature Works, KARST, Take A Part and Real Ideas.
The project was designed to listen with care to Black and Brown creatives and organisations to clarify the work that needs to be done in Plymouth, and how this can be undertaken in a meaningful and sustainable way.
This work identified an appetite for dialogue in the city to raise the voices of Black and Brown creatives, but that fear, uncertainty and systemic racial hierarchies were preventing significant change from happening. It was clear that commitment to action was needed and that the NPOs should show leadership through action.
In 2021/22 Plymouth Culture commissioned Lorna and Ella to progress the recommendations from their research to lead a process with the NPOs to create accountability action plans. Through extensive research, learning from other best practice examples, and collective conversation they developed the Global Majority Accountability Commitment Table.
In 2022 the NPOs committed to a joint programme of work focused on tackling systemic racism. In early 2023 we appointed Natasha Player as a facilitator and critical friend to lead a series of action learning sets with the NPOs, facilitating listening and learning. This started a programme of deep work to enable personal development and organisational change. Each NPO involved in this programme of work has developed an Accountability Commitment Table which they will now implement.
During this time, we aligned our second round of Cultural Investment Funding (CIF) with our anti-racism work, selecting three organisations who embarked on their own journeys to explore, research and test ideas related to the issues of racism in the creative sector in Plymouth. The learning from these projects has informed our commitment tables and we continue to disseminate this learning to the wider cultural sector.
The second round of CIF funding was financed by Plymouth Culture, The Box, Theatre Royal Plymouth, Barbican Theatre Plymouth, Literature Works, KARST, Plymouth Music Zone, Take A Part and Real Ideas.
View Accountability Tables:
The Journey to come
The Accountability Commitment Tables are living documents and will be reviewed collectively by the NPOs every three months. We will publish an update on this website every six months to remain accountable.
Our facilitated work with Natasha Player has created a framework which we will apply to future collective action linked to our work around Inclusion. On an annual basis we will identify a community underrepresented within the cultural sector. We will work with critical friends, facilitators and individuals with lived experience over a 12-month period to listen and learn. We will then take the following 12-months to embed the learning and take forward individual and collective actions.
We realise that we are in a fortunate position to have the time and resource to undertake this work. Other artists and organisations may be committed to change but do not have access to the same level of resources. As such we will develop an anti-racism resource which will share the links, research and information we encounter throughout this journey as a means of facilitating others to join our commitment to anti-racism. We will create a mechanism for others to add to this resource, knowing that anti-racism work is taking place across the sector and we can learn from one another.