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Friday 12 June 2020 – #BlackLivesMatter

We shared a statement on Tuesday 2 June to express our support for and solidarity with Black people and communities everywhere in the fight against racism in all its forms.

Following a week of reading, listening, learning and discussion, we now follow this statement up with the beginnings of a set of actions that we as an organisation, as well as a group of individuals who work within it, commit to.

This first set of actions is not the end – it is just the beginning. We will keep educating ourselves and keep looking for ways in which we can do better and contribute more effectively to the dismantling and eradication of institutional and societal racism. To facilitate this education, we commit to:-

•   Set aside funds to provide annual training for staff at all levels on Unconscious Bias and understanding Intersectionality in order to build approaches to inclusive practice and equity in everything we do.

•   Create a staff reading list from the many book titles that have been shared over the last week as vital reading. Every six weeks, we will host a staff discussion about one of these books to share opinions and insights.

We know that the issue of representation within our workforce is critical and we need to work harder to establish new models of leadership and governance that grow from innovative and inclusive practice and dialogue. We commit to:-

•   As a matter of priority, examine our recruitment procedures

•   Consult on our organisational language to understand better what barriers we may, unconsciously, be creating.

•   In this financial year (2020/21) work towards providing paid work placements and training opportunities for young people, and/or those who want to re-train, to remove the affordability barrier that disproportionately affects People of Colour from participation in gaining work experience in the cultural sector.

•   Work hard to create opportunities to make our staff team and the freelance creatives we contract, more representative of the communities in which we work.

We understand that as an organisation funded through public sector agencies we have a responsibility to ensure we use our platforms in an open, accessible and transparent way that is welcoming and hospitable for all. We commit to:-

•   Hold ourselves accountable and listen.

•   Be open to criticism when we get things wrong, learn from our mistakes, and take action to change

•   Embed ways of working within our team that enables and encourages both analysis and action.

•  Review our Organisational Policies to ensure we are explicit within them about our intended actions towards contributing to the dismantling and eradication of institutional and societal racism.

• Bear in mind the intersectional nature of equality across all our policies.

•   Re-examine our methods for deciding on creative programme and curatorial starting points.

• Invest in and support content that centres the experience of People of Colour by:-

a) supporting the artists and creatives who are already doing this work.

b) seeking active partnerships

c) commissioning new work

d) providing in-kind access to our venues and equipment

e)  sharing the work of others across our social media platforms

• Host and engage in conversation with artists, audiences and our local communities.

We would like to thank all those artists, curators and creative practitioners who have taken the time to write to us, both in the last two weeks and over a longer timeframe. You have provided insight, feedback and ideas for how we at Metal – and the cultural sector as a whole – can do better, work harder and act faster.

Tuesday 2 June 2020:

We have remained silent on social media today in solidarity with BLM #BlackOutTuesday #TheShowMustBePaused

We stand in solidarity with the Black community across the world and condemn racism in all its forms.

We encourage all our colleagues at Metal and our wider community to call racism out, act in protest, read, learn from those with lived experience, and where possible donate money and time to supporting causes which address systemic, institutional and all other forms of racism wherever they find it.

For further reading, please see:

Non-optical Allyship

How you can help practice anti-racism:

A guide to white privilege:   

5 ways to take action for all non-black people:

Anti Racist resource guide: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1a-lzdtxOlWuzYNGqwlYwxMWADtZ6vJGCpKhtJHHrS54/edit

https://www.itsnicethat.com/news/resources-supporting-black-lives-matter-movement-creative-industry-010620

#BlackLivesMatter