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Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee Update May 2021

Work Areas Sep 20 - May 2021 

The Place is unequivocally committed to becoming an anti-racist organisation to promote and develop practices that put diversity, equality and inclusion at their core and lean into the conversations with our staff, students, artists, audiences, and peers to continually question, learn, and adapt.  

This page outlines the areas of work undertaken by the Equality Diversity and Inclusion Committee in 2020/21 and the resulting actions and changes in the organisation.  

The committee was established and met for the first time on 30 Sep 2020 and subsequently on 2 Nov 2020, 3 Feb 2021 and 5 Mar 2021. Ensuring continuity and accountability, the committee’s work is framed by a draft 10-point Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy. This continuously evolving document brings together actions and principles from existing corporate plans including Equality and Diversity Plan, Access and Participation Plan, Periodic Programme Review, National Partnership Strategy, Commissioning Strategy and our Business Plan. 
 

1. Embed a culture of equality, diversity and inclusion within the organisation and ensure everyone is held accountable in working together, in allyship, to make change and improvement. 
Actions detailed in the Equality and Diversity Action Plan 
Update:

  • 2 open workshops - one with permanent and casual/hourly paid staff, and one with teachers and students. The purpose: to listen and understand more about perceptions of our ways of working and the inclusivity of our staff culture. Following these, an anonymous survey of all staff – permanent and casual - was conducted to provide an alternative space to give feedback. 
  • Recognising that language and semantics are often constructs of systemic and institutional racism, the committee examined both the limitations of its own name as well as the prevailing acronyms used across the sector.
  • The Place has stopped using the acronym BAME and in instances where description of ethnic background or other protected characteristics is needed, we will use disaggregated, specific terminology. Whilst other stakeholders might continue to use outdated terms, we will aim to supply data whilst pushing for them to make similar changes.
  • The Place is also rolling out a general practice across the organisation to minimise the use of acronyms in internal and external communications as they can be alienating or exclusionary. This includes spelling out names of plans, strategies, organisations or entities such as the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee. 

Further actions: 

  • Feedback and subsequent discussions to continuously inform Equality and Diversity Action Plan. 
  • Minimise the use of acronyms in internal and external communications as they can be alienating or exclusionary. This includes spelling out names of plans, strategies, organisations or entities such as the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee.
  • Whilst other stakeholders might continue to use outdated terms, we will supply data whilst pushing for them to make similar changes.

 

2. Increase the diversity of our governors and all areas of our workforce.  
Actions detailed in the Equality and Diversity Action Plan 
Update: 

  • The Place’s processes of recruitment have been shared with the committee and changes to these are embedded in the Equality and Diversity Action Plan and the Business Plan. 
  • The Place has set a new baseline for governor diversity having exceeded targets in 2019/20

Further actions: 

  • Build on existing anonymous recruitment practices and recruitment clinics  
  • Bring external peers onto interview panels Diversify recruitment panels and collect feedback on selection process. Recruitment pack copy reviewed by committee members. Criteria for shortlisting significantly reduced and broadened.
  • Use external advice on distribution channels for vacancies opportunities.
  • In partnership with Creative Access and in addition to the 3 existing traineeships, create minimum of 2 new posts under the government’s Kickstarter programme Accept video and audio submissions for student, staff and artists applications.

 

3. Provide anti-racism education across The Place, to understand and confront individualised and systemic racism and privilege. 
Actions detailed in the Equality and Diversity Action Plan 
Update: 

  • All permanent staff have attended unconscious bias training led by an established partnership with the organisation Creative Access. Students have attended similar sessions with EqualiTeach. 
  • Online resource library of anti-racist literature, articles and media continuously updated and shared weekly with staff and students

Further actions:

  • Sustain partnership with Creative Access to support unconscious bias training 
  • Tender for new partner to deliver anti-racism training as a next step.

 

4. Increase diversity of student population and ensure necessary support and culture for all students to thrive 
Actions detailed in the Access and Participation Plan  
Update: New Access and Participation Plan 22-27 developed and submitted to Office for Students April 2021. 
Further Actions: Partnership with Applied Inspiration for the monitoring of the new plan benchmarked with comparable organisations and against sector nationally. 

 

 

5. Ensure the curriculum reflects the global and evolving breadth of dance as a contemporary art form
Actions detailed in the LCDS Periodic Programme Review   

Update

  • The work on a new, decolonised curriculum at London Contemporary Dance School (LCDS) has been underway since 2019. New undergraduate and Postgraduate courses have now been successfully validated by University of the Arts London and teaching will begin in September 2021. 
  • Faculty have shared with the committee how these courses will attract and broaden the range of dance practices taught at LCDS and change the way assessment practices are implemented.

Further Actions: 

  • Similar changes are now being implemented across other learning programmes at The Place to bring a greater range of dance practices into our programmes 
  • Future recruitment will focus on educators with experience of a wider range of dance and movement techniques

 

6. Increase our collaboration with artists with a breadth of lived experiences and whose work covers topics that are relevant to a diverse audience. 
Actions detailed in the Artistic Commissioning Strategy 
Updates: 

  • The committee has been supporting permanent staff to implement access riders (document and outlining disability access needs) for staff, freelance artists and visiting companies across all The Place’s activities to better support access needs. 
  • Open Call artist selection processes now always include external partners with a breadth of lived experiences.

Further Actions: 

  • For all visiting artist and staff across the organisation:
    • Committed to use access riders across all activity and provide different templates to meet different artists needs. 
    • Provide training for staff to implement access riders and support access needs.
    • Set central budget to ensure resources are available to support individual access needs.
    • Develop new starter forms for new casual and permanent staff.
    • Develop new artists contracts including commitment to improving accessibility.
    • Reviewing accessibility information on current website and embed accessibility in the new one.

 

7.Increase and deepen our partnerships with local organisations that represent the diversity of Camden and proactively bring our work to them.  
Actions detailed in the Equality and Diversity Action Plan 
Update: Partnership meeting with grant maker to enable continuation of Partner Schools programme. 
Further Action: Application to secure funds for programme continuation June 2021 

 

8. Create an inclusive organisational culture and building that welcomes all staff, students, artists and audiences. 
Actions detailed in the Equality and Diversity Action Plan, The Place Business Plan and the Access and Participation Plan 
Update: Following feedback from the staff and student workshops review and update The Place’s Equality and Diversity Action with a view to embedding actions in the values, Business Plan to Arts Council England, the Access and Participation Plan for Office for Students. 
Further Action: Updated Equality and Action Plan to be published on the website and updated in alignment with committee work annually 

 

9. Offer staff, students, audiences and artists clear ways to have their voice heard in relation to equality, diversity and inclusion. 
Actions detailed in the Equality and Diversity Action Plan
Updates

  • Meetings were held with alumni who came forward with experiences of racism in the School. These conversations contributed to the ongoing decolonisation discussions and fed into the design of the new UAL courses. 
  • The committee oversaw 2 workshops and an anonymous survey to listen to feedback from artists, students and staff.
  • Collaboration coach/pastoral care systems being implemented in Place co-productions
  • In relation to freelance artists, the committee discussed existing policies of harassment, bullying and equal opportunities and the associated procedures for investigating complaints and grievances. The committee are exploring whether any specific anti-racism contract clauses should be implemented.

Further Actions: 

  • Review and enhance student voice mechanisms
  • Create an anonymous reporting portal for micro-aggressions.
  • Working group to consider how we improve the way existing procedures, policies and resources can support/be available for freelance artists who experience racism or any form of harassment.
  • Increase policy/procedure awareness across permanent and casual staff and increase signposting to these in induction processes and contract stages.

 

10. Disaggregate statistics and KPIs, to distinguish between ethnicities and identities. 
Actions detailed in the Equality and Diversity Action Plan, The Place Business Plan and the Access and Participation Plan 
Updates

  • The committee has discussed the tension between the collection of data necessary both to create accountability internally and for external stakeholders and the reluctance of individuals to supply data that may be used to reinforce systems of tick boxing, tokenism or virtue signalling. 
  • New monitoring forms have been developed which disaggregate in questions.
  • Disaggregated data has been used to develop the new Access and Participation Plan

Further Actions: 

  • Develop our descriptions of why we collect monitoring data for purposes of accountability, advocacy and to drive change. 
  • Streamline and collate different monitoring data forms across organisation.
  • Increase transparency around the learning and resulting actions that follow data collection.