Our Commitment to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Part One: Policy

The mission of the Paul Mellon Centre (PMC) as an educational charity and research institute is to champion new ways of understanding British art history and culture. Through all areas of our work, we promote activities that enhance and expand knowledge of British art and architecture. However, we are aware that not everyone has access to such knowledge, nor the opportunity to either produce it or engage with it. As an organisation, we recognise that there are numerous exclusions and omissions within our field. We therefore acknowledge that there is much to be done to make our activities as a research centre (as well as our workplace) more equitable, diverse and inclusive.

This policy sets out our commitment in this area. It also explains why we believe an institutional pledge to an ethos of equality, diversity and inclusion in all that we do is central to achieving the Centre’s mission.

Through this commitment, we believe that the histories of British art will be enriched and made more relevant to a broader range of people in the future. This will, we hope, encourage new audiences to interact with our work at the Centre, thereby attracting a more diverse pool of applicants from a wider range of backgrounds to collaborate with us. The inclusion of voices, narratives and experiences that have been marginalised or excluded in the past will have a transformational impact on the future of the Centre and upon British art studies in a broader sense, both in terms of the kinds of work we support and publish as well as the communities we serve and include in our workforce. We hope that the commitments set out here will make the Centre a more equitable and inclusive environment, as well as inspire new kinds of research and work in British art and culture. Overall, we want the Centre to be an inspirational, enriching and fair place for all to be involved with.

We commit to ensuring diversity, preventing unlawful discrimination and creating an equitable and inclusive environment in which everyone has access to knowledge of British art, architecture and visual culture across our all our activities. We are resolved to ensure that everyone who encounters the work of the PMC—including colleagues, audiences at our events, users of our facilities, contractors and job applicants—will be treated fairly, with dignity and respect.

As an organisation we will be more vocal in combating racism, discrimination and exclusion at every level of our work. We will collaborate with individuals and with partner organisations to challenge and counteract racism and discrimination within the art sector and academia. We will listen to our staff and to members of our community in order to address these issues within our own organisation and in the wider fields of British art and art history. We will also share ideas with and learn from our colleagues at our sister institution, the Yale Centre for British Art.

This equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) policy is fully supported by the Senior Leadership Team, and the action plan associated with it sets out responsibilities for implementing different areas of the policy as well as a timetable for its review.

Our EDI policy is built around four commitments, and the associated action plan (which is under development) is designed to help us uphold them. The commitments are as follows:

  1. To become a more diverse workforce, and one that is more representative of society as a whole.
  2. To create an inclusive working environment—one that promotes dignity, respect and access for all—and one that is free from bullying, harassment, victimisation and discrimination.
  3. To serve a more diverse community and engage with new and under-represented audiences both globally and here in the UK.
  4. To produce more expansive, equitable and critically self-reflective bodies of knowledge about British art and architecture.

Part Two: Legal Obligations

The key piece of legislation framing and underpinning our work in this area is the following:

The Equality Act (2010) {the Act}, which became law in October of 2010 and replaced all previous equality legislation in England, Scotland and Wales—principally:

  • The Race Relations Act (1976)
  • The Disability Discrimination Act (1995)
  • The Sex Discrimination Act
  • The Equal Pay Act
  • The Employment Equality Regulations (2006) [Age]
  • The Civil Partnership Act (2004)
  • The Employment Equality Regulations (2003) [Religious Beliefs and Sexual Orientation]

Broadly speaking, the Act prohibits organisations from (either directly or indirectly) discriminating against, harassing or victimising an individual on the basis of any of the nine protected characteristics described in the Act. There are some circumstances in which treating someone differently because of one or more of the protected characteristics is lawful.

The Act permits organisations to take proactive and proportionate steps to alleviate any disadvantages for groups with a particular protected characteristic. They are also allowed to take action in order to enhance inclusion and increase their participation, as well as to meet any identified needs. This is called positive action.

The protected characteristics under the Act are:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender reassignment
  • Marriage and civil partnership
  • Pregnancy and maternity
  • Race
  • Religious or other belief
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation

All processing of personal data in relation to our EDI work (and all work at the Centre) is carried out in accordance with our Data Protection Policy and Privacy Notice and is in compliance with the Data Protection Act (2018) and the UK General Data Protection Regulation of 2018.

This policy does not form part of any staff members’ contract and may be updated from time to time.

Last updated 06/01/2022