Our Commitment to Anti-Racism: An Update from the PMC

  • 1 March 2021

In the statement that we shared on 5 June 2020 about our commitment to anti-racism at the Centre, we undertook to communicate the ways in which we are changing our policies and practices. This is the second of such updates, following the update published just over six months ago, on 24 August 2020.

Within the Centre, a race equity working group has continued to meet monthly, to research and discuss best practice in this area. In September, all staff were invited to an unconscious bias training session, organised in collaboration with Dr Ope Lori and PILAA, and led by Dr Lori and Professor Lez Henry of the University of West London. This was followed, in December, by an all-day, Centre-wide session on language use in the areas of race and ethnicity, again organised in collaboration with Dr Lori and PILAA, and again led by Dr Lori and Professor Henry.

Over the past six months, the Centre has also begun the process of drafting a new inclusion policy, to be finalised this summer. We have also been developing a new fee structure for external contributors to the Centre’s activities, informed by best practice for fair pay.

Over the same period, the British Art Network, which is convened from the Centre, has taken important steps to become more representative in its governance and activities. New members of its Steering Group will be joining later this month. Its Research Groups now include four with a strong focus on issues of race and representation: Black British Art; British South-Asian Visual Art Post Cool Brittania; Race, Empire and the Pre-Raphaelites; and The Re-Action of Black Performance. Additionally, one of the two seminar series it supports is this year devoted to the subject of ‘Reimagining Colonial Narratives’.

As we stated last June, we are fully committed to weaving anti-racist values into the fabric of our institution. The kinds of initiatives listed above are intended to contribute to a longer-term programme of change, which will find expression across the entirety of our activities. Given that this is such a dynamic and ongoing process, we have decided that, from now on, we will report upon relevant developments as and when they take place, rather than through a fixed half-yearly update.