Towards an anti-racist arts industry

26 May 2021

What does it mean to be Black in the arts industry today? Marking the one-year anniversary of the death of George Floyd, Gabrielle Brooks shares why she founded BlackStage UK.

Free to speak? Not if you work in the arts

A photo of statues of angels, one with a gag over its mouth
20 Feb 2020

As ArtsProfessional unveils the explosive findings from its recent Freedom of Expression survey, Liz Hill examines the soul of a sector that believes it is owed artistic freedom but doesn’t tolerate freedom of speech within its own ranks.

Stories of racism at the Barbican 'ring true', Gompertz says

25 Oct 2021

Stories of institutional racism at the Barbican Centre "ring true to me", Will Gompertz has said.

The Interim Managing Director, promoted following Nicholas Kenyon's resignation in June, told The Times he'd heard similar accounts to those published in Barbican Stories during his time at the BBC.

“It’s been clear to me for years that the subsidised arts didn’t really reflect the communities they said they were serving. I did several reports for the BBC on that and spoke to practitioners of colour who said the game was rigged.

"The arts have been too slow to respond to how the world is changing, too slow to open up and include. They have been good at the rhetoric but not good at the delivery.”

Gompertz is now charged with making that change at the Barbican. He rejected reports of a toxic atmosphere causing mass resignations in recent months.

"The Barbican is full of dedicated staff who care deeply about the place.”

A review into the centre's culture and practices is under way.

Khan invests £1m to diversify London’s public spaces

21 Oct 2021

A new fund to improve the diversity of London’s public spaces has been announced by London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

Untold Stories will offer community-led organisations between £1,000 and £25,000 to develop new murals, street art, street names and programmes.

Recent research into London’s sculptures found huge gaps in representation. More than a fifth of London's statues are dedicated to named men, whilst only 4% are dedicated to named women. Just three of almost 1500 public monuments depict named women of colour.

Khan said London’s statues, street names and buildings have shown a limited perspective of the city’s history for “far too long”.

“I’m determined to do everything I can to ensure our public realm presents a more complete picture of everyone who has made London the incredible city it is today.”

Untold Stories opened its first application round Thursday (October 21), with a deadline of January 12.

Design chosen for National Windrush Monument

19 Oct 2021

The Windrush Commemoration Committee has selected Basil Watson’s design to stand as the National Windrush Monument.

Watson’s entry, chosen from a shortlist of four, depicts a man, woman and child climbing a mountain of suitcases hand-in-hand to demonstrate "the inseparable bond of the Windrush pioneers".

The committee said it received the most positive feedback from online survey and focus groups.

"I look forward to bringing my design to life, because I know how much this means to the Windrush community," said Watson, whose parents were part of the Windrush generation.

The monument, which will stand at London Waterloo station, is expected to be unveiled on Windrush Day 2022 (June 22).

'Break glass' campaign highlights inequalities in the arts

14 Oct 2021

A giant box bearing the slogan "break in case of arts emergency" has appeared in London as part of a campaign highlighting inequalities in the arts.

The boxes showcase artworks by young people involved with charity Arts Emergency as well as statistics on the arts workforce. 'Break the glass' is a euphemism for joining the mentoring network.

Only 4.8% of people working in music or the visual or performing arts are from a Black, Asian or ethnic minority background and only 12% are working class, Arts Emergency reports.

The box has debuted at the Museum of London and will tour several local venues before arriving at Liverpool's World Museum in time for its 2022 launch event.

The campaign is supported by organisations including the BFI, Whitworth Gallery, Strawberries and Creem Festival and professional website Linkedin.


When boards go bad: how to take inclusive action

graphic of two characters arguing
13 Oct 2021

Over the past year, Amanda Parker has been privy to several board-level conflicts that she describes as nightmarish. Boards, she advises, need to ensure democratic processes support equitable redress. 

Culture Secretary's comments on class resonate with the sector

07 Oct 2021

Nadine Dorries courted controversy by saying you have to come from privilege to make it in the arts. Is she right? 

£2m ringfenced to invest in BAME creative businesses

07 Oct 2021

£2m of a £24m fund will be ringfenced to support Black, Asian and minority ethnic-led creative businesses.

Creative Growth Finance, a specialist lender for the creative industries, says businesses where the executive team is at least one third BAME will be eligible for support, as well as those that produce tools to improve the sector's inclusivity.

Chief Financial Officer Mehjabeen Patrick said the creative industries are pushing boundaries but that the products of creativity too rarely reflect the diversity of their creators.

"This is especially true at business leadership level, where opportunities for progression are, or appear, unattainable to many."

The Creative Growth Finance Debt Fund was established last year by Triodos Bank and Creative England.

Businesses must have an annual turnover of at least £300,000 to apply.

We need to talk about race

image of people with slogans over their mouths
06 Oct 2021

A reluctance to share opinions openly is a significant block to achieving racial equity. But as Kevin Osborne argues, without understanding prevailing attitudes to racial inequity we are unlikely to reach effective solutions.

Optimism with a side of caution

06 Oct 2021

Nadine Dorries is a gift horse the cultural sector shouldn't look in the mouth.

Female performing arts graduates earn more after five years

05 Oct 2021

Female performing arts graduates' earnings outstrip their male counterparts' after five years.

The average salary for a female performing arts graduate is £21,900, rising from £14,200 in the first year after finishing their studies.

Whilst men earning more in the initial stage of their careers with an average salary of £14,300 in their first year, women earn more on average three years in - £18,300 compared to £17,500.

The opposite is true of creative arts and design graduates: females earn less than males from the get go - £16,400 on average compared to £16,800 in their first year working.

The gap grows with time, with men earning £23,400 on average after five years, £1,900 more than female creative arts graduates.

Creative arts, where 60% of graduates are women, provides the lowest financial returns of any course of study, analysis by the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) shows.

Xiaowei Xu, a Senior Research Economist at IFS, said women disproportionately chose subject with lower-paying career options.

"Of course, money isn’t – and shouldn’t be – the only factor when it comes to choosing what to study. But more needs to be done to inform young people about the financial consequences of degree choices, and to overcome gender stereotypes, so that women are not locked out of high-paying careers by choices at a young age.”



PRS reports gender and ethnicity pay gaps

28 Sep 2021

PRS for Music has narrowed its gender pay gap but white employees earn up to 26% more than those of colour.

The collecting society has published reports on its gender and ethnicity pay gaps as it announces two new full-time posts to "provide further expertise in equality and diversity".

Its average gender pay gap has decreased from 13.5% last year to 10.6% this year. 

However, there is an average wage gap of 20% and a median gap of 26% in favour of white employees over their colleagues of colour.

This is "predominantly driven by the proportion of Black, Asian or ethnic minority background employees in lower banded roles," PRS reports

It says it has trained all hiring managers on inclusive recruiting and increase its use of recuritment agencies that specialise in diverse candidates.

"Internally, the organisation is increasing its focus on nurturing diverse talent using talent reviews and career development plans, including coaching and management development."

Coventry 2021: spotlighting disabled artists 

a group of performers
28 Sep 2021

Jake Bartle reports on how Coventry UK City of Culture 2021 is shining a spotlight on disabled artists.

Few of ACE's priority places are among the lowest funded

23 Sep 2021

Fifty-four priority areas for investment have high rates of deprivation and low cultural engagement, but some of the lowest funded regions have missed out.

Half victory for Arts Council England in disability discrimination case

22 Sep 2021

The funder has been cleared of indirect discrimination but its lawyer admits "there was perhaps a lack of a full understanding" about its own recruitment policy.

What’s power got to do with it?

illustration of three people
22 Sep 2021

Power shapes our lives and our decision making 24 hours a day. What is it doing to you? Suzanne Alleyne investigates.

Equity warns of hardship over Universal Credit cut

21 Sep 2021

Performers face financial hardship if the Government proceeds with plans to cut a £20 per week Universal Credit uplift.

53% of Equity members in a new survey said the policy would hurt them.

41% said they would be unable to meet essential costs, with a third unable to continue seeking work in the industry.

Equity believes the cut will have an even more pronounced impact on younger talent, underrepresented groups and those from working class backgrounds.

"These changes to Universal Credit will plunge thousands of Equity members into poverty or force them to leave the profession,” Equity’s Lead Tax and Welfare Rights Official Alan Lean said.

The union has called on the Government to abandon the proposed cut, scheduled to come into effect October 6.

Need to diversify, but can’t find the staff?

two women shaking hands
14 Sep 2021

As arts organisations struggle to fill critical roles, Amanda Parker shares must-dos - and must don’ts - for those hoping to recruit a talented, experienced and inclusive workforce. 

Tie funding to compliance with employment law, MPs say

14 Sep 2021

The sector and its funders must adopt measurable diversity targets or risk losing "an entire generation of talent".


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