In July 2020 we reviewed our work on racism and inequality and published an updated version of our Equality Action Plan. One year on, we’re sharing how we’re doing on the goals we set ourselves. The Equality Action Plan is a living document and so some of the activity and goals change over time. Where this is the case, we have explained why.
The current Equality Action Plan covers a two-year period until summer 2022 when we will publish a new version of the plan. As part of this update we have added additional actions for the next year (2021-22).
We continue to listen to conversations about racism and inequality, and to learn. In response to concerns expressed about the term BAME over the last year – including by the #BAMEOver campaign who made this statement – we no longer use this term internally or externally to refer to people who experience racism, and have updated the plan accordingly. We understand the importance of using specific language when referring to specific identities, and will continue to invite people to describe their own identity where possible. Where using a collective term is unavoidable, we will use ‘people of colour’ as a term now commonly used by communities of colour themselves, and a term that has fewer directly negative connotations than BAME, which “unhelpfully blends ethnicity, geography and nationality”.
Thinking about the last year, here are the areas where we have made most progress:
- Internal processes: we have built in regular internal reviews of our work on Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) where the whole team reviews what we have done and suggest ways that we can improve individually and as a team. We’d like to thank our excellent D&I specialist, Yassine Senghor, for her insightful and thoughtful advice. Yassine has worked with us to train the team and review our activity, and continues to offer challenge and support.
- Accessibility testing: we wanted to make Rider Spoke, a bicycle-based work, more accessible for disabled audiences and carried out extensive user testing to make adjustments before starting to tour the work again from May 2021. We learnt a huge amount from this process and captured our learning in a new resource for arts and heritage organisations. We advocate for accessibility when we plan presentations with our tour partners, and use access checklists across all our work.
- Recruitment: we reviewed our recruitment process with Yassine in early 2021 and applied inclusive recruitment principles to our Communications Manager recruitment in the spring and summer of this year. In particular, we thought carefully about what criteria were genuinely ‘essential’ for the job, and emphasised opportunities for learning and development within the role. One of the candidates we interviewed requested having interview questions in advance to make the process more accessible, and so we decided to share questions with all the candidates prior to interview. This was an eye-openingly positive experience: we will continue to do this in future and would recommend this approach to other employers. We received very positive feedback from candidates about the way we recruited, and we were ultimately able to make progress against our goal to diversify the Blast Theory core team as a direct result of running a more inclusive process.
We have made progress, but recognise that this work is an ongoing commitment and that it will take time to achieve our goals. We will continue to hold ourselves to account, and are open to comments, suggestions and criticism. If you want to get in touch with us, please email our Director Matt Adams at [email protected]uk.