In summer of last year, as black squares went up in solidarity, African diaspora, Asian diaspora and ethnically diverse arts sector workers demanded explanations for the treatment they’d received, and en masse made recommendations for organisations to make anti-racist change.
In May 2021, Inc Arts sent out survey requests to 100 Arts Council England (ACE) National Portfolio organisations (NPOs), and the 16 organisations directly funded by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). Out of 831 ACE NPOs, we asked the 100 with the largest annual budgets.
With this survey, we wanted to see if arts and culture organisations were doing more than just posting a 'black square'.
Our new report, created in collaboration with The Bridge Group, exposes inequalities in the arts that have been exacerbated during Covid-19, and calls for urgent, practical action.
This report is about who gets ahead and how in UK arts management. The study includes over half a million quantitative data-points, more than 500 survey responses and 60 hours of qualitative interviews – and makes practical recommendations for change.
Hundreds of people working in a range of roles shared demographic information and occupational data, alongside their perceptions of opportunity, progression, diversity and inclusion across the arts sector. The findings are stark.
"In the UK we have a long tradition of maintaining structural inequalities, while simultaneously wringing our hands about it. What is stopping change? Retention of power is driven by fear, and a lack of imagination: a fear of losing relevance, status, incomes – considerations that all can relate to. Imagination takes courage: and right now, imagination is what is required of us all. The sector is at an important point of inflexion. It is the perfect time to experiment with radically different strategies for employment, progression and retention in the sector."
The report makes a range of practical recommendations, including:
We conducted a snap poll of ethnically diverse arts sector leaders (Artistic Directors, Executive Directors and equivalent roles), and London-based leaders whose work primarily target diverse audiences. The poll was open over 4 days, and was supported by interviews with a selection of the survey group.
The group was asked to share their experiences, outcomes and opinions of the Cultural Recovery Fund.
Read Inc Arts' 2020 snapshot report into the impact of coronavirus on the UK's ethnically diverse artists. Please note this has been revised, July 2020.
Then take a look at our recommendations for ethnically diverse inclusion in the arts and cultural sector. This document sets out recommendations for the UK’s cultural sector recovery that embeds ethnic diversity at the core of our return to artistic and cultural engagement.