Anti-Racism Statement

Published Friday 30 July 2021

Our anti-racist actions to date and our plans for the future

Derby Theatre aims to ensure social justice and inclusivity is at the heart of all we do. We do however recognise our privilege, bias and contribution to structural racism.

Since June 2020 we have been interrogating ourselves as an organisation on what we can do better and how we can become more proactively anti-racist.

We recognise that as a predominately white organisation we still have some significant work we need to undertake. We want to let you know what we have done so far and what we plan to do in the future.

Work we have undertaken:

General

  • We have actively attended events for the Black Lives Matter Derby Manifesto and EMBAA and listened to Black artists on their experiences of our organisation.
  • From these meetings we have actively supported 5 new Black artists in bespoke programmes of support to give them more access to our resources. This has ranged from cash, commissions, jobs, rehearsal space, development support and mentoring.
  • We have offered free space to the Windrush group and offered future resource and a commitment to supporting this work.
  • We have raised money to specifically expand the work we undertake with Sanctuary Seekers running two events specifically for those seeking sanctuary and commissioned a new piece of work which looks at arriving in the city.
  • We have established an East/West Midlands group that is supporting the roll out of the new GCSE Drama curriculum which has a focus on decolonising the curriculum and are developing school and university support programmes.
  • We have increased our commissions to artists of colour. This has included 12 new commissions in 2020/21 ranging from micro commissions (£4000) to main stage commissions (£8000 plus production budget)
  • We have committed to the Inc Arts Unlock process.
  • Programming – we have maintained our commitment to diverse programme.

Recruitment and Staffing

  • Since 2017 we actively use positive action in all recruitment.
  • We remove all personal information from job applications before shortlisting.
  • We have committed to Equity’s manifesto for casting
  • We have conducted a review of our recruitment processes to ensure our recruitment pool is as wide as possible. This includes advertising roles outside of our usual contacts etc
  • We have implemented changes in our recruitment processes to minimise unconscious bias and to ensure a more equitable process.
  • To ensure independence and representation we have committed to continue to have a person of colour on all interview panels and that where this is an external person we will commit to payment for their time.
  • We have actively diversified the board for the Derby CAN Project co- opting on two black companies and inviting 2 black community ambassadors and one Iranian ambassador. (all paid for their time)
  • We have actively diversified Derby’s Cultural Education Partnership co- opting on a black company to join the partnership.
  • We provide BSL and audio versions of Job packs.
  • In 2019 we expanded our Board to be more representative of our community.

Training

  • All staff have undertaken Unconscious Bias and Diversity training with Talawa and our Executive Director and Creative learning Director are attending the 6 weeks “Zesting” programme with Sour Lemons.
  • We have committed to paying for the training of all freelance artists working across a number of learning programmes to undertake weekly training that includes a session about culture led by East Midlands Black Artists Association.
  • Through Derby’s Cultural Education Partnership (DCEP) we are currently working with Munira Thobani - a leadership consultant with ED&I practitioner experience, who has developed a model for equality and inclusive leadership. This model provides a framework for the work that leaders need to do themselves in order to support others to help develop and practice anti-discrimination in decision-making and professional practice
  • Through Derby CAN we have undertaken the Unheard Voices Cultural Intelligence strategic inclusion programme led by Marsha Ramroop. This involved an in depth and strategic approach on how to consider inclusion across the organisation.

Our anti-racist work intersects with our wider commitment to Equality, Diversity and inclusion

There are also areas which intersect with our Equalities, Diversity and Inclusion policy...

  • We have allocated financial resource to EDI including paying a diverse led company to become a critical friend in helping us to understand how we can develop anti-racist actions.
  • We continue to put Diversity and Inclusion as a standing item on every Board agenda.
  • We continue to develop EDI champions for each department who meet regularly as a group.

Work still to do in the next 12-24 months

  • We will publicly publish our workforce data.
  • We aim to provide travel reimbursement for job interviews
  • We will develop an intro to Derby Theatre video so those less likely to work in the arts can gain an understanding of the organisation.
  • Job descriptions and recruitment packages to be screened by our critical friend for any unconscious bias in language.
  • We will make connections with more ethnically diverse recruitment networks
  • We will continue to educate ourselves as an institution on anti-racism, with continued learning across our staff team. This is planned through a series of sessions with invited speakers to open dialogue within the broader staff team, and create connection to the work of the EDI group and broaden momentum. The aim is for this to create a culture of challenge, reflection, and continued dialogue.
  • We will pay for a group of diverse freelancers to attend our artistic think tank days informing and commenting on our artistic policy, plans and vision.
  • We will improve our data collection for staff and audiences and make it more robust through new approaches.
  • We are currently rethinking our associate artist scheme to ensure it provides the necessary support for a diversity of artists. 
  • Once in the role, any successful candidate from a culturally diverse background will have access to an external coach or mentor, paid for by DT.
  • We will adopt the Equity Safer spaces statement to the whole workforce and ensure it is displayed widely and included in induction (currently only used in Rehearsal rooms).
  • We will publish an update on our EDI plan and progress.
  • We will continue to be an active contributor to city wide and national conversations.
  • Through our artist development programme we will encourage the companies we support to consider their approach to EDI.

We are listening and welcoming your feedback. Please contact us via email and you can also arrange a call to discuss any of the above:

Sarah Brigham – CEO and Artistic director S.Brigham@derby.ac.uk

Jenny Langlands – Executive Director J.Langlands@derby.ac.uk

Caroline Barth – Creative Learning Director C.Barth@derby.ac.uk