Reflections on our Culture Against Racism Action Plan 2021-22

A group of attendees at a Harambee Pasadia event stand in a circle in ARC's second floor gallery space.

(Image: Harambee Pasadia event at ARC)

In June 2020, the cultural sector of the North East of England initiated a statement denouncing racism and seeking to bring about a collective change in thinking and action as organisations and individuals. You can read the statement here.

ARC was proud to support this statement, and in signing it, committed to taking actions to All organisations signing the statement were encouraged to develop and publish an action plan. You can see ARC’s plan for 2021/22 here.

A year on, we have reflected on our progress:

  • We have created a resource list, and many staff have accessed it and shared reflections with colleagues. Going forward, we recognise that embedding this into agendas for regular one-to-one or team meetings will support more activity.
  • We have paid people of colour to act as advisors, including sitting on recruitment panels and taking part in round table discussions.
  • We have drafted a language resource which will be completed and shared by the end of June 2022. This includes a shift from ‘people of colour’ to adopting ‘Global Majority’ as our preferred language going forward.
  • All staff and Board members undertook anti-racism training in 2021.
  • We have reviewed many elements of our recruitment process and started to implement changes. This work is ongoing and supported by monitoring to track impact.
  • We have appointed two people of colour to our programming team, although recognise these are junior/part-time roles.
  • We have added some practitioners of colour to our freelance creative learning team.
  • In 2021/22, 26% of supported artists were artists of colour.
  • Our Artists of Change programme had a profound impact on the way that we work and helped us shift perceptions of ARC amongst artists of colour, leading to many new relationships.
  • 22% of films screened in our cinema in 2021/22 were led by Global Majority creatives.
  • Data on the diversity of our workforce and supported artists is shared below.
Supported Artists 2020/21 2021/22
Disabled 14% 31%
LGBTQIA+ 24% 53%
Global Majority 10% 26%
Working class backgrounds 43% 36%


Workforce (staff/board) 2020/21 2021/22
Disabled 8% 7%
LGBTQIA+ 22% 17%
Global Majority 5.5% 8.5%
Working class backgrounds 42% 43%
  • Departmental actions proved harder to implement and track, in part due to staff changes and COVID disruption.

Overall, we are pleased with progress made, although recognise this work is ongoing. We have updated our Action Plan for 2022/23, which is published here.

We welcome constructive challenge and feedback to strengthen our work in this area, and encourage other venues and organisations to share their progress so we can benefit from each other’s learning.

Please do get in touch with me if you would like to share any thoughts.

Annabel Turpin
[email protected]