Reflections on our Culture Against Racism Action Plan 2022-23

What is Love? by Umar Butt

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. All organisations signing the statement were encouraged to develop and publish an action plan, which ARC has done annually. ARC’s plan for 2022/23 can be found 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 think providing more focussed time at regular points in the year will better support this activity.
  • We have paid people of the Global Majority to act as advisors, including sitting on recruitment and selection panels.
  • We have welcomed a number of artists of the Global Majority to ARC over the last 12 months, who have been generous enough to meet with staff, and share work at the end of their residency which staff have attended.
  • 18 staff and Board members new to ARC took part in anti-racism training in November 2022. We are committed to offering training annually to anyone who joins the organisation during the year.
  • We have continued to review and change many elements of our recruitment process. This work is ongoing and supported by monitoring to track impact. In 2022/23, we established a baseline: 8.54% of applicants for vacancies at ARC were of the Global Majority (in the context of 5.2% of the Tees Valley population being non-White).
  • We have continued to add Global Majority practitioners to our freelance creative learning team. 20% of our regular class tutors are now Global Majority.
  • In 2022/23, only 12% of supported artists were of the Global Majority, against our target of 20%. We will be continue to work harder to increase the number of Global Majority artists we support, and have recently launched Uprising as a way of connecting with artists new to us.
  • 6% of films screened in our cinema in 2022/23 were led by Global Majority creatives, compared to 15.8% in 2021/22.
  • Data on the diversity of our workforce and supported artists is shared below.


Supported Artists 2020/21 2021/22 2022/23
Disabled 14% 31% 26%
LGBTQIA+ 24% 53% 21%
Global Majority 10% 26% 12%
Working class backgrounds 43% 36% 28%


Workforce (staff/board) 2020/21 2021/22 2022/23
Disabled 8% 7% 11%
LGBTQIA+ 22% 17% 25%
Global Majority 5.5% 8.5% 8%
Working class backgrounds 42% 43% 38%


Overall, we are pleased with progress made, although recognise this work is ongoing and there are areas that require improvement. We have updated our Action Plan for 2023/24, 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]