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Earlier this year we committed to releasing a statement outlining the actions we are taking to address our organisation’s shortcomings in areas of diversity and inequality and to meet our goal of combatting institutional racism through everything we do. Drawing Room is committed to being the place for people of all ages from a range of economic, social and cultural backgrounds to discover contemporary drawing but, at present, we are still some distance from being that place.
Our audience does not adequately reflect our immediate community, which is one of the most culturally diverse in the UK; Drawing Room is based in Southwark where almost half of the community belongs to a minority group and the borough is home to the largest Black African population in the UK. While we need to work harder to increase the representation of this population in all we do, we also need to further address how characteristics such as age, gender, sexual orientation, disability and economic background, among others, can intersect with race and each other to act as additional barriers to participation. Across our governance, workforce, gallery programme and audience, we need to foster an organisation-wide culture of inclusivity and accessibility that is genuinely open to all.
We are evaluating our current practices and systematically identifying areas for improvement. We are undertaking external training, have added crucial texts to our Outset Study Library collection and hold quarterly reading groups to further our own education. We employ positive action in recruitment: in the last six months, for three job positions and opportunities for 10 freelancers – artists, graphic designers and young workshop assistants; currently, two of our nine permanent staff are people of colour. We are working hard to increase the diversity of our governing board and have identified actions to be taken in each individual department, from our exhibitions programme and study library, to our engagement and communications channels.
However, this is just the start - we acknowledge our need to do more and commit to publishing our Diversity & Inclusion plan in full in the second half of 2021, to outline our specific aims across every area of activity, where we are so far and what we need to do next. This plan will evolve as we listen and learn more, through feedback, training and collaboration with others, allowing us to set further goals, plan how to implement them and monitor when we have done so. We welcome feedback as a central part of this process, so please send any comments you may have to: [email protected]
We reaffirm our solidarity with anti-racist movements and people of colour locally, nationally and globally, and our commitment to becoming an actively anti-racist organisation, through an ongoing process of listening, learning, facing our own privileges, self-reflecting and acting.
Posted: Wed 02 Dec 2020