Written by Catherine Rogers - Creative Leicestershire + WebinArt Manager
As ethical citizens we cannot continue to ignore our own responsibilities in campaigning for anti-racism. The protests across the world that come in context of a long history of racial injustice and violence against the black community should affect us all. We stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement (including Black Lives Matter UK) in calling for an end to racist practices, systems and behaviours, both inside and outside of the sector we work in.
Creative Leicestershire and WebinArt are programmes that support those working in the creative industries and we recognise that this industry has a long way to go to be free of the systemic racism that occurs in every sector in the UK today. I work with an amazing team on the Creative Leicestershire and WebinArt programmes and together we are committed to confronting racial inequality and injustice. We will use our platforms and work to that end and will listen and learn to create a more inclusive sector. As the manager of Creative Leicestershire and WebinArt I am a white, middle-aged woman with privilege. I know I need to work to no longer perpetuate racist behaviour and no longer ask people of colour to do the emotional labour. I am a public servant, here to serve and to be accountable to everyone.
Our WebinArt programme is open to those working in the creative industries who need help and support to make their business a success. This year we had 79 applications, more than ever before, but we are aware that only very few were from BAME creative practitioners and therefore we recognise we need to do more to reach out to people of colour who make up the creative workforce, across the region we operate in and support.
We are therefore committed to:
Solicit expressions of interest from more diverse freelance colleagues
Proactively seek out critical friends this year to increase diversity in the people we work with across all our programmes.
Challenging practices that support racism
Analysing existing programmes to identify and remove barriers to applicants from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds, people who are disabled, who have caring responsibilities, and are from working class background.
We ask all our participants, contributors and partners to abide by a code of conduct defining standards of behaviour required as a participant in our programmes. This code is focussed on principles of respect, responsibility, accountability, open-ness and honesty.
We are determined to change our working practices, to be anti-racist, and to work for equity and social justice in the arts and beyond. There are numerous arts organisations that have prepared pages of resources for reading, donations and action. Please read, understand and join us in solidarity to fight to end racism:
The Black Artists Grant is £1,500 given out monthly to black artists in the UK, with each artist selected receiving £500 each. - https://creativedebuts.co.uk/bag/
Useful Zine for BAME artists. - https://www.rootedzine.co.uk/
Creative Leicestershire is hosted by Leicestershire County Council You can see their position statement here.