In the UK, including the National Theatre, the Lyric Hammersmith and the Royal Shakespeare Company, have agreed to track their progress tackling racism as part of a newly launched initiative by diversity organisation Inc Arts UK.
It is anticipated that the scheme will ensure that the UK’s theatre industry’s commitments to tackling inequality can translate into real change.
The Unlock tool , described as the first of its kind in the UK, offers cultural organisations the choice of more than 100 recommendations and pieces of advice around anti-racist practices.
It will then track the companies’ progress over time to turn promises into “measurable actions”.
Unlock has been set up by industry body Inc Arts, which said it had created the country’s first cross-sector tool that can chart progress over time. It is designed for theatres, companies and independent producers, as well as museums, galleries and festivals.in o support
Inc Arts director Amanda Parker said the tool – which is free to use – is a product of the “urgent and necessary advocacy” that came out of 2020.
“It is free to use because the more people who use it, the more we can all see the change that so many of us and our allies want to see happen.
“Transparency is important, but confidentiality and collaboration are equally important. That’s why we will never be ‘calling out’ or sharing publicly in any way other than through showing trends that the whole sector is part of – the change we all want to see,” Parker said.
Commitment to Collective Change
She described Unlock as a peer-centred approach to change, meaning organisations from across the arts can learn from each other’s ideas, but said it also represents a “commitment to collective change” in the industry
Their Inclusion in Practice page is where they will be sharing best practice on how organisations are taking radical action to make inclusive change. They ask people to share your stories with them – and then they will share them with others.
There will also be opportunities for seeking new job opportunities, with their Talent Finder section.
It launches on April 14th, and already counts significant theatres and theatre companies among its users.
The NT and RSC have signed up, as have Shakespeare’s Globe, Actors Touring Company, Chichester Festival Theatre, the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre and Creu Cymru, a collective of theatres in Wales.
The Globe’s artistic director, Michelle Terry, called Unlock “a gift to the industry“, while Rachel O’Riordan, artistic director of the Lyric Hammersmith, said it would be an “invaluable resource” to generate long-lasting change.
Matthew Xia, artistic director of ATC, added: “Inc Arts has been working across the sector to establish a workable, anti-racist toolkit so that real, tangible change can be both supported and measured. We know that institutions can be immobilised by the fear of getting things wrong, and individuals can feel uninformed and inexperienced when considering organisational change. This toolkit is here to help people achieve these changes, holistically and with confidence.”
Inc Arts is hosting a series of online conversations for organisations using Unlock, which will be held on dates between April 30 and May 14.