07/06/2020

We aren’t publishing a review this week. Instead, we want to make a commitment to support black artists, writers and other arts professionals where our support would be helpful. On our side, we have visibility, a network of contacts, power to apply pressure on institutions, the time and energy to hold them to account, knowledge of funding applications, and advice on accessing corporate sponsorships (this last route is something people might want to avoid but personally with TWP only being funded by our readers, we don’t have a lot of money to spare; and when appropriate think it is okay to robin hood big names to fund good things, which might be key when organisations like ACE are not accepting new Project Grants for the foreseeable future). If any of the above could be of use, get in touch. People have been doing work to transform the arts for decades, and we want to figure out how we can back that up if and when the work wants backing up. We want to move from the language of allyship towards the position of active accomplice. We will, of course, do our own legwork in reaching out; this is just a note to invite approach from those who we might not immediately know of. Send us a message or email if there is any way we can help you and we will do all that we can.

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Work that we could help signal boost or add research to include, for example, Layemi Ikomi's public spreadsheet of London galleries and museums and their show of support (or lack thereof) for the current Black Lives Matter protests happening across the US and beyond. This is something we could help fill with information (nationally, internationally) and it's also where we could apply pressure on institutions for real details and outlines of what it is they are going to do to change - I mean 'we' collectively, us two and our big nice readership. Please see below for the spreadsheet which is embedded for reference, and you can follow this link to view it in another window. Best viewed on desktop.

In order to activate the spreadsheet, Layemi Ikomi, Aye Ikomi and Eibhlin Jones have written the following email template for people to use in order to contact the institutions listed but also any gallery, museum, collection or platform (on and offline) to find out what actions they will take and if there is a financial commitment attached to their plan. There are 2 email templates: one for organisations that have made a statement and one for those that have not. Please see both templates below or click here to see them in another window. Thank you to Layemi, Aye and Eibhlin for sharing their work here, it is very generous and something we think will really work to change things. 

Template for arts institutions who have made a statement

 

Dear [Insert Directors name],

 

It has been brought to my attention that [Insert institution] has recently made a statement in support of the Black Lives Matter cause. As an [employee/member/member of the public], I am left underwhelmed with the actions you have taken in support of Black Lives Matter. It is not enough to post shallow displays of solidarity on social media without any action behind them. In order to represent the movement that you have made a statement in support of, I would like to propose some actions you can take:

 

  • Make a donation to an organisation that fights social injustice and actively supports anti-racism.

  • Use your platform to raise awareness of the issue and support the cause publically and internally.

  • Be clear about the actions you will take as an organisation to become actively anti-racist. 

  • Release your plan of action to the public with regular updates on improvement to ensure open communication and accountability.

 

In order to tackle internal issues I would like to stress that you should already be increasing the racial diversity within your staff to more accurately represent the public. It’s a matter of actively seeking employees from underrepresented groups, contributing to educational programmes that already aim to do this, ensuring that these employees are given opportunities to rise to leadership positions and continuously monitoring the retention rate of these employees. 

 

Further examples of action beyond employment are stated below. This is a starting point and as an institution who claims to represent its employees and members you should be going beyond this:

 

  • Create a task force with the primary aims of deconstructing racism internally. Being flexible with employee's work schedules in order to reflect this additional responsibility.

  • Make unconscious bias training mandatory for all employees (ensure this bias training meets the requirements to be effective).

  • Create content centering the voice of Black experience in order to contribute to people’s ongoing education about social justice movements, anti-racism, and solidarity. 

  • Support Black freelancers who are already doing this work. Support could look like donations, providing a platform and granting access to your resources.

 

Furthermore, it is integral that you acknowledge the intersectionality that comes with race and be just as vocal in support of further marginalised people within this population such as Black LGBTQI+ groups.

 

Bare in mind these are preliminary measures and should be built upon to form a more permanent presence of anti-racist activity within this institution and the organisations that you support. 

 

I look forward to hearing your response alongside a plan of action. 

 

Yours Sincerely, 

 

[Name/role at the institution] 


 

Template for arts institutions who have not made a statement

 

Dear [Insert Directors name],

 

It has been brought to my attention that [Insert institution] has made no statement in support of the Black Lives Matter cause. As an [employee/member/member of the public] of [Insert institution] I am left disappointed with the actions, or rather lack thereof, you have taken in support of Black Lives Matter. I am writing to you with the assumption that as an arts organisation, you do care about showing support for Black lives and addressing racism within Britain and the arts sector. If this is in fact true and the reason that you haven't made a statement is that you are unsure of how to best express your support, please see my below strongly advised suggestions on some actions you can take:

 

  • Make a statement which clearly states the actions you will take in support of anti-racism.

  • Make a donation to an organisation that fights social injustice and actively supports anti-racism.

  • Use your platform to raise awareness of the issue and support the cause publically and internally.

  • Be clear about the actions you will take as an organisation to become actively anti-racist.

  • Release your plan of action to the public with regular updates on improvement to ensure open communication and accountability. 

 

In order to tackle internal issues I would like to stress that you should already be increasing the racial diversity within your staff to more accurately represent the public. It’s a matter of actively seeking employees from underrepresented groups, contributing to educational programmes that already aim to do this, ensuring that these employees are given opportunities to rise to leadership positions and continuously monitoring the retention rate of these employees. 

 

Further examples of action beyond employment are stated below. This is a starting point and as an institution who claims to represent its employees and members you should be going beyond this:

 

  • Create a task force with the primary aims of deconstructing racism internally. Being flexible with employee's work schedules in order to reflect this additional responsibility.

  • Make unconscious bias training mandatory for all employees. (ensure this bias training meets the requirements to be effective).

  • Create content centering the voice of Black experience in order to contribute to people’s ongoing education about social justice movements, anti-racism, and solidarity. 

  • Support Black freelancers who are already doing this work. Support could look like donations, providing a platform and granting access to your resources.

 

Furthermore, it is integral that you acknowledge the intersectionality that comes with race and be just as vocal in support of further marginalised people within this population such as Black LGBTQI+ groups.

 

Bare in mind these are preliminary measures and should be built upon to form a more permanent presence of anti-racist activity within this institution and the organisations that you support. 

 

I look forward to hearing your response alongside a plan of action. 

 

Yours Sincerely, 

 

[Name/role at the institution] 

{ the only reason The White Pube can still exist is because some of our readers choose to support us each month via Patreon. We sometimes do talks n other jobs but Patreon is how we get paid for the actual writing here - the reviews, art thoughts and so on. it’s important to us to stay independent critics without ties to big funders or institutions, public or private. thank you for being our old timey patrons - we’ll do our best to produce quality output; write stuff that is thoughtful and sincere }

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