Change at the Top


Katie Ann Smith, Independent Consultant across the Museum and Heritage sector responds to Simon Brown’s post ‘Inching Towards Equality’.

My brilliant colleague Simon Brown published a provocation ‘Inching Towards Equality’ last month which outlined the excellent work taking place across the sector to try and create more balanced, open and accessible organisations.

I do a large amount of work in the access world, and often get asked how we can make equality and diversity an organisational priority.  My response is always the same, we need to move away from tokenism, and start to embrace and embed this at the core of how organisations work – this, in my opinion means at Trustee and senior leadership level.

Whilst I’m not saying that it isn’t brilliant that Arts Council England put diversity as a key pillar of their NPO programme, and there is no doubt that there are organisations doing great work in this area, I worry that without the drive for workforce development and diversity any change will be slow and incremental, always sitting on the periphery rather than at the heart of the arts.

Let’s think about diversifying our thinking as I call on those of you who are on Boards and in senior leadership roles to start thinking differently about who and how you bring people into your senior teams.

Driving forward a vision to create an equal and diverse workforce will no doubt make our sector more relevant, creative, resilient and engaging for all, so go forth and embrace the change!


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