Diversity & Inclusion
‘Black Lives Matter’
A statement on behalf of members of staff of Heatherleys school of Fine Art.
We have been deeply saddened by the recent tragic events in the United States. In solidarity with the black community and subsequent peaceful protest around the world, we realise that we must also play our part in creating a fair and equal society in Britain. We acknowledge and must act upon our own responsibility to challenge and confront prejudice, bias or any form of racial discrimination whether of action or language within our own school community.
In line with the core values of our school, which include kindness, social justice and equal opportunity, we are committed to supporting our black students, colleagues and our school friends. However, if we are to do this in any meaningful way we must first look in the mirror. We must examine all levels of our own institution for systemic racism and be prepared to give ourselves to the process of honest self reflection which is needed in order to effect change.
We are developing an action plan which will help us take the first steps towards achieving this.
- On our return to school, we will create a working party which will invite, listen to and learn from the experience of our staff, students and alumni who are black, asian or belong to other ethnic or marginalised groups. We will use this analysis to examine and inform every aspect of the actions we take and the language we use.
- We will raise awareness by regularly offering training, guidance and induction to our staff and students to increase understanding of the issues of white privilege, discrimination and inherent bias which, on a daily basis, adversely affect black, asian and ethnic minority members of our community.
- We will recognise and act upon our responsibility as educators to examine, acknowledge and celebrate the contribution that black artists have made and are making to our shared culture.
- We will ensure that black, asian and ethnic minority communities are fairly represented at every level in the structure of our institution. To underline this commitment, we will review our employment practices in order to remove any elements of systemic racism or gender based bias so that they are transparent, inclusive and reflect the diverse multicultural nature of our school.
- We will enhance our provision of bursary funding from ethical sources so that we can provide more accessible opportunities for talented but disadvantaged black artists and for other marginalised minority groups to benefit from our courses and facilities.
- We will continue to rigorously apply the principles of our school policies to the daily life of the school at every level, including the routes that exist for any member of the school community who experiences discrimination, to be heard and supported.
- We will communicate our ethos to the wider public by publishing our policies on the website.
We are taking independent steps to address systemic bias in our institution. Although events which have led to this point have been painful, they present us with the opportunity to learn, to change and to create a better future.
We are adamant that racism has no place in our school community.