We stand in solidarity with #BlackLivesMatter. We recognise the urgency for action and that we need to play our part in that change. We have a duty to examine our collections and ourselves so that we can stand up to racism. Not just today, but in the future.
In June 2020, Museums & Galleries Edinburgh issued the statement above, declaring support for the Black Lives Matter movement and committing to positive action to address racism and racial inequality of all forms within our own workforce, practices and collections.
Over the summer we have reflected on what this means for Museums & Galleries Edinburgh; how we need to change and what we need to action to ensure this statement has integrity. We know that words are meaningless without deeds. The list of actions below represents the first steps on the journey for Museums & Galleries Edinburgh to become a more inclusive Service, better representing Edinburgh’s peoples, histories and artistic endeavour, and a stronger and more vocal advocate for racial equality in all aspects of the city’s public and cultural life.
We recognise we have much consultation, listening and learning to do and that we may sometimes get things wrong. We are however, absolutely committed to providing safe, inclusive places to work and visit, and to actioning the long term, strategic change needed to be an anti-racist organisation in word and deed.
We commit to publicly reviewing our pledge actions, and articulating next steps, on the Museums & Galleries Edinburgh website at the end of year one.
Action list 2020-2021
- We will establish a cross-team Inclusion Working Group which will create the Service’s first Equalities Policy prioritising anti-racist objectives and actions. This will drive our current work on developing organisational values and service planning.
- We will educate ourselves about anti-racist practice and language, learning from exemplars across the cultural sector, actively promoting and sharing resources. We will become better connected and seek to work with strategic partners externally and colleagues across City of Edinburgh Council who are involved in anti-racist activity and networks.
- Comprehensive anti-racist training will be provided for all staff, learners and volunteers including sessions in unconscious bias, white privilege and diversity awareness. Individuals will be accountable for undertaking this training and participation will be reviewed during annual appraisals.
- We will work with colleagues involved in the ‘Inclusive Edinburgh’ workforce campaign to understand why Black and minority ethnic people are under-represented in our Service and what changes we must make to our recruitment practice to address this.
- Museums & Galleries Edinburgh will dedicate resource and support for the city’s Independent Panel which is being established to review Edinburgh’s Slavery and Colonial Legacy.
- We will begin the work of reviewing our collections catalogues to understand their inherent bias and review our use of provenance, contextual information and terminology.
- We will ensure Black and minority ethnic people are involved in developing and delivering exhibition, learning and public programmes content; that a more inclusive range of voices are mainstreamed and represented year-round, not only during dedicated campaigns.
- Historic buildings, collections and interpretation across the museum estate will be re-evaluated to ensure Black and minority ethnic histories are represented and that inherited, colonial language, values and narratives are recognised and challenged.