Arts and culture organisations in the Liverpool City Region stand against racism and racial injustice. Hate and discrimination have no home in the arts or anywhere else.

A new Manifesto with seven pledges has been created and forms a dynamic campaign that tailors and scales our organisations’ activities to drive change. Collectively, these organisations will support each other to uphold these pledges.

They will annually: review progress and any barriers; share new understanding; apply and review actions and targets set for each pledge; and actively challenge their organisations to stand against racism and racial injustice.

Introduction and background to the Manifesto

The Manifesto is a campaign to drive inclusion and equality in arts and culture, diversify the sector, and speak out against racism. It has been produced collectively by Liverpool Arts Regeneration Consortium (LARC) and Creative Organisations of Liverpool (COoL) to provide a set of principles and a plan for actively promoting greater race equality and diversity through the work they do. This has been developed through a process of internal consultation, inviting external perspectives, and drawing on race equality best practice in the arts. As an evolving document, they welcome further input from others.

The Manifesto consolidates work undertaken since 2020 when it was recognised that the police killing of George Floyd was a watershed moment for change. Responding to Black Lives Matter’s calls for action, both consortia acknowledged that racism operates at different levels: individual, structural and institutional; and that change had to start within. They began therefore to prioritise areas where policy change, new resources, and institutional commitment from trustees, together with buy in from all staff, could be transformative within their organisations.

The Manifesto reflects four priority areas: workforces and governance; support for artists; developing audiences; and advocacy. Seven pledges are set out in the action plan below. These are baseline pledges that signatories agree to, which are accompanied by more detailed actions and targets that each organisation tailors to meet their specific needs. Each action has an indication of how they will be delivered and a schedule to complete. As a living document, these actions will evolve and be updated, with progress made public. Organisations are encouraged to make use of additional models of race equality best practice, to help implement change and further progress their anti-racist commitments.

Initially for LARC and COoL, the broader ambition is for the Manifesto to provide a blueprint for the wider arts and cultural sector within the Liverpool City Region and beyond. Synergies will be sought outside of the sector, for example with community and non-arts organisations committed to racial justice, inclusion and equality.

Action Plan
Pledge 1: To create a more racially diverse workforce across all levels of the organisation, including boards, leadership and contracted workers.
Action: Organisations aspire to achieve a minimum 15% diverse workforce, working towards this by setting percentage targets each year.

Timescale: Ongoing.

Pledge 2: To be a bold advocate for race equality, sharing best practice and learning around it in the arts and culture sector.
Action: Fully embrace and embed race equality and anti-racism action plans within the organisation, monitor and update them regularly, and share externally.

Timescale: Within first year.

Pledge 3: To celebrate, support and invest in the talent of individual creatives in the City Region who experience racism.
Action: Aspire to achieve a minimum 20% of work in our programmes to be produced or created by those creatives who experience racism, setting targets for percentage improvement each year.

Timescale: Within two years.

Pledge 4: To diversify audiences
Action: Ensure anti-racism training across each organisation, and that audience-facing staff have training in inclusive behaviour towards audiences.

Timescale: Within first year.

Pledge 5: To invest in resources for increasing race equality across work.
Action: Allocate an annual percentage of budget to work that invests in and promotes race equity, this to be increased incrementally as progress is reviewed annually.

Timescale: Within first year.

Pledge 6: To monitor and evaluate these pledges.
Action: Manifesto signatories to share progress made against each pledge annually, and publish a collective review.

Timescale: Annually.

Pledge 7: To build alliances within and beyond the arts and culture sector.
Action: Create partnerships with organisations across respective business and production needs who are committed to race equality, and embed cross-pollination of practice and ideas.

Timescale: Ongoing.

Signatories (to date) of the Manifesto statement include:

BrazUKa International (Katumba Drumming and Movement)
Bluecoat Display Centre
Collective Encounters
FACT Liverpool
First Take Video
Liverpool Arab Arts Festival
Liverpool Biennial
Liverpool Everyman Playhouse
Liverpool Irish Festival
Liverpool Philharmonic
Liverpool’s Royal Court
National Museums Liverpool
Open Culture
Open Eye Gallery
Pagoda Arts
Paperwork Theatre
Squash Liverpool
Tate Liverpool
The Bluecoat
The Windows Project
Tmesis Theatre
Unity Theatre
Writing on the Wall

More information about the Manifesto can be found here.

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