Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Action Plan, June 2021

An update from Britten Pears Arts’ Executive Director, Sarah Bardwell:

Further to our EDI statement circulated in September 2020, I am pleased to share the Britten Pears Arts Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan (June 2021). While the document will evolve as we continue to learn, grow and respond, it does set out our central determination to ensure that our organisation continually works towards access and inclusion for all.

We have been actively working towards establishing a more equal, diverse and inclusive culture among our audiences, participants, workforce, freelancers, volunteers and trustees. The document below includes some of our achievements since 2018 and our plans and aspiration for the future.

We want those we work with and for, and those we would like to work with and for, to feel embraced by Britten Pears Arts. We want to continue open and honest conversations with artists, audiences and communities around equality, diversity and inclusion. Please do get in touch if you would like to take part in our ongoing discussions. There is still much to do.

Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Statement, September 2020

Following discussions with artists we work with, from groups underrepresented by Britten Pears Arts, we are making these commitments to equal access, equal opportunity, and to holding ourselves accountable.

A statement from Britten Pears Arts Chief Executive, Roger Wright, and co-chairs of the Board of Trustees, Simon Robey and Vernon Ellis:

Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears shared a progressive vision for music and the arts to be useful, helping people enhance and bring joy into their lives. To achieve this vision, equality of access is paramount.

Recent events in the US and around the world have shone a spotlight on society’s failures in tackling the issues of inequality and racial injustice within the arts. Racism is unacceptable and has no place in our society. At Britten Pears Arts, we are proud to stand in solidarity with the black community and everyone fighting racism across the world.

It is our responsibility to take active steps towards better educating ourselves to challenge and remove systemic inequalities, internally and externally. Our Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Action Plan acknowledges the trauma inflicted by racism, classism, sexism, ableism, ageism, and sexual orientation discrimination across the sector. We know that these forms of discrimination cannot be isolated, and recognise that the more excluded a person is, the more disadvantaged they have been made by our society.

As a publicly funded arts organisation, we acknowledge that diversity enhances talent and encourages innovation. Our organisation aims to be welcoming, open to all and to live these values by being equal, diverse, and inclusive.

While we are making progress in some areas, we still have a long way to go.

Britten Pears Arts is committed to equality of access. Our commitments are:

  1. To be honest and transparent
  2. To assess and allocate proper resources where required
  3. To provide mandatory training and resources for staff, volunteers, and trustees to broaden mindset and improve knowledge
  4. To involve our communities in open conversation as part of this process specifically those who have been historically underrepresented at Britten Pears Arts
  5. To publish our Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Action Plan by January 2021 alongside details of how we are making changes and holding ourselves accountable
  6. To embed the work of our Diversity Working Group across the organisation

We pledge to take this work forward today.

At this time of writing, due to the devastating implications of COVID-19, the future of Britten Pears Arts (and all other UK arts organisations) is uncertain. As we emerge from the crisis and witness the full impact the last four months will have across our sector, it is more vital than ever to address these inequalities to be more representative of society.