Equity & Inclusion

Equity & Inclusion Programme 2021-22

Opening conversations and laying the foundations for equity and inclusion at your museum

MDUK, in partnership with AIM, is working with NoBarriers to deliver a programme to support museums in England and Wales to improve their understanding of Equity and Inclusion. The programme will increase participants’ knowledge and skills around the Equity and Inclusion-related issues being faced by people working and volunteering in museums, their communities and audiences. It will support you in having conversations at your museum and in laying strong foundations for taking action. To view the programme overview in Welsh click here.

The programme will have the following outcomes:

  • Participating organisations demonstrate a consistent understanding of Equity and Inclusion and how it relates to their audiences, workforce (paid and voluntary), governance and programmes.
  • Participants feel confident about current language to use when discussing Equity and Inclusion.
  • Participants identify internal issues and external opportunities and barriers related to Equity and Inclusion and develop the skills to address them.
  • Participants demonstrate improved confidence in talking about difficult issues/ topics.
  • Participants understand ways to improve recruitment, access and participation at their museums and develop plans to address these.
  • Participants identify the challenges and/ or barriers within their organisation relating to Equity and Inclusion and develop plans to address these.
  • Participants involve the wider workforce in developing these Equity and Inclusion plans.

The programme comprises of 10 online sessions running from November 2021 to March 2022 and will support 20 organisations from across seven participating areas; East of England, East Midlands, North East, North West, West Midlands, Wales.

About NoBarriers

NoBarriers delivers tailored approaches to increasing inclusive and equitable practice in the cultural sector, including training, advice, strategic planning, service review and community engagement.

Isilda Almeida, founder of NoBarriers, works as an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Consultant in the culture sector and brings with her over 20 years’ experience of the UK heritage sector.

Isilda will be supported by Maurice Davies, who brings nearly 40 years of experience in UK museums and galleries as a policymaker, leader and curator. He has championed equity and inclusion since the 1990s when he was editor of Museums Journal. He has advised organisations such as the Greater London Authority, the National Museum Directors Council and the National Trust on aspects of heritage and race. Most recently he has helped Museum Detox with an organisational review and, with Isilda, delivered training on museums and decolonisation.

Between them, Isilda and Maurice bring knowledge, professional and lived-experience current approaches to Equity and Inclusion, contextualised by historical and political events that have shaped how museums got to where they are.

Who should attend?

This programme has been designed for managers, trustees and decision makers working in museums, galleries and heritage sites who are:

  • Keen to prioritise improving equity and inclusion at their organisation
  • Committed to reviewing their work around Equity and Inclusion
  • Open to new ways of working
  • Wanting to embed inclusive practice into all areas of their work
  • Able to dedicate time and staff resources to ensure they can benefit from the programme fully

Two members of staff from each participating museum should attend to ensure that they are able to implement decisions and actions more effectively within their organisation.

Your museum must be based in one of the following seven areas: East of England, East Midlands, North East, North West, West Midlands, Wales.

Priority will be given to non NPO museums who are Accredited or Working Towards Accreditation.

Commitment

This programme requires a minimum commitment of one day every two weeks from November 2021 to March 2022, split between attending sessions, further reading and discussions with teams. Organisations must be keen to prioritise improving their organisation’s equity and inclusion, commit to attending all sessions and to leading conversations with colleagues in their organisations.

Session Details

All sessions will be delivered online via Zoom and participating museums will be split into two cohorts.

1 What is Equity and Inclusion and assessing Equity and Inclusion in your organisation

In this first session we will look at the Equality Act 2010, protected characteristics, Equity and Inclusion beyond the Equality Act, inclusive terminology and use of language, museum decolonisation, positive action and positive discrimination. The second half of the session will focus on supporting museums to reflect on where Equity and Inclusion currently features in your organisation in terms of: Governance; Workforce and Volunteers; Collections; Programming; Monitoring.

2 One to One support

Individual sessions with each participating museum to work through the self-assessment and better understand your own context and needs.

3 Having difficult conversations

Conversations are the opening stage of embedding Equitable and Inclusive practice into your organisation. The process of becoming a more equitable organisation will elicit discussions with your teams, audiences and other stakeholders.

4 Decolonising the Museum

What does decolonising the museum mean? This session will familiarise you with the meaning and concepts of what is increasingly called museum decolonisation. It discusses how museums have changed the ways they interpret history and culture, from blogging to exhibitions; and of the current expectations on them to further take account of Equity and Inclusion in their organisation. This session will include inspirational examples of recent practice.

5 Current controversies in museums and heritage and how to respond

Improved EDI work in museums is being strongly called for by many people, but criticised by others. This session will summarise the main arguments that museums may encounter and give basic advice on internal and external communication strategies.

6 Curating with communities

This session will focus on different models of working with communities such as: collaborative design, participatory research, human centred design, crowdfunding content.

7 Starting your Equity and Inclusion (E&I) Action Plan

This session will focus on E&I Action plans, explore potential template and how to develop them. Completing the plan will take time and require conversations with colleagues at all levels from board to front of house.

7A One to one support for peer groups

Participants will be placed into peer groups of 2-3 museums and each group will receive a one to one session to support the creation of their E&I action plans.

The content of sessions 8 and 9 will be reviewed following the one to ones and will take place on

10 Final session: Reviewing progress with E&I action plans, future work and keeping peer groups goin

This final session will focus on putting things in place to continue your work beyond the programme.

How to apply

Please note that applications for this programme are now closed.

This programme is being delivered with funding from Arts Council England and the Association of Independent Museums.