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Our EDI Journey

EDI Statement

A photo of the barbican centre by the lake, and the tower block building in the background with groups of people standing.

"If we're to be a place for everyone, then everyone must have a place."

In June 2021, colleagues documented experiences of racism in Barbican Stories. They felt they had to speak publicly to galvanise the organisation and to reveal a culture that must change. We'd said in May 2020, on hearing of the death of George Floyd, that we'd change but we didn’t deliver on this at the pace and with the commitment the agenda demands. We're sorry for the pain and distress experienced by those who shared their experiences. We also want to acknowledge the impact on everyone in our wider community.

We're changing.

We've listened, continue to listen, and we're responding.

Under new leadership, we've launched an ambitious creative vision which has Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at its heart. Rooted in the many communities that surround us, the vision will build on the work that colleagues have already undertaken, to see the Barbican becoming a centre of arts, education and cultural enterprise. We'll continue to present a vibrant and ambitious international programme in our multi-disciplinary venue and will still present the most exciting talent of today. But now we'll also provide the facilities and opportunities to enable an upcoming generation to flourish.

We'll invest in our building to allow us to share more of our spaces, more of the time. If we're to be a place for everyone, then everyone must have a place. The renewed Barbican will be a source of possibilities for all: an inclusive, diverse, and equitable arts centre.

To change on the outside means changing on the inside. A series of organisation-wide reviews into our culture and practices during the summer and autumn of 2021 are identifying areas where the Barbican must improve if we're to become a beacon of inclusion in the Arts. We'll address the observations and issues being raised across those reviews and will implement their recommendations as quickly as possible.

We'll diversify our workforce and foster an inclusive culture where all our people feel they belong and are able to bring their whole selves to work. We'll set diversity targets for our workforce, to ensure we become an organisation that looks and feels like the community we're based in. We commit to prioritising representation at a senior level, as well as throughout the organisation.

We're committed to becoming an anti-racist organisation, which will not tolerate discrimination, bullying or prejudice. It's important that each and every person who works at the Barbican feels safe, valued, and respected. If we're alerted to any offensive, threatening, or intimidating behaviour – by either a colleague, audience member, or collaborator – we'll be quick and firm in addressing the issue.

The Barbican is a place where everyone should feel they belong, a place where fairness and equity of opportunity exists; where creativity is encouraged, enterprise is supported, education is readily available, and artists can achieve their most ambitious projects.

We have an exciting future, with a clear purpose. Getting there won’t be as quick as any of us would wish, but we'll be a far better organisation for having made the journey.