At AAL, we pride ourselves on championing “art for all”. This is a core part of our ethos and we are passionate about helping individuals to unlock their unique creative skills, regardless of their background or circumstances.
We are proud of our record here, but we also know we need to challenge ourselves to do more. In light of this year’s Black Lives Matter protests and the wider conversation around diversity and inclusion, we are committing to identifying additional steps we can take to counter racism and the systemic barriers which marginalised communities experience. As such, we’re partway through consulting with our staff and community on how we will increase representation across all levels of the AAL, to reflect more closely the rich diversity of our localities – Southwark and Lambeth. The outcome of these discussions, together with the input from a network of external advisors, will inform an ambitious action plan to be published by December 2020.
Initiatives already underway include:
- Enhanced reporting of diversity in the AAL community, enabling us to set and meet targets for students, staff, tutors and artists who use our studios and exhibition spaces
- Membership of the Kick Start programme in Southwark, employing and training young people on universal benefit
- Support, educate and champion working artists and arts education in our area, especially for underserved communities. By providing free spaces for local school children, subsidised exhibition space and tuition for local groups such as BEAM (a disabled artists charity).
- A curriculum review by our academic board, in conversation with the student body, to ensure it is fit for purpose and reflective of our overall aims in respect of diversity and inclusion
- Further targeting of charitable resources to help overcome barriers for BAME, LGBT+ and SEN students to access our courses and facilities
- The extension of diversity and inclusion training more widely in our organization.
Our aim is to develop a culture where diversity is hard-wired into everything we do, is understood by all of us, and where we all have an opportunity to be a part of this ongoing conversation. We are committed to building on good foundations to be even more ambitious in this regard, and we look forward to publicising details of our final action plan later this year.
Principal, Art Academy London