CDS strives to cultivate an inclusive atmosphere, creating anti-oppressive, ethical, welcoming, and accountable settings where all artists can thrive. You can read more about the CDS Artist Community’s values in our Community Culture Document.
We acknowledge that racism is a significant barrier to black and brown people working in the arts, and understand that dismantling these barriers shouldn’t be the responsibility of marginalised individuals or groups.
CDS therefore prioritises specific resources for, and invests in the leadership of, artists who experience racism. The below commitments have been developed in collaboration with black, brown and global majority artists in our community, and will be updated regularly. This work informs our longer-term strategy to promote anti-racist practice in the sector, led by the Artist Committee.
A note on language...
We acknowledge it is impossible for language to account for the diversity of experiences by which people are racialised. For the purposes of this document we have chosen to use ‘black and brown people’, and ‘people who experience racism’, but we also hold space for the use of many terms, including Global Majority, person of colour, BPOC etc. This language was developed in conversation with the Artist Committee.
This choice was based on the understanding that racial dynamics and white supremacy are fundamentally underpinned by colorism and therefore we want to prioritise the people who are at the sharpest end of this system of oppression, namely black people and brown people.
Commitments to supporting artists who experience racism
Accountability & Training
- All staff, trustees, and artists in the CDS Artist Community are required to engage with a process of reflection on racism and antiracist practice. This engagement will be different for people with different backgrounds and experiences.
- CDS has commissioned Season Butler to create a series of three online webinar training videos, which are mandatory for non-black people.
- We also hold space for artists to gather to collectively process and discuss their commitments to antiracism, including a space specifically for black and brown artists.
- We will develop an ongoing mechanism for feedback/input from artists who experience racism, in consultation with the community in Autumn.
- We have a formal complaints procedure for addressing instances of racism and other forms of oppression. This includes external mediation held by someone with lived experiences of racism, when needed. This will be published on our website by the end of October 2023.
- We invest in leadership from black and brown artists through our paid Artist Committee, a group of five marginalised artists who meet for a full day each month. They work with staff and trustees as representatives of their communities.
- Black and brown people are currently underrepresented on the CDS board. We commit to increasing the number of black, brown, and global majority people on our board of trustees to at least 30% by the end of 2024.
- We acknowledge that we currently do not have any salaried members of staff who are black, brown or global majority and that as a small staff team and organisation with limited resource, it is not currently possible for this to happen. We’re actively exploring how we can support black and brown people, where possible, to take on freelance staff roles whilst simultaneously working towards a longer-term staffing structure that prioritises resourcing a specific salaried role.
- We resource community-building events hosted by and for black, brown, and global majority artists every two months. These are open to artists both inside and outside our community.
- We understand the need for spaces for those who experience racism, and are keen to support other WTF Thursdays events by/for marginalised artists.
- All of our application selection processes prioritise black, brown, and global majority artists.
- We commit to a ‘more than one’ anti-tokenism policy, which means that every programme/panel of four or more artists will include more than one person from the global majority. At least one of these artists will be black.
- In October we will establish a buddy system, which will help to connect marginalised artists who are joining this community.
If you would like to speak to someone in our team about these commitments, you can contact:
Frances Morgan (Artist Community Producer): email@example.com
Banner image: Valerie Ebuwa speaking at the 27th July Artist Community Gathering for black and brown artists
This document is currently in development. Developed by CDS Staff with input from the CDS Artist Committee: Alice Tatge, Claudia Palazzo, Jose Funnell, Valerie Ebuwa, and Zjana Muraro. It will be updated in October 2023.