Fermynwoods Contemporary Art support life through art by commissioning artists to engage with audiences to explore connections between the natural world and how we live, work and play.
We recognise that for many of the artists, audiences and communities we work with, and seek to work with, life is unequal, discriminatory and unfair. Fermynwoods Contemporary Art stands in solidarity with black communities in the US and disadvantaged or less privileged groups around the world in fighting against the systemic racism embedded in our societies.
As a small organisation we understand our limitations in affecting change in these widespread inequalities, but recognise our responsibility to do so wherever we can.
In addition to promoting equal opportunities in all areas of our organisation and activities, our Diversity and Inclusion Policy (updated in 2018) includes the following commitments.
Commitments to our artists
- Paying artists little to no money for their work excludes all but the most privileged from the art world. Fermynwoods commits to paying all commissioned artists a fair wage (based on suggested research from arts organisations i.e. a-n).
- Our artists should look like our nation. Fermynwoods seeks to commission at least 13% BAME artists, in line with current UK population statistics, aiming for 30% in the next three years. (As our commissions range in duration, and therefore payment, we will be tracking two percentages; the percentage of BAME artists commissioned, and the percentage of events led by BAME artists.)
- Our definition of inclusion and diversity for artists means Fermynwoods will not insist a commissioned artist make work or creatively address the issues of Protected Characteristics which contribute to their status as less privileged. We commit to treating artists as artists, not as representations of communities.
Commitments to our audience and partners
- We will continue to encourage NEET young people and those from diverse and less privileged backgrounds to participate in the arts through programmes such as our Alternative Provision with the CE Academy.
- We will continue to build relationships with local organisations dedicated to diversity and inclusion in the arts.
- We will continue to develop ways to expand audiences in person and online, aiming to reach those facing physical and financial barriers to engagement with the arts.
- Our policies do not exist in isolation. Our adherence to our Environmental Policy is part of our commitment to Diversity and Inclusion, as careless environmental actions most negatively affect the less privileged.
Our ongoing commitment to inclusion and diversification
Our Board of Trustees is currently made up entirely of White British or White Non-British Trustees. When we put a call out for new trustees last year, a decision was made by the team to prioritise BAME candidates, though none applied. We are continuing in our efforts to specifically recruit BAME members of our Board of Trustees. Details can be found here.
For transparency, our staff is made up entirely of a small, frequently changing team of freelancers. We will continue to hold attention to diversity and be inclusive in our policies and practices when bringing on additional team members or replacing existing team members.
We will revisit our Diversity and Inclusion Policy at our next Annual General Meeting, after listening to discussions currently taking place in our industry and society, making sure we are living up to the commitments we have already set for ourselves and setting any required for us to clearly act as an anti-racist organisation.
Art is often better at asking questions than providing answers and we encourage and support artists to continue to ask the important questions of us and other art organisations. We will continue to listen, educate ourselves, and act to be better.