Last summer, The Yard began a programme of anti-racism work. We began this work in response to the global Black Lives Matter movement following the murder of George Floyd and in response to feedback from people who work at and with The Yard now and who have worked at The Yard in the past.
Today we are updating on what we’ve done and what we’re doing.
In the autumn of 2020 we started a listening programme, facilitated by Rukiya Jemmott. Rukiya is a therapist, educator and trainer who provides consultation and training to companies and organisations covering a range of issues, with a particular emphasis on change, power, racism and anti-racism within the workplace.
The programme facilitated by Rukiya invited managers at The Yard to hear about experiences of racism from those who currently work with us, or who have worked with us in the past, either in a freelance or salaried capacity, and who identify as part of the Global Majority. Sharing this was a painful experience whether it was in person, or via other channels, and we’re really grateful to everyone who participated.
We must create brilliant working relationships, as well as systems, processes and structures, to combat racism, and to include and support everyone. And so since the beginning of this year we have been thinking and talking about what we were told, and working to identify the incisive and impactful changes needed so we can be better in the future. In March we completed the listening programme by letting the participants know how we will change The Yard.
Over the next 6 months this is what we will do.
1) In April we began a training programme for our whole staff team and all of our trustees. The aim of this programme is to equip everyone with whom we work with the knowledge and tools to identify racism, to talk about it and to stop it. As we re-open during the coming year, we will also put in place a training programme for those who work with us in a casual or freelance capacity to ensure that everyone who supports and makes The Yard’s programme is able to interrogate and dismantle systemic racism in their work.
2) We will make structural changes to The Yard and our programme so to ensure it is more representative. We will ensure our programme (and those who make and deliver it) represent everyone who lives and works in our communities, and particularly those who experience racism in their everyday lives.
3) We are ensuring our resources are allocated more equitably and transparently, by for example paying as a minimum the London Living Wage, and benchmarking staff salaries against the fees we pay artists and other freelancers.
4) We are prioritising the wellbeing of those who work with us, introducing new management training, HR support and development opportunities for all who work at The Yard, to support our staff team and freelancers when things go wrong, and to help people thrive in their work.
5) We will share on an ongoing basis what The Yard is doing to become anti-racist alongside our mission, vision and values, so to ensure ongoing accountability in our work.
Over the coming years we are committed to this work being an evolving conversation and learning programme. The changes we make will be significant and affect all of us who work at The Yard. The work will be deeply embedded into what we make, how we do it, and who we do it with. We hope to create new ideas in addition to those listed above, and we will do that by talking as a company about what we do wrong, what we do right, and what we can do better.
We will update you further on our work later in the year. And in the meantime if you would like to get in contact with us about any of the above then please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Founder and Artistic Director