Inclusion, Diversity and Equity in the Arts

‘If art is the act of making and sharing meaning and thus defining the human experience, then, self-evidently, it is, or should be, available to everyone.’ (A Restless Art – Francois Matarasso)

Inclusion Diversity and Equity in the Arts IDE(A) : Is a prism through which we will view all of our work and that has driven a brave and uncompromising internal discussion.

During 2020/21, prompted by the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter protests globally we have been holding regular discussions amongst the staff team around Inclusion, Diversity and Equity in the Arts, what we at hoot have called the IDE(A). We have challenged our individual behaviour, practices and unconscious biases and this continues professionally in our recruitment (of staff and participants), programming and marketing, outreach and audience development. These discussions have been really useful and are on-going, but we have agreed we must now move into an action phase to address IDE(A) across all our operations and IDE(A) will be a priority from this point on so that our practice and the systems that support it change. We encourage everyone associated with hoot to raise questions and challenge as this is the only way we will make real progress as an organisation, as individuals and as a community.

With IDE(A) at the heart of our thinking we recognise that ethnic minority communities are insufficiently represented across both the cultural sector [6] and the charity sector [7] We commit to ensuring our Board, employees, freelance contractors, membership and stakeholder groups are representative in terms of ethnicity, as well as Disability, socioeconomic background, sexuality, age and all recognised protected characteristics. We commit to amplifying Black voices and the voices of ethnic minority communities through our website, bulletin and social media. 

To this end we are now moving from focusing on inequality to building equity and will prioritise Inclusion, Diversity and Equity as a central theme throughout our work in 2021-22 to build equitable internal systems for the long term :

  • In programming and delivery methods group and 1:1 (digital / in-person /off line/ Spectrum)
  • Of participants (based on local demographics & communities we are not currently reaching ethnicity / geography / protected characteristic)
  • The referral routes (self and from partner organisations from community & voluntary sector, public sector)
  • In identifying needs (adults, people with dementia & carers, older people, children & young people, secure settings, health inequalities  etc)
  • In devising a Sourcing Strategy for recruiting a more diverse  workforce & governance team(ethnicity / gender / artform / location/skills/educational attainment). 
  • In appropriate funding sources (grants / investment / earned / commissions/donations) and what those funders are engaged in.
  • Our project development pipeline (eg. initiated by empowered communities, co-production models)
  • Developing new and existing partnership and collaboration (local, regional, national & international)
  • Diversity in working practices and staffing structures (agile, remote, office based)
  • In marketing and promotion of the projects hoot offers


We are not a funder, but as a charity working within arts and mental health, two sectors with historic record of discrimination and inequity we find the Association of Charitable Foundations model of nine pillars a useful way of thinking about the steps we should take:

  1. invests time and resources in understanding and defining diversity, equity and inclusion
  2. produces and reviews strategies that will implement DEI [diversity, equality & inclusion] practices
  3. collects, tracks and publishes DEI data on its own practices and performance
  4. has a diverse trustee board and staff team, both in terms of demographics and experience
  5. reflects and implements DEI practices in its funding activities
  6. expresses its DEI commitment, policies and practices publicly
  7. makes itself accountable to those it serves and supports
  8. uses its own power to advocate for and advance DEI practices
  9. collaborates with others to promote and implement DEI practices

‘Culture is the expression of beliefs and values in the everyday conduct of life. Art is the toolbox that enables people to interfere with their own culture.’ ( A restless Art – Francois Matarasso)


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Two men sit side by side, one is using a glue gun on an egg carton whilst the other holds a glue stick