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It should not have taken the events of May 2020 to focus a spotlight on racism, but the deaths of George Floyd and others at the hands of police, and the subsequent protests, serve as a wake-up call to us all.

It is important that Hastings Contemporary’s response is more than an expression of solidarity: it must also be a meaningful commitment to self-examination, dialogue, progress and change.

We understand that meaningful change must involve us as individuals, as a team of colleagues, and our relationships with the individuals and institutions with whom we work. Hastings Contemporary is fortunate to be supported by Arts Council England and to be part of CVAN South East, and we wholeheartedly join them in their commitment to change (see the statements from Arts Council England here and CVAN here). We believe in the power of art to provoke difficult and honest conversations.  We are committed to having the difficult conversations that are necessary for us to make progress as an organisation.

This will be an ongoing journey.  As a first step we commit to reviewing our statements on equality and inclusivity, our HR guidance, and our staff training programme.  As part of this we will arrange unconscious bias training for all staff.

As we continue to make our way in the post-coronavirus landscape, we will continue to implement measures to ensure we promote an organisational culture that is not only diverse and inclusive but actively anti-racist.  We know that we have a voice in our community; we also want to listen; we are willing to learn.

Thank you.

Elizabeth Gilmore, Director

David Pennock, Chair, Board of Trustees

The Staff and Trustees of Hastings Contemporary