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Anti-Racism Policy

"At Odd Arts we understand racism to be."

Odd Theatre Community Interest Company – Anti-Racism Policy

Odd Arts understands racism to be:

  • Race prejudice with social and institutional power
  • A system of advantage based on race
  • A system of oppression based on race
  • A White supremacy system

Odd Arts recognises racism is different from racial prejudice, hatred, or discrimination. Racism involves one group having the power to carry out systematic discrimination through institutional policies and practices and by shaping the cultural beliefs and values that support those. Odd Arts believes that race is a social construct.

Odd Arts understands that White privilege exists. This is not to say that non-racially minoritized people do not have barriers, disadvantages, challenges and discrimination; it just means that those things are not exacerbated by societal systems that benefit White people over other ethnic groups. It does not mean all non-racially minoritized people are privileged.

Odd Arts is committed to anti-racism, which is the challenge and prevention of racism and more than ‘not being racist’. Below is a table which outlines anti-racist practices and behaviour, written for people who either have or do not experienced racism, or are beginning to think about anti-racism.

In this policy we outline many of our commitments and practices that we think lead us to being an anti-racist organisation.

1. Embrace cultural, ethnic and faith diversity:

We will strive to do this in the following ways:

  • Avoid tokenism
  • Have a staff team at all levels that represents the diverse communities we serve
  • Ensure our communications, website, photography and language represents the diverse communities we serve and celebrate the strengths of people from different ethnic backgrounds
  • Ensure projects are mindful in delivery and planning of varied faith, culture and ethnicity-specific events or memorials (for example, Eid, Black History Month, Hate Crime Awareness etc.)
  • Embed our projects with a respect and celebration of people from different backgrounds
  • Consider imagery and ensure we do not perpetuate stereotypes, ‘White-saviourism’ or ‘Black-victimhood’
  • Ensure our communications in job adverts and proposals makes it clear we are an anti-racism organisation and states this specifically
2. Training:

We believe ongoing training is key to achieving anti-racism. Our commitment includes:

  • Regular and ongoing training for all staff on issues specific and relevant to anti-racism. This might include ‘anti-racism training’ but will also include training around race-related issues linked to wider themes such-as mental health, trauma, violence, inequalities, criminal justice, unconscious bias etc.
  • Ensure that any initial training or ‘on-boarding’ includes addressing our stance on racism and what it means to be an ‘anti-racist’ organisation so the understanding is there from the outset
  • Board level training on anti-racism (aim to be completed prior to Jan 2022)
3. Challenge racism:

In a variety of practical, strategic and thematic ways, through the following practise:

  • Apply for projects and funding that address racial inequalities
  • Ensure staff consider the racial stereotypes and discrimination affecting the delivery and content of ALL projects and not those just labelled race related
  • Provide increased support and opportunities for people from ethnic backgrounds that experience racism in order to address systemic inequalities, discrimination and disadvantage. This should also aim to increase opportunities for people from ethnic backgrounds that experience racism to achieve senior positions and at board level
  • Ensure addressing racism is underpinned in our wider Business Strategy
  • Enable a safe space and open door policy for all staff, including a ‘change and learn’ culture from all levels of the organisation
4. Workforce and participants representation:

In a variety of practical, strategic and thematic ways, through the following practise:

  • We strive to have a workforce that represents the communities we serve meaning we aim to have approximately 50% of staff from ethnic backgrounds that experience racism, at all levels of the organisation
  • We aim to work with participants that represent the communities we serve meaning we aim to have approximately 50% of participants from ethnic backgrounds that experience racism
5. Language use:

Adopt wording that challenges a racist system of language and does not add to ‘othering’ or ‘monoritising’ people:

  • Avoid using the term BME or BAME. If we mean a particular ethnic group then we should be specific and say who we mean rather than broad labels. Where we are referring to wider groups of people from various ethnic backgrounds not including ‘White’ (or non-racially minoritized people) then we favour using the term ‘from an ethnic background that experiences racism’ or ‘racially minoritized people’
  • We will capitalise any written words that refer to a race, such as ‘Black’ or ‘Traveller’
  • Staff have the autonomy to carefully consider the appropriate language in their workshops, as long as they are in line with our wider policy. However, it is best practise when referring to ‘race’ and ethnicity to let people know that we are open to other identity language that they might feel more comfortable with
  • Language will evolve and we will continue to learn and evolve with the best anti-racism practice
  • We encourage people to self identify, therefore when creating our own monitoring forms, where we must identify ethnicity, we will ask them ‘How do you define your ethnicity?’
  • Because race is a social construct, like other things such as class and gender, we believe it is not determined, biological or predetermined and our language use, where possible, should reflect this
6. Open conversations and safe space:
  • Provide regular non-judgemental, open and safe spaces for discussion about issues relating to race and discrimination
  • Use restorative and non-violent-communication approaches to address racism and bias
  • Encourage staff to acknowledge that bias is something we all have, and that we must be open to learning about and addressing this issue
  • Provide regular supervisions, wellbeing related training and workshops and an open space in meetings to raise concerns relating to wider racism related themes
  • Developing a Healthy Feedback Model which is confidential
  • Willingness from all levels to listen, learn and change
  • Odd Arts is a Hate Crime reporting centre
7. Trauma informed:

Odd Arts acknowledges that racism, generational racism and systemic racism can cause trauma and that people who have or are experiencing trauma will need a person-centred and flexible approach. We will also give ‘trigger warnings’ for projects, performances and language that may be upsetting for people who have experienced racism.

8. Anti-racist champion:

Odd Arts will strive (by March 2022) to develop an ‘anti-racism’ champion. This role will:

  • Not rely on people who have experienced racism to carry the burden of overcoming racism or ‘be the one voice’
  • Ensure all staff members know that overcoming racism is a part of everyone’s role, every day
  • Keep anti-racism alive and at the core of everything we do
  • Have a passion for overcoming racism and a good understanding of the issues relating to it
  • Champion the subject and hold all levels of the organisation to account
  • Bring the ‘anti-racism’ policy to life
9. Safeguard participants and staff:

Follow our existing safeguarding, anti-bullying, and disciplinary policies to address racism and ensure:

  • All racism (unconscious or conscious) will be addressed (participants and staff) in line with our wider policies and using restorative approaches
  • Always feed back to people who have witnessed or experienced racism so that they know Odd Arts has addressed the issues. Even if disclosure and confidentiality means we cannot give specific details we should always ensure we let people know that action has been taken and racism was addressed and challenged. Ensure we clarify our anti-racism stance at Odd Arts
  • For participants who we know hold racist viewpoints, risk assess before participation in any workshop and ensure all other participants are safeguarded. Where necessary, hold small group or 1-2-1 workshops until the participant is safe to join a wider group
  • Have support groups where people can access further support and guidance
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