Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter and the wave of anti-racist protest in much of the world has challenged the team at Dance North to take stock and do some rigorous self-examination. It’s too easy to point the finger of blame at others who appear more overtly racist without taking a good, and uncomfortable, look in the mirror. We are, as an organisation, overwhelmingly white in our representation and therefore white in our outlook.

While we pride ourselves on how we structure our governance, our decision-making processes, how we treat people and pay people – we are lacking and acknowledge this lack is a crucial step towards taking responsibility. We work with people of colour but they do not form part of our governance, management, core team or formal advisory group. Issues of hidden prejudice, institutional or systemic racism, whether within the dance sector or wider afield, have not been formally explored or addressed by us as an organisation. We will not shrink behind shame but will stand and take responsibility, inform and educate ourselves and most importantly, take action.

We do not want to patronise people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities with tokenism or reactive and ill-thought out policy, copied from templates of others that sit in a file, gathering dust, as we carry on doing whatever we have been doing that has prevented us from meaningful engagement with Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities. We will develop a strategy to engage with Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities who care about dance and the arts sector to find out what we should do to help create genuine and lasting change. We will also work together with white people and the predominantly white communities and networks with whom we engage, with an encouragement and invitation to join us as we learn and make proactive changes. We don’t know yet what this will look like, or feel like, but we will listen and learn from people in Moray, Scotland, UK and the world; we are an international company.

This strategy will identify the actions we need to take that are necessary; we move with hope and courage.

We thank Black Lives Matter for bringing this into sharp relief and we recognise that we have our part to pay in making lasting and meaningful change. Thank you for shining a light on this. We acknowledge where we have failed and will address our role as part of the problem and as part of the solution to create positive change for a fair world.