South Western Federation of Museums and Art Galleries

UK heritage sector bodies sign joint statement of intent to address racism

In support of the Black Lives Matters movement and the movement's resonance in the UK, eight national heritage sector membership bodies have signed a joint statement of intent to end racism in the heritage sector.

The South West Fed supports the statement, and Claire Dixon, Chair, South West Fed, said: "The South West Fed joins our sector peers in confirming our intent to take responsibility for ending racism in the heritage sector. We will ensure this commitment is evident as we create opportunities to connect and inspire the heritage community across the South West, for the benefit of organisations and their audiences. We will ensure our organisation is being pro-active, supporting our members and in particular, considering how best to ensure we are taking the most effective and appropriate actions for the benefit of those in the South West region."

The statement has been signed by The Group for Education in Museums (GEM), The Association of Independent Museums (AIM), The International Council of Museums UK (ICOM UK), The Museums Association, The Heritage Alliance, Engage, The Archives and Records Association (UK and Ireland), and The Association for Heritage Interpretation

The statement reads:

The Black Lives Matter movement began in America after a series of killings of black people in or following police custody. The movement has resonance in the UK, not least because of our nation’s history in which racism has become entrenched.

As the leading membership bodies representing the UK museums, galleries, heritage and archives we take responsibility for ending racism in the heritage sector. This work is overdue. This work is non-negotiable. It cuts across all aspects of our sector, from the collections we curate and preserve, the people who make up the heritage workforce, to the learning programmes we deliver.

The conversation and the action is ongoing.

We commit to pro-actively support:

  • representing our members across the heritage sector, acknowledging that our nation’s history and heritage is an invaluable tool in the fight against racism and discrimination
  • anti-discrimination debate and discussion in the care of and access to heritage collections
  • seeking, and taking care of the needs of a diverse heritage workforce
  • members to develop diverse collections
  • asking questions and challenging practices that support racism in all of its forms
  • that now is the time to be anti-racist
  • doing the work involved to end discrimination here and now