Last year we formed a group within our wider team to discuss how we can make Brainchild a more inclusive, diverse & anti-racist organisation. As part of this, we opened a dedicated channel for feedback with the Black people & People of Colour in our community about their experiences of Brainchild spaces. We want to share some of our findings and also share the commitments we’ve made so far.
Welfare & Clear Channels for Reporting
While there were thankfully not many reports of negative experiences via the Community Feedback Survey, it’s become clear that audience members & artists on the festival site were not aware of the channels for reporting inappropriate behaviour, racism, harassment & micro-aggressions. Responses also alerted us to the fact that our crew & security teams require more training in how to appropriately manage the welfare of any victims of abuse and the consequences for any perpetrators. This led us to form a Welfare R&D group, devoted to identifying and introducing policies and procedures that will make both Brainchild events and workspaces safer spaces going forward. We’ll be sharing more information about this in the near future, along with what will be in place for Brainchild Festival 2021.
We’ve implemented clearer and more robust data-gathering practices. Sensitively collecting demographic information about attendees, artists & crew will help us to have an accurate benchmark on our progress in ensuring the festival is an inclusive and diverse space as it grows. This information will also help us spot patterns and potential barriers to involvement and will allow us to be more accountable in the future.
Diversifying the Production Team & Installation Artist programme
Two big areas for improvement are diversifying our team and also the installation artists who exhibit work – both of which have generally only involved up to 20% Black artists or team-members each year. We’ve developed a new hiring policy that aims to meaningfully ensure equal opportunities for all roles at Brainchild, with a specific view to increasing the diversity of our team, both in pre-production and on site roles. This will involve actively widening our recruitment processes to increase representation in job applicants, putting in place systems to mitigate against unconscious bias in selection processes, and creating a more inclusive workplace & work culture so that new staff, particularly staff of colour, feel valued and able to excel.
To diversify our programming of Installation Artists, we’ve undertaken a review of our recruitment and pastoral processes, and will be working toward long-term partnerships with networks of artists & curators of colour for Brainchild Festival 2022. This will mean we have a diverse selection panel in place and a commitment to co-curating a predefined number of installation pieces, ring-fenced for Black artists and artists of colour.
This is just the beginning and we will continue to build on this work and update you on our progress.We would like to keep this dialogue with our community open (you can still find the form here), and would encourage anyone with further feedback or suggestions to get in touch. Likewise, if anyone would like to see our new Hiring or Data Gathering Policies, we’ll be publishing them on our website in due course.