Diversity & Anti-Racism Statement & Resource

CVAN EM exists to support the visual arts sector in the East Midlands, comprising artists and organisations, for the engagement of individuals and communities as audiences and participants, in and beyond the region.

We acknowledge that regionally, nationally and internationally, there are racial, cultural, physical, societal, financial and environmental barriers that prevent many people from participating in the visual arts and many others from reaching their creative, professional and financial potential. We know that not only systemic historical and cultural factors, but also that individual and institutional attitudes play a large part in this.

Over the last few months, significant actions and debates have brought the discrimination and inequality that we know exist to the fore; Black Lives Matter and #WeShallNotBeRemoved are two very visible ones. We hope that this moment can catalyse long-needed change within the sector.

CVAN EM does not tolerate racism, of any kind, and is committed to working in an anti-racist, non-discriminatory and authentic way, without unconscious bias, with artists, organisations and audiences, and will only work with partners who share those values. We will work closely with our national and regional CVAN colleagues to demand these values are upheld. See CVAN National’s BLM statement here.

We are committed to helping to achieve social justice and equality in the visual arts sector. We believe that access to the sector should not be affected by a person’s ethnicity, age, physical ability, gender or sex. We take an intersectional view to diversity, understanding that artists and audience members identify with a combination of characteristics.

We will take time to reflect on our strengths and weaknesses in respect of diversity, of our activities and practices. We will continue to do this regularly, to ensure they are transparent, representative and inclusive, and free of discrimination and tokenism. We will listen to and learn from our constituents and stakeholders. We will create equal access to opportunities, for artists, organisations and audiences, to take part in our work, regardless of race, ethnicity, disability, age, sex, gender, religion and class.

We will:

  1. Introduce monitoring information for our project participants to ensure that we are delivering work that is representative of our region;
  2. Prioritise diversity and representation in our Steering Group recruitment;
  3. Seek partnerships that help to diversify our constituents and projects;
  4. Employ a greater range of entry points to our activities to increase their accessibility by people facing physical and financial barrier;
  5. Advocate best practice e.g. Paying Artists Campaign.

We will do what we can to amplify the outstanding, necessary and often courageous work that is already being done by individuals and organisations to challenge racism, discrimination and inequality in the visual arts sector. Below is a list of resources that we hope will be helpful in your forward programming and decision making. Categorisation is for ease of reference; we recognise that these factors often combine and intersect.

Our actions and procedures will be subject to change to allow us to adapt to new information, we hope to learn and adapt appreciate feedback. If you’d like to suggest any additions to this resource, please email us. You can find our Terms of Reference here.




Race & ethnicity

*Watch the BBC’s Whoever heard of a Black Artist: Britain’s Hidden Art History*

*Watch John Akomfrah’s ‘Handsworth Songs

ACAVA (Association for Cultural Advancement through Visual Art) – an arts education charity supporting 500 practitioners through studio provision and continuous professional development and empowering diverse communities by enabling them to create visual art and culture through co-production.

Autograph ABP – a charity founded to support black photographic practices, Autograph ABP works internationally in photography and film, cultural identity, race, representation and human rights, advocating the inclusion of historically marginalised photographic practices.

Black Artists & Modernism project – seeks to determine in which publicly-funded collections one can find artworks by artists of African, Caribbean, Asian and MENA Region descent who were born in, lived, worked or studied in the UK.

National Black Arts Alliance – creates productions that challenge perceptions of Black culture and that celebrate the many dimensions of Black heritage.

Black Arts Forum – a CIC committed to supporting the development of Black arts across the West Midlands.

Black Audio Film Collective – influential British artist group producing award winning film, photography, slide tape, video, installation, posters and interventions between 1982 and 1998, much of which has never been exhibited in Britain.

Black Cultural Archives – the only national heritage centre dedicated to collecting, preserving and celebrating the histories of African and Caribbean people in Britain.

Black Females In Architecture – a network and enterprise founded to increase the visibility of black and black mixed heritage females within architectural industry and other built environment fields.

Blk Art Group Research Project – a project created by the Blk Art Group to promote debate, enquiry, scholarship and understanding of their British ‘Black Art Movement ’ – https://www.tate.org.uk/art/art-terms/b/british-black-arts-movement – which inspired by anti-racist discourse and feminist critique sought to highlight issues of race and gender and the politics of representation.

BLM resources archive

Caribbean Archive Learning Resource – a learning resource seeking to examine representations of race, culture and identity using photographic images from the National Archives Collection, developed by New Art Exchange with support from the The National Archives.

How to Safely Support Black Lives Matter Online – Are you looking for a way to stay safe as you continue to fight for Black rights online?

Iniva (Institute of International Visual Arts) – a visual arts organisation dedicated to developing an artistic programme that reflects on the social and political impact of globalisation. Houses the Stuart Hall Library – https://iniva.org/library/ – which holds Iniva’s collections and archive on contemporary art from Africa, Asia, Latin America and British artists from diverse backgrounds.

New Art Exchange – the first dedicated African, African Caribbean and South Asian contemporary facility for the visual arts in the UK and plays a leading role within the region and beyond in supporting African/Caribbean and South Asian arts practice.

Migrants Bureau – Interdisciplinary social design & urbanism practice surrounding disenfranchised & migrant communities.

ReFramed – a Midlands-based network for Black, Asian and other minority ethnic communities interested in producing photographic visual art.

Stephen Lawrence Research Centre – based at De Montfort University, the Centre aims to drive forward conversations that will shape and influence how we think about race and social justice. It intends to honour the enduring legacy of Stephen Lawrence’s life and his family’s ongoing pursuit of justice by asking new questions, debating critical issues, raising awareness, and advocating to bring about positive change.

Practical Ways to support BLM in the UK.



Access Documents for Artists -A guide from Wysing Arts Centre to preparing your own access statement, which can help you to navigate working with new organisations.

Actors with Disabilities in Film – a resources looking at why it is important to have this type of representation in cinema.

DASH – a Disabled led visual arts charity creating opportunities for Disabled artists to develop their creative practice.

Disability Arts Online – an organisation led by disabled people, set up to advance disability arts and culture, nurturing and showcasing talent and providing information and creating opportunities for disabled artists.

Flow Observatorium (FLOb) – the UK’s first neurodivergent artist-led scheme.

LEVEL Centre – an organisation challenging perceptions and traditional notions of art, culture and societal divisions.

Outside In – a national charity that aims to provide a platform for artists who face significant barriers to the art world due to health, disability, social circumstance or isolation.

Shapea disability-led arts organisation which works to improve access to culture for disabled people by providing opportunities for disabled artists. Delivers the National Disability Arts Collection and Archive (NDACA) – a digital archive chronicling the history of disability arts in the UK.

Unlimited – a commissioning programme that enables new work by disabled artists to reach UK and international audiences.

#WeShallNotBeRemovedhttps://twitter.com/hashtag/WeShallNotBeRemoved – an emergency response led by disabled people for disabled people working across the UK’s creative industries, designed as a forum to advocate, campaign and support D/deaf, neurodiverse and disabled creative practitioners and organisations through and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gender & sexuality

Grrrl Zine Fair – queer feminsist arts and self-publishing

QUEER|ART – a non-profit arts organisation serving a diverse and vibrant community of LGBTQ+ artists across generations and disciplines.

QUEER Britain – a charity working to establish the UK’s first national LGBTQ+ museum, a place as exciting as the people, stories and ideas it explores and celebrates.

Queer and Trans Arts Collective for artists/creatives of Nottingham and surrounding areas. Here for queer and trans artists, to represent and support you, showcase your creativity and elevate your voices.

The Proud Trust – a life saving and life enhancing organisation that helps LGBT+ young people empower themselves, to make a positive change for themselves, and their communities.

Women in the Artists – an association founded with the goal of creating a supportive community of professional women working in the arts.

WOMP – is an artist led space in Sheffield run by queers with studios for emerging artists, created to support emerging artists and offer support and opportunities to groups who otherwise face a lack of opportunity

Class & socio economic

Arts Emergency – an award-winning mentoring charity and network established to help marginalised young people overcome barriers to participation and success in higher education and the creative and cultural industries. Initiators of The Panic Report – which for the first time compared large-scale national datasets on social mobility alongside industry-specific information, offering new insights into the tastes, values and engagement of cultural workers.

MAIA – an artist-led cultural organisation; a platform for creative practice, critical thinking and social change.

Mansions of the Future – an arts and cultural hub in Lincoln brought to life through a public programme of free talks, workshops, communal lunches and family activities, alongside national and international artistic commissions. MotF is now closed but its website remains an archive of its achievements.

School of The Damned – is a year-long alternative art course directed by its students. It was founded as a reaction to the increasing financialisation of higher education.

Working Class Artist Network – a group working class artists, here to help create a platform the working class creatives of today.


A-N – largest artist membership organisation in the UK, supporting artists and those who work with them and acting on behalf of our membership and the visual arts sector to improve artists’ livelihoods, influencing and informing cultural policy.

Artquest – an initiative, founded by University of the Arts London, using research about the working conditions, career barriers and the motivations of visual artists, to develop the professional information, advice and projects that they need.

Artsadmin – a producing and presenting organisation for contemporary artists working in theatre, dance, live art, visual arts and mixed media to create without boundaries, producing bold, interdisciplinary work to share with local, national and international audiences.


Last updated 15th November 2020.

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