Our work at Paintings in Hospitals is founded on Cultural Democracy: a democratic approach to arts and culture that actively engages everyone in determining what is classed as culture, where it happens, who makes it, and who accesses it.1

The primary function of our work is to make art accessible. We cannot do this without also addressing the biases present in existing systems and working to dismantle the intrinsic inequities and injustices in our society.

Diversity enhances and deepens the impact of the arts. Paintings in Hospitals is committed to ensuring diversity across our staff, board, programmes, and audiences, reflecting our communities throughout the country. We aim to be an open and progressive organisation with equity at the forefront of our work.

This is our initial pledge setting out our first steps on the journey to a truly inclusive culture. We will update this pledge to demonstrate our progress as we continue to evolve and embed this work into the future of the charity.

We have:

  • Discussed equity, diversity and inclusion and our current commitments to these at Board level.

  • Created a new Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Committee, which comprises staff and trustees, to assess and advise on the strategic direction, priorities, and objectives for inclusion at Paintings in Hospitals. This committee meets quarterly and reports to the Board of Trustees.

  • Surveyed our staff team and trustees to assess attitudes towards and understanding of equity, diversity, and inclusion to develop a clear action plan. This survey found that:

    • There is widespread support for developing a clear approach and action plan for equity, diversity, and inclusion.
    • There is a need for further evaluation of our art collection and the artists featured in our collection.
    • There is need for further evaluation of the audiences and communities who experience our work and engage with our services in order for us to assess our success in our commitment to accessibility.
    • We consider this an opportunity to provide EDI training to staff and trustees.

We will: 

  • Review the content of our art collection and, through the lens of diversity and inclusion, appraise how to take forward an approach to ensure that it is more reflective of the communities we serve.

  • We will provide appropriate training and other skills training to embed the principles of EDI for our staff team and board and identify further areas of education and action resulting from this. We will review how this training can be continuously rolled out for new and existing members of staff and we will integrate this within our onboarding procedures, measuring its effectiveness.

  • Continue to educate ourselves as an organisation in relation to racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, xenophobia, classism, and other forms of discrimination, with continued learning across our staff team and trustees.

  • We will work towards developing new programmes based on our learning that will expand opportunities for participation and partnerships with communities that we do not currently engage.

  • We will further interrogate our recruitment processes to understand why people of colour and others with protected characteristics are under-represented in our team and Board, and what we must do to change this.

  • We will further review our induction and appraisal processes to encourage continued learning and progress across the organisation.

  • We will enable and ensure all staff and trustees demonstrate these principles and behaviours in their day-to-day work for the charity. 

We have a long way to go, but our intention remains to enact real and long-term change throughout our organisation that will continuously support our commitment to Cultural Democracy and making art accessible to all.

1 Our description represents that of Arts Council England