Creating a culture of inclusion

In September, we were delighted to welcome James Brandon, Diversity & Inclusion Manager at Tate as a speaker at out monthly GLAM talks series for staff. James discussed the innovative approaches being taken by Tate to become a truly inclusive organisation. Post written by Ginger Jansen, Ashmolean Events Manager & Gemma-Louise Bradley, Shared HR Service.

James gave a frank and honest portrayal of the Tate’s journey on becoming an inclusive organisation, with a workforce and audience that is as diverse as the communities it serves.

In his inspiring talk, he talked us through the Tate Modern’s journey to becoming a more diverse and inclusive workplace. Promoting and supporting diversity in the workplace is an important aspect of good people management – it’s about valuing everyone in the organisation as an individual. With various ‘staff diversity groups’ set-up representing BAME and LQTBQ communities as well as the Carers’ and Disability network, Tate Modern aims to bring everyone together with a shared interest in equality issues by exchanging information, and supporting and influencing positive change throughout the organisation.

Becoming a workplace that positively promotes Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) is no picnic. As James explained, setting targets for D&I is an up and down journey where a lot of mistakes are made and a lot of learning is involved. Getting a whole organisation on the same D&I page requires copious amounts of change management. Inclusive leadership can set the path in diffusing a D&I culture throughout the organisation as it teaches people to be aware of their own biases and encourages them to actively seek out and consider different views and perspectives to inform better decision-making. Inclusive leaders see diversity as a source of competitive advantage and inspire growth and awareness amongst their workforce.

However, James Brandon notes it’s important to acknowledge that one workshop does not make you an inclusive leader. As well as including the course as part of everyone’s induction programme, promoting inclusive leadership at the Tate is championed through storytelling, regular training, workshops, their intranet, D&I champions and their ‘people library’ offering everyone access to D&I literature. Ultimately, as the Tate Modern brilliantly demonstrates, diverse teams feel much more empowered in their workplace enabling them to perform and develop their capability in a nurturing and sustainable environment.

2017 was a pivotal point for the Tate when it presented the first exhibition on queer British art, which attracted a significant number of first-time visitors. An exhibition on Van Gogh, during Mental Health Week, challenged the perception of mental health and inviting the audience to talk about their own experiences. These exhibitions allowed the Tate to interact with audiences who may have thought, the Tate was not for them.

James compared the ED&I journey to a game of rugby, ‘Iit’s a game of inches and not miles’. Reminding the audience this agenda does not sit with one person or group it sits with EVERYONE.

More information: Tate Diversity and Inclusion programme.

“In every way, I’m very proud of my diverse team but I recognise the need to continuously adapt, especially regarding inclusion. Ticking a box to say you have a diverse team means nothing if they do not feel inclusive. Every day we need to be setting an example for others to follow as well as sharing knowledge and information that will inform and engage us all to work from the same D&I page. A slow process perhaps, but with exceptional rewards at the end for the whole organisation”.

Ginger Jansen, Ashmolean Events Manager

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