Equality, Diversity & Inclusion
We want the Southbank Centre to be an organisation where everyone is able to bring their whole selves to work
To collaborate with their colleagues in an atmosphere of compassion, dignity, courage, trust, support, fun and creativity.
We also want our visitors, artists and the communities we serve to feel that they belong here.
Last year was the toughest period in our Southbank Centre history. We were faced with hard choices that we had to make in order to remain solvent and protect the future of our organisation. We had the unimaginable situation of having no work for large numbers of staff. As a consequence, we could not maintain the staffing costs that we had been used to before the pandemic. We did everything that we could to reduce other costs, before sadly, having no other choice but to say farewell to a large number of colleagues through the redundancy programme.
We now know that our young, Black, Asian and ethnically diverse staff, were disproportionately affected by these redundancies. Many of these staff worked in front of house roles where there was no work during closure and where there could be no selection process since all roles were made redundant. We recognise that many of these staff worked in low-paid or part-time roles and that we are a long way from having true representation across all levels of the organisation.
A transformation journey
We have been reflecting on what last year has taught us, by starting to understand what has not served us well, and focusing on how we can embark on a transformation journey where we truly repair and rejuvenate and engage in the right conversations to help us create the Southbank Centre of the future.
Work is already underway to ensure that we face up to our Equality, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) issues – and start to concretely, and tangibly, address these. To help us, this work will be supported by the expertise of our external partners Questions of Difference and The Equality Trust, both of which are respected leaders in their field. As we rebuild our much-loved organisation, they will help us to deliver on our commitment to anti-racism and to ensure this is woven into the fabric of our approach over the coming months.
This approach will involve each and every one of us across the organisation, through conversations where we can truly be heard and hear each other. Trust will emerge from the conversations we will be having and every conversation will start to make a difference. We will clarify what being an organisation that is experienced as equitable, inclusive and diverse really means. Ensuring that we listen properly to all our people in order to take the right actions to create real impact is crucial, so that we can move forward together and create lasting change.