June 18, 2020

Further to our support on social media in recent weeks for Black Lives Matter, the Transform team and board are taking time to ruminate and reflect on our past work, and to start to re-assess and re-energise our approach to anti-racism.

We stand in solidarity with Black artists, cultural workers and communities now and in the future. The leadership and creativity of Black artists and cultural workers is fundamental to the cultural sector. A sector that has not amplified or empowered Black People enough and instead has perpetuated and benefitted from systemic racism and been complicit for too long. Cultural organisations big and small have a responsibility not only to vocalise their support, but to proactively do the work needed to enact systematic change. This work must be the responsibility of all cultural leaders and it is especially incumbent on white people to self-educate and actively respond. At Transform, we are on a journey and still have significant work to do to both reflect on and acknowledge past work and how we are complicit as an organisation. This work must be embedded, long-term and proactive. Black Lives Matter.

As a festival presenting and producing work by Black artists, we stand as allies. We will continue to programme and produce Black artists and stories across our festivals and year-round work. We are also committed to evolving an organisation with anti-racism at its centre. In the next 12 weeks, we will develop and publish a full anti-racism policy. This will be an active policy, co-created by the team and board and which outlines actions, timescales and accountability structures at Transform. This work will prioritise ongoing reflection and learning, and involve adjusting and re-modelling working practices wherever required. The policy will not only consider representation within our programme but consider at all levels the structural changes needed from arts organisations to embody and enact anti- racism. This work will focus on creating opportunities and ensuring Black artists, team and board members are consistently empowered within the organisation and ensured well-being support. The process will also establish tangible ways to amplify and promote the work of Black artists, organisers and groups outside of our organisation, in order to enhance the voices of Black People across our city and beyond.

We believe there is no better time for organisations in receipt of public funding to be re-assessing and re-imagining their plans, and that full transparency on processes and planned actions is required. By the start of 2021, we also plan to publish Transform’s Organisational Plan for the next five years. Our aim is to further evolve Transform as an inclusive festival that gives agency and decision-making power to a wider community of creative people. Over the next five years we aim to:

  • Evolve and extend our team, collaborators and board in a way that reflects the diversity of our region, centres intersectionality, and promotes well-being.
  • Further develop the inclusivity of our commissioning, programming and co-creation work.
  • Place renewed focus on exploring what access can and should mean for a festival now and in the future.
  • Develop and make transparent a leadership succession plan and timescales. With an aim of ensuring that the organisation evolves in such a way that it can be taken on and further mobilised by a new generation of diverse voices in the future.

We look forward to publishing our plans, actions and accountability structures in the coming weeks and months. We will ensure regular touchstone moments and communication points with our audiences, partners and wider community beyond this.


Donate – Black Lives Matter UK


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