Dear staff and students,
Over the last week, we have been holding intensive discussions in response to Black Lives Matter, and we have taken a long hard look at ourselves. There has been welcome progress in some areas of our work, but not in others. We recognise that there is a long way to go, and that we have a responsibility to act now.
In addition, we have heard from Black students and alumni of their traumatic experiences whilst studying at Guildhall. We acknowledge the damage racism continues to cause our Black students, and apologise to Black students and alumni who have suffered during their training. It isn’t good enough, and we have to do better. We take allegations of racism extremely seriously, and are hugely concerned by what we have heard. With this in mind, we would encourage those who feel able to do so to come forward, so we can act on this now. You can directly email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact any other senior member of staff at the School who you feel comfortable speaking to.
We have already begun to take active steps in a number of areas of our training, but we know that has not gone far enough. We will therefore form a working group with representation from across the School – across our three faculties, across students and staff, prioritising representation of Black people and others who have been historically under- represented – to challenge us, and present a specific set of commitments to the Senior Management Team whose responsibility it will be to deliver them. We expect that these commitments will include a range of activity to continue the much-needed increase in representation in our student and staff bodies; a complete review of our faculty curricula and artistic programming; and further training and anti-racism learning resources for all staff and students. Our Board will expect, and request, urgent progress.
We will work closely with the Student Union, and also seek out advice from those outside our organisation, whilst recognising that it is our responsibility to bring about change, and no-one else’s.
As we said last week, Guildhall stands with all Black communities and everyone fighting against racism. Those voices must be heard and acknowledged within our own walls, and we must change and renew as a result. We pledge to take this work forward today.