Anti-Racism Action Plan
Like many people and organisations around the world, we were jolted and motivated by the Black Lives Matter movement to understand and address the wide structural inequalities and stark power imbalances present in our society. Tackling racism will require all of us to collectively address issues of racial injustice, biases, attitudes and stereotypes wherever we come across them in everyday life.
We recognise that ’a space’ arts has a pivotal role to play in tackling these issues in the local arts sector and beyond, and we are committed to proactively working towards bringing about positive and lasting changes.
Artists, communities, and organisations like ours have powerful voices that can influence the views of wider society, and we want to use and amplify our voice through the exhibitions and activities that we deliver to communicate issues that ‘a space’ arts and the artists we support believe in.
This voice has been building through our programming across the last two years and we now present our inaugural set of Anti-Racism commitments. Through these we publicly express the organisation’s intention to be a positive agent of change, whilst acknowledging this is just a starting point and that our commitment to anti-racism will be an ongoing process of individual and collective growth and learning.
As we deliver this work over the coming years, we remain open to learning, listening and holding space for conversations on anti-racism and we invite individuals and organisations to join the conversation as we look to create positive change in the world around us.
Download and read our Anti-Racism Action Plan here – ‘a space’ arts Anti-Racism Action Plan 2022
Notes on terminology:
- We acknowledge language is fluid and evolving and aim to ensure our use of language remains inclusive and inoffensive.
- As an organisation we have joined the movement to reject the acronym BAME as this state-manufactured term flattens and depoliticises global solidarity between people with a lived experiences of racism.
- We acknowledge the term ‘people of global majority’ as it is factually true with over 80% of the world’s population making up the global majority of non-white peoples.
Examples of our projects
The following projects are examples of our ongoing work as an arts organisation to honour our anti-racism commitments as we look to continue to remove barriers and create greater opportunities for artists of the global majority.
Black History Month 2022 at GHT
‘a space’ arts marked Black History Month UK with a programme of exhibitions and activities at our flagship venue ‘God’s House Tower’ that recognised the contributions of Black British people to arts and culture, whilst celebrating the Black history and community of Southampton.
For My Only Love, Yours in Body and Soul by Ebun Sodipo
Told through fictional love letters, the exhibition explores changing attitudes towards Africans and their descendants in Southampton between the 16th and 20th century with the artworks merging visual art and sound to create an enthralling and emotive visual exploration of the complexities of love and race.
Lucky Dip 2022
The Lucky Dip Bursary Scheme offers ten artists in the SO postcode £500 to fund the creation of a new artwork or activity, with the opportunity to exhibit at our flagship venue God’s House Tower at the end of the project.
As part of ‘a space’ arts ongoing commitment in becoming an Anti-Racist organisation, five of the Lucky Dip Bursaries for 2022 were offered to people of the global majority*.
Featured global majority artists: Emmanuel Boateng, Sonia Jackson, Edgar Lushaju, Martin Ruddock and Wenjun Xie.
Gardez L'Eau by Enam Gbewonyo
Presented as part of Meeting Point, a national programme led by contemporary arts agency Arts&Heritage. Gardez L’Eau was a solo exhibition by acclaimed British-Ghanaian textile and performance artist Enam Gbewonyo. Drawing on themes of trade, travel, colonialism and piracy, the exhibition explored the history of God’s House Tower through knitted sculptures and costume.
Lucky Dip 2021
The Lucky Dip Bursary scheme offers ten artists in the SO postcode £500 to fund the creation of a new artwork or activity, with the opportunity to exhibit at our flagship venue God’s House Tower at the end of the project.
As part of ‘a space’ arts ongoing commitment in becoming an Anti-Racist organisation, five of the Lucky Dip Bursaries for 2021 were offered to people of the global majority*.
Featured global majority artists: Kwame Bakoji-Hume, Issa Loyaan Farrah-Kelly, Gullu Kandrou, Maryam Zahra Kazimi, and Vin Warrican.
Hidden Histories is an ongoing walking tour which explores the diverse history of the Old Town’s past, sharing the lesser known stories of the black history of Southampton.
Futures Forum looks to create a safe, supportive environment for global majority artists at all stages of their careers. In creating this space we recognise that there is currently a serious imbalance in the representation of global majority artists in Southampton’s cultural offer as well as further afield. Futures Forum was created to address this imbalance and provide a space for artists of all disciplines to share ideas, meet other creative people and hear from sector leaders. This space exists to serve the needs, ambitions and aspirations of its members.
Making Room Residency
The Making Room Residency is a new programme launched in 2022 that aims to continue ‘a space’ arts’ commitment to supporting accessibility for all of Southampton’s visual artist community.
Recognising the many barriers artists face including having access to a dedicated workspace for their practice, the programme offers a three month funded studio residency for four visual artists who experience racism, come from disadvantaged socio-economic background, identify as neurodivergent, disabled or D/deaf, and those with caring responsibilities.
Image: Emmanuel Boateng – Artist and Making Room Residency recipient.