Further to our statement on Photoworks’ commitment to being anti-racist, we wanted to update you on what we as a team are now doing to take this forward. Part 1 of our commitment was published on our website on 8 June 2020 and can be found here


What we will do:

We will work to increase accountability across our curatorial programme and our staffing, organisation and governance.

We plan to do this through a series of short-term (end of 2020), mid-term (by summer 2021) and long term goals (by the beginning of 2022). 

We also acknowledge that we have written this from a place of white privilege and not by members of Black or PoC communities – we may have got things wrong or need to work harder or work differently to embed anti-racist practice in our organisation. 

However, by sharing our action plan widely (originally published July 2020), we want to ensure our audiences continue to hold us accountable and we can work collaboratively with artists and audiences on this journey. 

We will add other goals and aspirations as we go forward and will update our audiences with these publicly, through our website every quarter. 


We commit to: 

  • be actively anti-racist by using our voice in the photography industry. This will include making sure we only participate in activities that represent our values and activities which are actively and explicitly anti-racist. 


  • share and gather content that educates and informs others to be anti-racist, from us and our peers. This starts now and we have begun a recommended reading list which is linked here which we will update quarterly and which we will share on our channels. This is our team’s efforts to be anti-racist through our own research and we acknowledge there is a lot more work to be done here. 


  • unconscious bias training for all of our employees and trustees by the end of 2020. This will include a course but we will also be meeting as a team monthly to discuss and action how we can do this. 


  • we will also give each member of the team one day off this year (2020) and every year going forward, to spend reading, listening and learning in any way they see fit about how to be anti-racist. 


  • we would like to invite artists and specialist organisations to audit Photoworks with our team and work to address any findings which will be published by summer 2021. Noone will work on this for free – this work will be done by a paid group of internal and external colleagues from across the industry and its role will be to look at who we work with, what we show, any faults we have made to date and how to address those and help us develop new collaborations. If you would like to be part of this or have ideas to feed in please contact us nicola@photoworks.org.uk 


  • we will ensure that Black and PoC representation is a driver for our upcoming Board recruitment. We have three spaces on our board to fill right now and will actively seek to recruit Black and PoC board members for these places by the end of 2020. To find out more you are also welcome to contact us shoair@photoworks.org.uk 


  • to ensure that all our colleagues and collaborators have a safe space to voice discriminations and will be working with our action group to develop what this really means in practice by the end of 2020.


  • we will ensure that donations from patrons, philanthropists and trusts & foundations come from those that are committed to an anti-racism stance and sign-up to our values, mission and vision. We will ask everyone who donates to sign up to this and we have added a line to our donations page to ensure all are aware. 


We will implement the following to improve our curatorial programme: 

  • at least 50% of our programme will consistently feature and support Black or PoC artists by April 2022 (55% of our 2019-2020 programme featured or supported Black or PoC artists). We will also actively be looking at how we can address topics centred on Blackness as part of our programme.


  • we will actively recruit Black and PoC educators and artists for our freelance artist facilitator and coordinator roles by the end of 2020 and will update on progress by this date. See our live call out here to apply 


  • we will continue to ensure Black and PoC artists have access to the most transformative opportunities in our programme e.g. our high value bursaries like the Jerwood/Photoworks Awards and our annual Writer in Residence opportunity. This is ongoing and we will assess our progress in summer 2021 but make any updates at the end of 2020.


  • we already pay all artists in line with our fee structure but will be working with our action group to discuss any barriers for Black or PoC artists. Please click here to see what we pay artists right now.


Our recruitment of colleagues: 

  • we will continue to advertise all roles and hold a transparent recruitment process for all posts in our organisation. We will continue to use specialist recruitment platforms targeting Black and PoC job seekers and allocate staff time to actively sharing job roles on a wide range of platforms. We will also work with our action group to interrogate barriers.


Our audiences:

  •  4.5% of our audience have told us that they are Black (Audience Finder data, July 2020) and we will report on changes and progress in our quarterly updates, asking ourselves to double this % number by the end of 2021, continuing to reflect and action how we can do so.


  • we will actively ensure that our artist resources, marketing materials and digital commissions and content reaches Black and PoC audiences and best reflects the lived experience of all our communities and audiences.


  • we will do this by working with our action group to create a series of prompts our team will sign up to and reference when commissioning materials and content, to ensure our materials aim to be representative of the Black and PoC lived experience.


  • we will continue to work with our team to send dedicated communications reaching Black and PoC groups, individuals and those running digital platforms, institutions, working groups and others who could be potential collaborators or colleagues. 

Last updated May 2021.



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