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Lighthouse is ‘a very welcoming, professional place’ where staff ‘feel very supported by each other, almost like a family.’ 

That’s according to creative change maker consultant Nastasha Player who has recently submitted her draft final report after conducting an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) review to help Lighthouse reflect on its diversity and equality as an organisation and learn how it can become more inclusive. 

“I was invited in by the organisation to consider its approach to diversity, specifically ethnic diversity,” she explains. “What I found was based around very open conversations with external stakeholders as well as staff and the Board about the understanding and perception of diversity.” 

The review was triggered in response to Let’s Create, Arts Council England’s ten-year strategy to make sure everyone can access culture. Artistic programmes should reflect the national profile of ‘protected characteristics’ under the Equality Act that cover age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, marriage and civil partnership and pregnancy and maternity.  

Lighthouse is already committed to addressing its lack of ethnic diversity with training and positive recruitment and is seeking to embed the findings of the EDI review in future strategy. 

“What I’m interested in is creating the right environment for change to land most effectively,” says Natasha. 

“It’s not just Lighthouse, many organisations within the arts and cultural sector are looking at how they approach diversity. Issues around inclusion have been brought to the fore and discussions are happening around diversity in performances and programming, in engaging with audiences, and in the staffing of organisations. That Lighthouse is beginning to put structures in place at Board level to tackle this is very encouraging.” 

In interviews and workshops carefully hosted under Chatham House rules where comments made cannot and will not be attributed to individuals, Natasha and her associates took a fully rounded view of Lighthouse as an organisation and the individuals within it to explore its attitude to and understanding of diversity and inclusion. 

“It’s very brave of an organisation to make itself open to work like this – it’s about having discussions in safe spaces where what is said remains within the confines of that space. It’s about respecting people’s lived experience and making anti-racism a positive choice, then demystifying what it means so that people can feel confident about how they approach issues in future. To do that you have to talk about sensitive situations and not be afraid to make mistakes. 

“I’m towards the end of the process now, having had conversations, made recommendations and submitted the draft final report. It’s my hope that some of this will become embedded in future strategy.” 

Lighthouse is committed to presenting ambitious work and high-quality content that speaks to all sections of the community, particularly those that are under-served, and the findings of this Review will be invaluable in that aim. 

www.natashaplayer.co.uk 

(NC)

Published 15 July 2021