News Archive 2021

January update on The Courtauld’s work on Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism

6 Jan 2021

Read time: 5 min

As part of The Courtauld’s ongoing work on Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism, we will be sharing regular updates on the progress we have made in these areas. This is just a start, and we are all conscious that there is more work to do. We will continue to report progress on a termly basis.

Since the start of the 2020 Autumn Term, the following activities have taken place:

  • The Courtauld’s Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism Working Group met in October, to discuss a report from our independent external consultant on our current picture, and potential ways forward.
  • Recruitment for two faculty positions in the arts of Africa and its global diasporas is currently underway, with applications having just closed.
  • Our new Decolonisation Reading Groups have been launched – and 165 staff and students have signed up to take part.
  • We have launched our first ever undergraduate scholarships, aimed at encouraging people from a wider range of backgrounds to study art history. Although the scholarships are open to a range of applicants from widening participation backgrounds, priority will be given to students who are care leavers, carers, are living with a disability, come from a minority ethnic group or have refugee status.
  • We have continued to use our convening power to broaden art history knowledge and address diversity through our Research Forum events. Highlights of the last term have included:
    • Open Courtauld Hours on British Art, Immigration and Migration; and Rethinking Gauguin
    • Dan Hicks and ‘The Brutish Museums’
    • Ethiopian Christians in Florence: Filippino Lippi’s Adoration of the Magi and ‘Miracle of St Philip’
    • Radical Alternatives: Temporal and Spatial Mediations in Contemporary Iranian Art
    • Addressing Images with Nadya Wang, looking at contemporary womenswear designers in Southeast Asia
    • A Rock-Hewn Revolution in Early Medieval Ethiopia
    • Afterlives of the Kingdom of Haiti, 1820-2020: Art, Refinement and Material Culture
    • Feminism’s Occult Imagination, with artist Tai Shani
    • Symposia on The Courtauld’s Islamic Metalwork collection and on Textual Abstraction Within Transnational Modernism, looking athow artists experimented with script in North Africa, West Asia and South Asia in the wake of independence movements
    • A book event on Reflections: Contemporary Art of the Middle East and North Africa
  • Equality and Diversity on-line training has been rolled out to all staff.
  • A significant piece of work has been undertaken as part of Courtauld Connects to develop a new suite of interpretation for The Courtauld Gallery. It addresses issues such as the history and contexts of the artwork in the collection, as well as the history of Somerset House.
  • The Library has purchased over 70 new print titles since August which respond to the issues raised by the Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism Working Group.

In addition, The Courtauld grateful for the work of the Students’ Union who continue to address structural bias and inequality in all meetings with staff and directors. Their work in the Autumn Term included:

  • Expanding the SU Parliament to provide representation of Disabled, LGBTQ+ and BAME students.
  • Working with a group of students to establish BAME Soc – a social and support group run for and by students.
  • Purchasing 70 books relating to Black social history for future use by students in the Common Room.