The Courtauld Institute of Art and its student body supports Black Lives Matter, and is saddened and outraged by the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and all those who have suffered from systemic racism, injustice and violence.
As an institution, we know we must do more to address systemic racism, and we must do it better. Our visitors, students and staff are not diverse enough, and this must change. We recognise that it is our role to provide leadership in this area, and we are fortunate in having a Student Union who will always challenge us to do more.
Progress has been too slow so far. A meaningful and robust focus on now achieving these ambitions is needed by every member of our community. We are all accountable.
Following on from internal discussions this week, and recommendations from our student body, we are committing immediately to:
- Convene a staff and student Working Group on diversity and anti-racism, including members of the Courtauld’s Governing Body and senior management team, to drive faster change.
- The group will work across the organisation to address issues around student recruitment, experience and progression; staff recruitment, retention and progression; our role as a Gallery and Museum; and decolonising the curriculum.
- Deliver diversity and inclusion training, including anti-racism, to all staff and students.
- Continue the recruitment process for two new posts, to cover Modern and Contemporary Art of Africa and the African Diaspora.
- Explicitly state our commitment to anti-racism as a core aim of Courtauld Connects.
- Revise targeting of undergraduate financial support.
- Offer our full support through Student Welfare channels to any students affected by the present crisis.
We also recognise that this is a start – we need to go further than this, and we will.
At a senior level we are discussing how we achieve more diverse representation on our Boards and Committees; maintain and grow a mix of representative voices throughout our events; and work with the rest of the sector on these issues. We do not have all of the answers, and need to be more ambitious and more effective in what we do. Working with students, staff and sector voices will make sure we continue to learn and improve.