This statement was developed during the ‘Actions speak louder than hashtags’ edition of NightShift on 25 June 2020. It was predominantly written by white professionals in the museum / cultural sector as we believe it is the responsibility of white people to make positive change happen to put an end to institutional racism.
If you have any suggestions, questions, or want to add your name, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I will act against institutional racism in the cultural sector by undertaking these actions
- Instead of propagating white fragility, I will refrain from putting the burden of performativity on Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC). I will use my influence to motivate myself and other people who do not have the embodied experiences to educate ourselves on this topic.
- This year I will read at least four books or essays on the subject of institutional racism, watch documentaries, and / or educate myself in other tangible and substantive ways. I will recommend these to others while adding my thoughts, and I will talk with, listen to, and buy art, books, music, etc from BIPOC and learn from their perspectives.
- When I see a colleague, partner, or visitor being made to feel uncomfortable or, for example, being exposed to microaggressions, I will intervene and check in with them during and after the incident. I will not be afraid of the friction that comes with these conversations and I will embrace it.
- I will not be performative; everything I display on the outside (social media, etc) should reflect my actions in real life. I promise to hold myself and others (including institutions) accountable to practicing what I / we / they preach.
- I will initiate a conversation with my colleagues about what we stand for as an organisation. I will advocate changing the mission statement of an organisation I am involved in where necessary, and follow this up with actions. I will remind myself and my colleagues that cultural institutions are not neutral and that hiding behind a wall of neutrality is merely an excuse to do nothing.
- I will organise / ask my organisation/s to schedule training and facilitate conversations focused on becoming more aware of how we are part of the problem and how we can create change.
- I will actively speak up about, and am prepared to take a step back to make space for, BIPOC if I am asked to work / speak / curate / moderate / exhibit somewhere, or when I am applying for a job and learn that I am not the right person.
- I will use my influence whenever possible to involve BIPOC while upholding fair practice. I will take action by hiring BIPOC for paid work with relevant expertise, not only for a temporary seat at the table but also for core positions. I will make sure that I know why I am inviting this person and that their contribution will be purposeful, not tokenistic (performative allyship).
- I will make sure the choices that are being made regarding objects, artworks, and artists are transparent, and I will acknowledge multiple perspectives and narratives that exist outside of the historical canon.
- I will receive this ever-evolving list twice a year and will have made progress helping make positive change happen in-between these periods.
- I will be prepared for discomfort and chaos. I will try to bring change, circle back, and follow up. I will not give up.
Manique Hendricks, Hanna Piksen, Laurin Ivetic, Merel van der Vaart, Rianne Schoonderbeek, Vera Weterings, Tjyying Liu, Giulia Montaperto, Guinevere Ras, Saskia Scheltjens, Annelies Van de Ven, line kramer, Dieuwertje Wijsmuller, Bo Naarden, Marjolein Roozen, Dorien Theuns, Yophi Ignacia
Want to add your name and get into action?
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