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More Than a Moment: Action with and for Black Creatives

West Midlands' black artists and organisational leads launch a new pledge to 'radically transform' the experience of black creatives working in the region.

BLM protest in Leamington Spa this summer. Credit: Alex Motoc, Unsplash

Black artists and leaders from top arts organisations, theatres and across Warwickshire and the West Midlands yesterday (Thurs, Oct 29) launched a new pledge for action – More Than a Moment: Action with and for Black Creatives.

Designed to dismantle systems that keep Black artists and creatives from achieving their full potential in the arts and cultural industries, it promises permanent radical change.

Born earlier this year during the rising awareness of Black Lives Matter, the idea to create the pledge first came from young Midlands creative Elizabeth Lawal, a board member of Culture Centre.

Elizabeth said it all “began with a vison to make tangible change with and for the Black Creative Workforce, this process has been led with so much care and attention and passion from the More than a Moment working group, Black artists, creatives and professionals, we know that this is only the starting point, but what a great way to begin.”

Up to 160 leaders from regional arts and cultural organisations have already shown their support along with sign-ups in principle from Belgrade Theatre Coventry, Birmingham Hippodrome, Birmingham Opera Company, Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Black Arts Forum CIC, C & T, Culture Central, Handsworth Creative CIC, Open Theatre, Stan’s Cafe, Strictly Arts Theatre and Yugen Arts.

By signing up to the pledge, organisations promise as they rebuild following the pandemic commit to ensuring equity, investment in, and opportunities with and for Black artists and creatives.

Key supporters of the pledge: (top) Doreen Foster, director, Warwick Arts Centre, and below, Corey Campbell, director of artistic programme Belgrade Theatre Coventry

The pledge resulted from five months of collaborative work by a working group including Doreen Foster (director, Warwick Arts Centre), Corey Campbell, (director of artistic programme Belgrade Theatre Coventry & co-artistic director, Strictly Arts Theatre), Chris Sudworth (Birmingham Hippodrome), Amit Sharma & Rachael Thomas (Birmingham REP) and Richard Willacy (Birmingham Opera Compan). It outlines four key points:

  • Take radical action now
  • Create opportunities across the sector at all levels
  • Create an anti-racist culture where Black people can thrive and fulfil their potential
  • Be accountable for the change, along with principles and actions to be implemented across organisations

This work will become the blueprint in the quest for the arts and culture sector in the West Midlands in addressing structural and systemic inequality. To see the research, full pledge and info about how to sign up, go to culturecentral.co.uk/MTAM

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