On 5 December 2018 120 practitioners and academics from cultural and higher education organisations and sector bodies nationally gathered at the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester to explore how, by working together, we can develop the diverse workforce our sectors need to thrive. See here for the event programme and list of participating organisations.

Nina Bhagwat, Off-Screen Diversity Executive at Channel 4, and Professor Kate Pahl from Manchester Metropolitan University, challenged participants to talk, think and act collaboratively with the aim of strengthening the cultural workforce through diversity.

Their keynotes explored models for recruitment and retention within and outside our sectors; frameworks for increasing access to skills development; and the value of co-acquisition of the knowledge needed to create a diverse workplace.

See Kate’s presentation slides here. See Nina’s presentation slides here.

We heard from Katie Jones and Lauren Goldsby, former students at Manchester School of Art. Frustrated by a design industry that is lacking in ethnic and racial diversity they have created FRESH, a movement aims to do something about it. We also heard from from early-career practitioners Andy Yates from Open Eye Gallery in Liverpool, and Francesca Russo from Opera North.

Delegates had the opportunity to discuss emerging questions, to share experience and to explore potential action through market place conversations.  See the schedule of discussions here.

It was a lively and dynamic event with peers from diverse arts and heritage organisations, universities and sector bodies from across the North and beyond, who share a commitment to working together to build a more resilient cultural sector.