Our Anti-Racism Commitment
Our leadership team and staff share a joint commitment to prioritising the wellbeing of Black people and people in the Global Majority at the Young Vic. We are working together to create a culture of care for all, but especially those with lived experience of racism, and we commit to holding each other accountable for building and maintaining this culture. We believe that making the Young Vic an anti-racist organisation, and a place where racism is not tolerated, makes the culture better for everyone.
The Language We Use and Why
We believe that language is important and empowering. Where possible we are as specific as possible with our language, and avoid defaulting to umbrella terms or making assumptions about people’s identity or experience.
When we can’t be specific, we say ‘Black people and people in the Global Majority’ instead of phrases like 'Person of Colour' and 'BAME'. This is because the term ‘Black people and people in the Global Majority’ does not centre whiteness, and is also factually true - over 80% of the world’s population make up the Global Majority.
On The Journey
Between 2020 and 2022 we collaborated with the What If Experiment (previously Sour Lemons) to acknowledge the impact that racism had had on our staff in the past, take action to prevent this from happening in the future, and work to achieve greater racial equity among our staff and artists.
In 2020 the Young Vic held a listening session with Black and Global Majority staff to understand the specificity of experiences. We’re hugely grateful for their testimonies, which have directly informed the practices that we’ve put in place to uphold an anti-racist culture.
We still have a long way to go in creating a Young Vic where Anti-racism is a part of the daily work and culture – and we recognise that this work doesn’t have an end point, but will involve cycles of listening and responding to our artists, staff, and communities. However two years after embarking on this journey, we are now in a place where we are able to activate change across these areas -
- We have created seven Young Vic values. These values were created through a series of workshops run across the organisation and they reflect the shared beliefs and commitments of Young Vic staff, which make the Young Vic what it is today. By articulating what the Young Vic stands for, we can better hold ourselves and each other to account when these values aren’t being upheld – for example through racist behaviours or microaggressions.
- We have created a set of Values in Practice for different groups of people at the Young Vic – including staff, artists, participants and audiences. These Values in Practice are similar to codes of conduct. They outline how our shared Young Vic values should show up in practice, in our behaviour and the way we treat other people at the Young Vic. You can see our audience values in practice on our What To Expect page.
- In order to have a usable system for holding one another to account with radical generosity, when Young Vic values aren’t being upheld, we have created a set of Accountability Flowcharts to sit alongside our Values in Practice. These flowcharts give people options to respond to problematic experiences: to Call In, Call Out or Call On; or to speak to signposted members of senior staff. The flowcharts also talk about taking care of yourself and colleagues after an incident.
- We have updated our Grievance Procedure so that it is in line with our newly created Young Vic values, and have taken the opportunity to design a procedure that is more people-centred, and usable.
- We have set up Anti-racism Action Groups across the organisation. We recognise that the work of embedding anti-racist practices has to sit with white senior leadership, and have set up a group led by white identifying senior leaders to embed anti-racism within our decision-making, policies & culture. We also hold a weekly meeting for colleagues who are Black or from the Global Majority to come together, share and support each other.
- We have set up Town Halls which happen every 3 months. These are mornings where all Young Vic staff come together as a full team, and have lunch together. The Town Halls are a space for staff at all levels of the organisation to share progress on our Anti-racism work, ask questions and give feedback.
These are the next priorities for our Anti-racism work:
- Putting in place induction processes for new Young Vic staff, in order to introduce them to the Young Vic’s anti-racism work, signpost the different action groups and support spaces that they can join, and give in-depth anti-racism training.
- Work with the recently appointed Head of People role to ensure that anti-racist practice and equity sit at the heart of our culture and policies.
- The What If Experiment will run their next session of Anti-racism training with new white Young Vic staff in early 2023.
We will continue to update this page as we reach new milestones.