To be clear, Black Lives Matter. To be crystal clear, Site Gallery is an actively anti-racist space.
If that makes you uncomfortable, please stop reading now. Unfollow us across social media – no need to visit us when we reopen. Thank you.
Like the rest of you, we’ve been watching the world demand change. While the process of change can be distressing and difficult, it’s ultimately hopeful and heartening. Something to take solace in. Site Gallery supports the protests – and the learning and the listening that’s been taking place these past weeks. We hope this time that changes are permanent – the safety and livelihoods of Black people is not a trend, a black square on your Instagram feed or a distraction from C19.
Alright, so what do Site Gallery do?
We do the work, to a degree – but we could absolutely do more. We’re not going to tokenistically list all the Black artists, companies and partners we’ve worked with here as a handy checklist that seemingly-absolves us from doing more or doing better. And yes, our Artistic Director Sharna Jackson is one of the few black female directors under 40 in the UK – but this is not her issue – dismantling systemic inequality is a process all of us need to partake in.
How is Site Gallery going to make change?
This is the moment to rebuild and restructure arts organisations – what they look like, how they work, how they benefit all of us. Let’s do that. We welcome the opportunity, and we work with intention.
Below is a live list of the work we have planned. We’re likely to add new initiatives so check back if you are so inclined. Work will be grouped into things we can offer across short, medium and long-term timelines.
- not make Black artists carry the labour for us during this time – the onus is on everyone to learn and respond
- continue to programme Black artists and artists with protected characteristics – never sidelined in their own strands, but part of our main offer
- continue our new Site Salons strand, providing a platform for debate (if you want to work with us on this, reach out we pay £250 for this work)
- create a code of conduct for all of partners to sign up to before any agreement begins.
- work proactively with the cultural sector of Sheffield and partners nationally and internationally to fight racism in all its forms and build a fair cultural sector for the future
- continue to pay our freelancers decent rates and pay them quickly
- continue our commitment to offer our spaces for free to artists and groups with protected characteristics
- offer our support by providing access to our resources, equipment and digital skills
- keep going outside of our gallery to collaborate with under-served communities
- provide unconscious bias training for all staff
- continue to work hard diversifying and developing our board membership
- ensure Black artists and arts professional are part of our evaluation and review process
- evaluate and publish our performance on an annual basis
We ask you to keep listening. Reading. Learning. Keep amplifying, platforming and supporting Black artists. Donating directly to campaigning organisations is brilliant – if you have the means. But most of all, keep this energy up.
Your Silence Will Not Protect You, Audre Lorde
Parable series, Octavia Butler
Kindred, Octavia Butler
Octavia’s Brood, edited by adrienne maree brown and Walidah Imarisha
Ain’t I A Woman: Black Women and Feminism, bell hooks
Me and White Supremacy, Layla F Saad
Black Britain: A Photographic History, Paul Gilroy
Brit(ish): On Race, Identity and Belonging, Afua Hirsch
Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race, Reni Eddo-Lodge
How To Be an Anti Racist, Ibram X. Kendi
People/publications to follow:
Gal-dem magazine: an online and print publication committed to sharing perspectives from women and non-binary people of colour
Bitchmedia: contemporary feminist magazine highlighting Black Women and Women of Colour
ROOT-ed Zine: Independent zine & social platform for North West BAME creatives
Some great lists:
Funds for Black Artists: