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Theatres join forces with Inc Arts UK for the launch of Unlock’s anti-racism tool kit for the arts

Published 14 April 2021

Today sees the launch of Unlock, which has been created by Inc Arts UK in collaboration with leaders across the creative sector. Unlock offers organisations a choice of over 100 suggestions and pieces of advice to help bring their anti-racist commitments to life in arts workplaces.

Theatre, dance, music, festivals, museums, galleries, outdoor and combined arts organisations, including National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company, Cambridge Junction, and Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, have already signed up to the cross-sector interactive tool for measuring anti-racist progress in the creative and cultural sector

Collaboration Unlock is the first UK-wide, cross-sector commitment to anti-racism that can be charted through specific and measurable actions, and over time. Through signing up online at www.incartsunlock.co.uk, participants become part of a long-term, joined-up and sector-wide commitment to collaboratively embed anti-racist practices in the arts and cultural sector.


Unlock is being launched under the campaign hashtag #100ActionsAgainstRacism in reference to the more than 100 actions suggested in the Unlock toolkit. Suggestions in the toolkit range from how to diversify leadership, through to diversifying procurement and hiring, and relate to both the on-and off-stage workforce.

Confidential – and free

The free-to-use programme is entirely confidential and allows organisations to set their own time and pace – and will build a longitudinal picture of the positive changes being made in the sector. Unlock has been created by Inc Arts UK by gathering the recommendations, demands and suggestions of those most affected by racism in the arts sector, and turning them into practical, measurable actions for use. The launch is being supported by a series of open space conversations for all organisations working with Unlock, for any questions they may have.

The dates of the Unlock Clinics are: 30 April at 12-2pm, 7 May at 12-2pm, 14 May at 12-2pm. Organisations can sign up to these sessions via Eventbrite here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/inc-arts-unlock-clinic-tickets-150695264593

Quotes from the industry

“Inc Arts UK presented the Speak Listen Reset Heal Conference in 2020 in partnership with SOLT and UK Theatre. The evaluation report will be available soon and includes a summary of the conference and the issues covered. The practical actions Inc Arts proposed in Session 3 of the conference are now here in Unlock, and they are a useful additional tool for the sector as it continues its journey of understanding and embedding anti-racist practice into its recovery planning.” – Julian Bird, Chief Executive Society of London Theatre & UK Theatre

“We welcome this practical resource and toolkit which will undoubtedly be a strong force in supporting the industry in its work towards antiracism” – Lisa Burger, Executive Director, National Theatre

“The RSC has an ongoing commitment to making the changes needed to become an effectively anti-racist and anti-discriminatory organisation. We support the launch of Unlock and will be working with the toolkit alongside other frameworks as part of Making a Difference, our ongoing Equality, Diversity and Inclusion work across the organisation. We hope others in the sector also adopt Unlock to help make lasting change.”– Gregory Doran, Artistic Director, Royal Shakespeare Company

“Inc Arts have given our industry a gift; the gift of learning and understanding. Unlock is a map that invites us all to at least begin the journey towards the change that is so desperately needed but cannot be done alone. Unlock is timely, necessary and deeply humbling.” – Michelle Terry, Artistic Director, Shakespeare’s Globe

“I really welcome the launch of Inc Arts ‘Unlock’. This is going to be an invaluable resource for our industry to support organisations to make genuine and long-lasting change. At the Lyric we are committed to implementing and using ‘Unlock’ to ensure greater inclusivity and diversity within our theatre. Thank you to Inc Arts for this work, we are so happy to be working with them.” – Rachel O’Riordan, Artistic Director, Lyric Hammersmith Theatre

“Creu Cymru are really pleased to see the development of Inc Arts Unlock. I believe this is a vital tool to aid people in the sector as they move to improve equality and diversity within their organisations, their staff, audiences, participants and wider community. This will give organisations manageable actions moving forward. I hope that it will also be of use to everyone developing their own Cultural Contracts. We are happy to support this project and look forward to working with Inc Arts to roll out in Wales.” – Louise Miles-Payne, Director, Creu Cymru

“This is amazing! Inc Arts has been working across the sector to establish a workable, anti-racist toolkit so that real, tangible change can be both supported and measured. We know that institutions can be immobilised by the fear of getting things wrong, and individuals can feel uninformed and inexperienced when considering organisational change, this toolkit is here to help people achieve these changes, holistically and with confidence.” – Matthew Xia, Artistic Director – Actors Touring Company

“Inc Arts Unlock is an actionable way forward for the arts and cultural sector to make the urgent change that is needed. For those who say racism is too big and they don’t know where to begin, now Unlock is here, there really is no excuse to make immediate action happen.” – Alix Harris, Beyond Face Theatre, Plymouth

“Chichester Festival Theatre wholeheartedly endorses Unlock, a constructive, robust and rigorous anti-racism toolkit. Thank you to IncArts for supporting us to make meaningful change in our industry and spurring our own ambition to make our theatre equal and inclusive for everyone.” – Lydia Cassidy, Chichester Festival Theatre

“Inc Arts Unlock is a beautifully practical, effective tool to help those of us wanting to take our anti-racism policies and practices forwards. It allows us to think about what’s possible, to set targets and timetables for the improvements we can make and, in doing so, encourages us to push ourselves further than we might originally have envisaged.” – Caroline Routh, Executive Director & Joint Chief Executive, Stephen

Joseph Theatre, Scarborough “Inc Arts Unlock is a brilliant toolkit that provides producers and organisations with practical ways to advance diversity and make for a more inclusive work place. Organisations can set targets for specific actions and hold themselves accountable in order to improve policies and outcomes in recruiting, in the workplace, and in our future leadership.”– Patrick Gracey, Olivier Award-winning theatrical producer (Good, Leopoldsadt, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof)

Click here to find out more about Unlock.


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