Tackling racism, tackling inequalities – AIM launches inequalities response and action plan

Prompted by the Black Lives Matter protests that followed the killing of George Floyd and the sector statement of intent it and others within the sector signed on tackling racism, AIM is taking a new, proactive approach to address its responsibilities in tackling the inequalities that persist within its own organisation and across the wider independent museum sector.  

From words to action  

AIM Director, Emma Chaplin:   

AIM has for some time looked to deliver projects to address issues of racism and wider inequalities found in the museum sector but, to be truthful, that work has had little impact. This new approach will lead us to challenge ourselves to understand why change has not happened and support our members to do the same.  

We also recognise that inequalities can overlap; disadvantage or discrimination calls for an inclusive, intersectional approach to make meaningful impact. Our three phased approach lookto turn words into action and includes work here at AIM, the launch of a new AIM Hallmark on Tackling Inequalities and a grant to support related projects coming later this month too. 

This is just the start – we will look to work with partners and members with relevant expertise and lived experience to ensure that both AIM and its members are well informed and challenged to change and improve.  

Alongside the valuable input we have already had from several sector organisations, we welcome opening this important discussion with our members.” 

On the launch of the Tackling Inequalities Hallmark, Margaret Harrison, AIM Programmes Manager added

“We want to support museums to make positive change to address inequalities. This could be through changes to their organisation and taking advantage of their unique opportunity to use and develop their collections to highlight discrimination, identify and address missing perspectives and encourage debate and discussion. 

Through our new Tackling Inequalities Hallmark, AIM will work with sector partners to help members identify and address relevant areas of their work, and we’ll tailor programmes and resources to support them. “ 

Inequalities Response and Action Plan  

Guiding Principles 

  • AIM’s work must be informed by a wider range of voices and perspectives from diverse backgrounds at Board level, in the staff team, and through the grant panels and contractors we work with.  
  • We must challenge and support AIM members to be inclusive, understand where inequalities occur and proactively address them.  
  • AIM will seek to understand and provide the support and advocacy required by museum and heritage organisations that represent the narratives of those that have historically been excluded or marginalised in existing museums or their collections. 

Implementation Phase 1  

  1. Board recruitment 

At its meeting on 22nd Jul 2020 the AIM Board committed to proactively seeking new Board members who can bring additional and diverse perspectives to inform strategic decision making. Recruitment will be completed by early 2021. 

2. New AIM Hallmark: Tackling Inequality

The AIM Hallmarks of Prospering Museums will be expanded to include a Tackling Inequality Hallmark to emphasise that museums have a responsibility to review their own practices and be proactive in their engagement with collections and visitors. Find out more about the new Hallmark here>> 

3. AIM Hallmark Grants 2020

The 2020 grant round for this £60,000 fund will invite applications that support the aims of the new Tackling Inequality Hallmark. Applications will open in mid-October 2020, closing 31 January 2021. Awards will be made in March 2021. 

Phase 2   

  1. Commission an internal diversity audit of AIM’s ways of working, policies, plans and programmes. 
  2. By January 2021 we will review and put out open calls for panel membership and recruitment of contractors to ensure a wider range of voices and perspectives support AIM’s work programmes. 
  3. Trustees, staff, and new and renewing members of AIM will be asked to sign up to a new AIM Values Statement, which will include a commitment to tackling inequality. 
  4. We will expect recipients of AIM grants to demonstrate alignment with AIM’s Values Statement and a commitment to tackling inequality. 

Phase 3  

We are currently working through the Development Phase of our National Lottery Heritage Fund ‘New stories new audiences’ grant programme.  If the Delivery Phase application is successful from mid-2021 this new grant programme will further challenge and support smaller museums in AIM’s membership to use and develop their heritage and collections to tell new stories, work with new groups to attract new visitors and develop new partnerships to address historic inequalities. You can read more about this here>>

AIM extends its warm thanks to the sector organisations that have contributed to the development of this plan and are committed to its success. For more information on this work do contact us on info@aim-museums.co.uk