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INCLUSIVITY POLICY

AUGUST 2020

Alchemy Film & Arts’ core aims are to champion experimental film and artists’ moving image; to work to the benefit of the unique communities we engage; and to contribute to cultural conversations on a local, regional, national and international scale. Across each of these aims, Alchemy’s objectives include: widening accessibility and inclusion; challenging access barriers; enhancing social wellbeing; advocating, platforming and representing a range of artists; creating positive working environments; and developing practices that are responsive to issues of equality and equity.

Alchemy Film & Arts’ current core audience spans Borders-based participants and filmmakers, and film enthusiasts and creative practitioners across national and international networks. This Inclusivity Policy details Alchemy’s commitment to the widest possible involvement, inclusion and representation in its programming and production, across all sections of its work, acknowledging the importance of its workers, Trustees, volunteers, audiences, participants, and the artists and creative professionals with whom it works.

This Inclusivity Policy outlines:

  • Who we are
  • Our commitment to representation, inclusion and social justice
  • Addressing barriers
  • Our action plan

WHO WE ARE
Alchemy Film & Arts is a cultural organisation invested in film as a means of generating discussion, strengthening community, and stimulating creative thought.
We bring the highest quality experimental film to Hawick and the Scottish Borders, celebrating artistic excellence through a diverse range of year-round events – including community filmmaking opportunities, screenings, exhibitions, commissions, residencies and an internationally renowned annual film festival.

Alchemy Film & Arts is a registered Scottish Charity: SC042142.


OUR COMMITMENT TO REPRESENTATION, INCLUSION AND SOCIAL JUSTICE
At Alchemy Film & Arts we have an organisational duty to eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation and other conduct prohibited by the Equality Act 2010; to advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not; and foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.

We are committed to these duties, and also motivated by our vision and values which detail an active role in global movements towards social justice; conversations around culture, participation and inclusion; implementing methods that enhance social wellbeing; and developing regenerative practices that contribute to equity and equality.

A surge in awareness and available resources surrounding social justice has been witnessed in 2020, with a pandemic that has exposed and exacerbated global inequalities, and through the escalation of antiracist struggle and the Black Lives Matter movement. Our team is personally and professionally committed to a continuous development of learning and resource sharing, working towards an evaluation and implementation of better, more inclusive methods of addressing and challenging systems of oppression, inequality and injustice. Cultural organisations such as Alchemy, with platforms, programmes and commissioning potential have key roles to play in the current moment and we recognise that this work is never complete.

At Alchemy Film & Arts, we aim to develop and implement positive and inclusive practices throughout our programming and production activities that improve representation in the arts and creative sector, encourage diverse audiences unimpeded by barriers, and create equity of participatory opportunity.

We aim to increase understanding among our team, partners and network peers around what commitment to equality, representation and inclusion means, and offer a variety of perspectives and experiences to our audiences.


ADDRESSING BARRIERS
The Equality Act protects people against discrimination, detailing nine protected characteristics: age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, marriage and civil partnership, and pregnancy and maternity. We also ensure that we continuously consider socioeconomic deprivation and rural isolation as particular inclusion barriers to our geographic region.

At Alchemy we consistently develop and evaluate programming and production methods which aim to widen inclusion and representation – across our team, Trustees, partners, audiences, participants, and the artists we work with – of individuals with lived experiences of disability, lived experiences of LGBTQ+ issues, lived experiences as people of colour, individuals of low-income, and individuals across a variety of age ranges.

In 2018, Alchemy Film & Arts undertook a dedicated period of research to consider inclusion barriers from an international perspective and in the case of our local region, the Scottish Borders. Since then we have maintained an up to date database of partners and specialists who work directly with individuals who work with or for underrepresented groups.

We have partnered with LGBTQ+ equality groups, disability support and befriending services, antiracist initiatives, youth initiatives, religious groups and spiritual centres. Our programmes and policies are created with the inputs, experiences and expertise of these stakeholders and partnering groups. We develop our programme and production methods alongside this research and expertise to deliver events which fully consider barriers and ways to be more inclusive from inception through production.

We have equal opportunities monitoring in place to ensure our workers, audiences, partners and the artists we platform encompass a range of perspectives and experiences, and we evaluate our progress quarterly at board meetings.

In addition to creating equal opportunities for inclusion and identifying and addressing the barriers faced by existing and potential team members, audiences, artists and partners, Alchemy is also invested in progressing the sector and highlighting the importance of a creative programme that represents a broad range of experiences and representation.


OUR ACTION PLAN
Each year we develop an Equalities, Diversities and Inclusion Action Plan which details up to date research on inclusivity, representation and access barriers globally and in the Scottish Borders, ways we are tackling barriers of inclusion, and annual progress and findings.

Our yearly Action Plan includes aims and targets surrounding commitments and strategies towards the delivery of long-term strategic outcomes in line with this Inclusivity Policy:

VISION AND VALUES

  • Wider representation, across our team, board and partners, of individuals with lived experiences of disability and/or lived experiences of LGBTQ+ issues and/or lived experiences as people of colour.
  • Develop and implement antiracist policies and practices in all aspects of programming and production.
  • Maintain a commitment to meaningful, quality and deliverable events which are clear to access, affordable, engaging, widely representative and conducive to critical discussion.
  • Consistently evaluate access barriers and the social impact of Alchemy Film & Arts.
  • Develop more efficient methods of equalities monitoring.
  • Deploy and maximise equalities monitoring to improve representation across programming and participation.
  • Regular equalities training for our team, combined with internal learning and resource sharing.
  • Advance awareness and understanding of equalities and inclusion within our team and board.

LEARNING AND ENGAGEMENT

  • Continue and expand our work with partners and participants in areas of multiple deprivation in Hawick.
  • Develop key partnerships with Borders-based organisations working with and for underrepresented groups.
  • Create opportunities, such as digital skills development, for people affected by socioeconomic deprivation.
  • Provide meaningful volunteering opportunities addressing inclusion barriers and offering skills development and solutions to rural isolation.
  • Further awareness and understanding of equalities and inclusion among audiences and the creative sector.
  • Attract a wider age range of participants and audiences engaged in our programme.

FEES AND PAYMENTS

  • Improve and maintain fair payment to artists, curators, facilitators and contractors, taking guidance from Scottish Artist Union.
  • Maintain ticket prices at low cost or free entry.
  • Freeze festival entry fees.
  • Continue to offer fee waivers to ensure festival is affordable to all.

ACCESS AND RESOURCES

  • Ensure digital and in-person events are clear to access and that they cultivate a safe and inclusive environment.
  • Ensure all in-person events are accessible for wheelchair users and people with other mobility issues.
  • Increase investment in accessibility support, such as captioning and audio description.
  • Continue to produce engaging programmes to audiences for free or at low cost.