In response to the Artist Working Group Report (17.05.21)

On 17 May 2021, a call to boycott and defund CFCCA was posted on Instagram by seven artists who were formally engaged for a six-month period (September 2020 – March 2021) as an Artist Working Group, with the remit to work with the organisation to co-design the centre’s Revisioning project. They have also published a report which raises concerns of historic and institutional racism and under representation across the organisation.

The focus for CFCCA’s Revisioning is our commitment to realise a new direction and genuine change. As a process, it is reviewing CFCCA’s model of cultural production to ensure the organisation remains effective and relevant and to set a new course that will define its future. The Artist Working Group’s contribution is integral to CFCCA’s self-reflection, and their views and recommendations are an important part of the process.

There have been a number of pauses and challenges. Most recently, we have paused to recruit a new Chair of Trustees as this is essential to the project’s successful delivery. Historically, we experienced delays as we worked together to unpick the nuances of a genuinely co-designed process, and meanwhile the impact of the pandemic has brought very real challenges to the organisation, as for many others in the sector.

We are listening intently to the criticisms around representation across the organisation and are fully committed to ensuring we work towards being an actively anti-racist and pro-equality organisation. We are reviewing and improving CFCCA’s recruitment procedures and are investigating alternative models of leadership, to address representation within the team at a senior level.

We commissioned an independent Equality and People Management Audit in autumn 2020 as a separate initiative, to provide a rigorous review of our approach. We plan to share its findings and implement its recommendations and are working with Arts Council England to ensure our policies and approaches are robust and equality led.

We recognise that there has been hurt caused. We are concerned and saddened to read of negative experiences from staff and artists. The independent audit process was intended as a space for past and present collaborators to reach out and share, with autonomy and confidentiality, their experiences of working with the organisation.

Finally, we would like to thank all those who have generously shared their time and knowledge with us, including our stakeholders and funders as well as the staff, Board and Artist Working Group.

CFCCA is committed and on the pathway to making change. We will release further updates via the CFCCA website.