Global Majority Working Group
The Global Majority Working Group (GMWG) are a committee formed of students who identify as BAME who work with the faculty at ALRA to enhance their actor training experience. This is done through a co-ordinated, sustained conversation between the board, Senior Leadership and faculty.
The committee will initially meet six times per term for one to two hours per meeting.
The GMWG created a charter of values to support ALRA in developing their anti-racist practice and hold the Senior Leadership and Board of Trustees to account in moving the culture of their drama school forward.
During the 2020 External Audit around anti-racist practice, the Board and GMWG will work closely together to ensure that the policy, procedures and curriculum and teaching are all held to account during this process.
Global Majority Working Group Charter of Values at ALRA:
- Every student has the right to be visible in every aspect of their culture, class and identity
- All staff and students have regular diversity training
- All staff and students foster a culture of openness to criticism on issues around race, gender, sexuality, class and other protected characteristics
- Safe and open spaces are timetabled in the curriculum to expand the views of the ALRA community
- Staff have regular conversations with students about race and ethnicity gaslighting
- Leadership commit to transparency and publish the outcomes of investigations
- Perpetuation of racial stereotypes within the classroom or curriculum must end
- Senior leaders will host regular diversity talks that include reference to how diversity benefits everyone at ALRA and in the wider industry
- ALRA will maintain a clear and anonymous reporting system which is supported and encouraged by faculty
The current Chair of ALRA South Global Majority Working Group is Unique Spencer.
ALRA’s Approach and Aspirations Towards Widening Participation from a Race and Ethnicity Perspective
ALRA has been actively engaged in widening access and participation, helping students of all backgrounds and ages to enter the world of live and recorded arts through various means of outreach.
Recently, ALRA has paused to evaluate on how much work is being done to ensure widening participation when it comes to race and ethnicity and the conclusion is that more work is needed to boost and support diversity and representation in both student and staff bodies. More specifically, ALRA envisions ways that reach out to communities who may not have enough exposure, information or support to take up professional training or explore options to help them get started toward that path. ALRA is committed to taking the strides needed to meet these needs, learning from past experiences and being open to listen to voices from different ethnicities and backgrounds.
To this end, ALRA hired Boundless Talent in February 2020. Boundless Talent are a creative organisation set up to assist and mentor those within minority communities who aspire towards training and an eventual career in the performing arts.
Founder, Devashrie de Silva said:
"Graduating in 2019 with MA in acting, this platform was born out of experiences both positive and negative in my quest for full-time drama training and the road after. Being Sri Lankan with English as my second language, calling the UK my second home and at times feeling even more at home in London pursuing my ultimate passion and calling in life, I had to face numerous hurdles to be able to follow the training I always wanted to.
Proving one’s talent is one, however, overcoming other cultural and social barriers that stand in the way is something that only those coming from minority backgrounds can relate to. When even one from the majority understands and shares solidarity, that is when access and participation becomes an equally possible reality for everyone.
Boundless Talent is very much looking ahead to the practical work plan made in consultation with ALRA’s WP mandate. A few steps at a time, there is hope for a wider cohort to access and benefit from a diversity-friendly curriculum and training."
Here are some action points we have achieved so far as of 7th July 2020:
- Applications for the role of an independent Chairperson for ALRA Global Majority Working Group opened as actioned by ALRA leadership. Candidates were interviewed and Chairperson was appointed in close consultation with ALRA student representatives for the working group. The Chairperson will be responsible for articulating the students’ voice to ALRA leadership and supporting work in relation to diversity, inclusivity and representation
- A comprehensive reading reference list covering work by diverse playwrights/authors/poets was compiled. The aim is for the cannon of scripts used at ALRA to be representative of the student body. (60 new scripts)
- Observing both in-campus and regional auditions, suggestions were made to further develop the criteria for second audition speech that would help embrace/perform diverse work. Observations also called for a diverse panel at auditions. (Consist at least one person of colour). Latter point will be in effect from October 2020.
- Communication has been started with ALRA partner college- Leicester College of Performing Arts regarding possible ways to reach out to sub-communities in Leicester and understanding the student demography for performance courses and using the college’s insight about the multi-cultural city in ALRA outreach work specifically in Leicester
- Other points on our agenda for the medium to long term include:
- Ongoing research work on other high density multi-cultural areas within UK/communities living in the UK who face barriers to drama school, pockets where student intake is low/or not engaged
- Videos will be developed in languages these communities speak, for effective information sharing and arranging parent/student consultations than can happen online
- To curate culture days that will be timetabled as a fix day in the timetable for current students
- Work with ALRA's Social Media and Website Content Manager to develop a page on the ALRA website
- Work with faculty on both campuses to headhunt diverse members of staff for online and offline delivery. Specifically work with course leaders to recruit directors for productions that represent all sectors of society
- Audit plays that have been produced on both sites
- Get involved in production planning with course leaders to research a wide range of materials that support productions that are outside of the white patriarchal system
- Develop a troupe of young females from Asian communities who will receive mentoring to improve access drama school training