ALRA's Action Plan Against Racism: Update
ALRA’s Action Plan Against Racism – Update as of 7th July 2020
External Audit Panel Members Confirmed
Following the recent reports of systemic racism within the training culture at UK Drama Schools and specific complaints against ALRA, the school has begun to action a plan to face this issue and make permanent and positive change to improve the environment for our Black and minority ethnic students.
One of the first steps has been to commission an external audit of institutionalised racism focusing on three key issues: complaint, curriculum and teaching, and culture.
This audit will work in a deep way with the ALRA community at both campuses, engaging faculty, staff, students and graduates in sustained reflection that shines a light on oppressive policies and practices and develops new policy and teaching that allows the school, and hopefully the industry, to move forward into a future that works constantly to tackle and remove racism.
The audit panel has now been confirmed and the aim is to be completed by December 2020.
External Audit Panel Members:
Chair: Professor Iyiola Solanke
Professor Solanke is Chair in EU Law and Social Justice at the University of Leeds. She completed her PhD on a socio-legal comparative study of anti-racial discrimination law in the UK, Germany and the EU at the Law School, London School of Economics (LSE).
Since 2010 she has been a Visiting Professor at Wake Forest University in the USA, in addition to holding visiting research positions at universities in Australia, Canada and Europe, such as the European University Institute where she was appointed a Fernand Braudel Fellow in 2018 to work on the theory and practice of judiciary diversity in Europe.
Professor Solanke is an Academic Fellow of the Inner Temple and a judicial member of the Valuation Tribunal for England (VTE). In 2013, she founded the Temple Women's Forum North to extend outreach from the Inner Temple to legal professionals in the North East.
In 2017 she also founded the Black Female Professors Forum to identify and make visible black female professors in the UK. In 2018, she was appointed by the provost of UCL to Chair the Inquiry into the History of Eugenics at University College London, which concluded successfully in February 2020 with a range of recommendations which have since been acted upon.
Professor Solanki has published many articles in peer reviewed journals on topics relating to European integration, discrimination and law. She has written three books, the latest being Discrimination As Stigma (Hart 2017).
Empirical Researcher: Dr Katy Sian
Dr Katy Sian is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of York. She completed her PhD in 2009 at the University of Leeds and went on to work on the TOLERACE project as a post-doctoral researcher in the Centre for Ethnicity and Racism Studies.
She moved to the University of Manchester in 2012 as a lecturer before taking up a Hallsworth Research Fellowship in 2013, exploring Sikh and Muslim conflict in the global Sikh diaspora. She has held visiting research posts at universities in the USA, Canada and Portugal. She is an Editorial Board Member of the Race, Ethnicity and Education Journal.
Katy has published a range of articles in peer-reviewed journals on issues around racism and colonialism, inter-ethnic relations, and Islamophobia and the War on Terror. She is the author of four books, the latest being, Navigating Institutional Racism in British Universities (2019). The findings of this book were presented to Members of Parliament and included a collective dialogue on systemic racism in academia.
Katy’s research continues to involve her within conversations across third sector and interfaith organisations. She currently sits on the steering committee of the Northern Police Monitoring Project, which works closely with communities facing police racism and brutality.
Curriculum and Training: Tanya Loretta Dee
Tanya Loretta Dee is a professional actress who trained at the Guildford School of Acting. She is also writing her first play ‘Posters’. Some of her acting credits include: TV – ‘The Line of Beauty’, ‘Law and Order’, the semi-regular character DS Margrave in ‘Doctors’: Theatre – ‘One for the Road’ - Frinton Repertory Theatre, ‘Boots’ - The Bunker Theatre and ‘One Life Stand’ in Paines Plough Roundabout with Middle Child Theatre Company.
Alongside acting she managed a team of tutors and trainers between 2013 and 2016, and has worked for a number of national organisations providing training and support for various groups.
She has delivered strategic sessions around diversity and inclusion, as well as running events for various corporate and community lead companies, including discussion on unconscious bias, implicit bias, gender bias, age, disability, microaggressions, appropriate/changes in language, workplace behaviour, cultural sensitivity and the understanding of privilege and its systems.
Tanya is passionate about taking a holistic approach to creativity and the world of performance, including running creative workshops for marginalised women with Futures Theatre and Coin Street Neighbourhood Centre, online group sessions in mindfulness for creatives, and more recently she has been running alternative forms of protest online in solidarity with Black Lives Matter.
What happens now?
The panel will gather data that will inform robust new processes that deal with ALRA’s internal and external complaints in a transparent manner. This will include an investigation of the culture and processes of the school and the development of a historic complaints procedure.
They will engage in Town Hall Days that draw together the ALRA community and work towards establishing a non-biased set of policies and recommendations around equality and diversity behaviour.
From September to December, the panel will observe and interview students and tutors developing insight to what may be upholding systemic oppression within the academy. A response will be developed that focuses on staff and student training around the themes that emerge in our quest to develop anti-racist practice at ALRA.
The report that follows this will recommend structural changes within the organisation and indicate pathways into a more open, inclusive and thriving culture for ALRA’s community and stakeholders.
Global Majority Working Group
The Global Majority Working Group, ALRA’s representative forum for students of colour, have confirmed they see this external audit as a positive step forward in addressing the concerns that have been raised publicly about their drama school to create a better environment for current and future actors.
ALRA’s Action Plan Against Racism
ALRA’s full plan can be found on the website here and will be the foundation for the way in which the school develops policy and curriculum going forward.
Many of the bullet points within the plan have already been actioned or are in development and ALRA continues to work with current staff, students, graduates and the wider industry to make positive and lasting change.