Anti-Racism Statement

Applied Arts Scotland SCIO (AAS) is an organisation ‘run by makers for makers’ to nurture the creative heart and soul of making practice. We want and need to ensure equality, diversity and inclusion lies at the heart of everything we do to create opportunities for creative and professional development that support sustainable livelihoods for makers across the craft sector in Scotland and internationally.

We stand with Black Lives Matter. We commit to listening to and learning from the lived experiences of black, indigenous, people of colour (BIPOC) makers, in order to understand the ways in which existing structures in the UK perpetuate white supremacy and to identify ways to replace these. We share the anger that systems exist in the craft sector – or anywhere – that present barriers against BIPOC makers.

Making is universal; the act of making is a place of sanctuary, of learning and of resistance. Making is accessible to all, and its organisations should be too. We want to find and overcome barriers to participation at AAS and across the craft sector. We will be transparent about the places and ways where we’re making headway doing this and those where we still have work to do.

We have an Equal Opportunities & Diversity Policy in place, but we recognise that this alone is not enough – we need more radical action to represent BIPOC makers within our community, as well as makers who are unfairly disadvantaged in other ways. We will undertake sustained work and consistent action to help achieve this.

As well as listening to makers’ experiences, we’re going to look closely at what we do, how we do it and why we do it to underpin actions for change. We accept this may be uncomfortable for ourselves and our members. With care, honest critique and by challenging ourselves to act, we’re prepared for change.

To begin with, we’ll look at:

  • Who we currently reach and represent.
  • How we define our membership criteria.
  • How we talk about and advertise our membership.
  • How we talk about and recruit board members from our membership and beyond.
  • How we write and advertise opportunities.
  • How we organise and deliver our events.
  • How we curate and present our online content.
  • The lens through which our stories are told.
  • Who we partner with.

The actions we take are detailed in our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan, a live document that will evolve as we learn. We’re doing this to root out any and all structural discrimination within Applied Arts Scotland, and ensure that we truly are inclusive and welcoming to all. We ask that our current and future members and wider community hold us to account.

‘Run by makers for makers’, AAS is a charity with a voluntary board of trustees who are makers. Our action is collective and we invite you to take action with us.

Image: Black Lives Matter banner by self taught fibre artist Frieda Strachan for Tethered, a project declaring Scottish links to slavery in Aberdeen & Aberdeenshire. Photo: Frieda Strachan.

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