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EDI Strategy & Action Plan

A photo of the barbican centre by the lake, and the tower block building in the background with groups of people standing.

Our Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy

We’re working on becoming a more diverse and inclusive organisation, spurred on in part by the publication of Barbican Stories in 2021, but more fundamentally as part of our new chapter as an organisation. We’re clear that we want to be a place where everyone belongs, a place of fairness and equity; and to be an organisation that reflects the diversity of our community. We also recognise that it is necessary for us to do this work well in order for us to achieve the ambitious plans we have for the Barbican as a whole. 

Although work has begun on our EDI agenda, we acknowledge that there is still much to be done. Updates on our EDI work are published every 6 months on our website. 

Strategy overview 

We finalised our new EDI strategy in February 2023. It will help us to change our culture through an organisational development and change programme that embeds EDI into everything we do. This approach will allow us to create sustainable, systemic change within the Barbican and, we hope, beyond. 

The strategy and associated action plans were designed in partnership with people who have a full spectrum of experiences including those with lived experience of oppression, our Diversity Networks and key stakeholders. They take into account feedback from over half of the Barbican team, plus several commissioned reports and expert advice. 

The strategy uses an EDI maturity matrix and competency framework to ensure that we’re focusing on the action areas that will make the greatest contribution to change. A key focus of the strategy is to empower and enable our own staff to deliver on the EDI agenda – identifying actions and tracking progress – ensuring that EDI is part of everybody’s role, and to helping build a truly inclusive culture.   

Our strategy uses a monitoring and evaluation framework to identify actions and monitor progress against targets. Alongside our new Audience Strategy, our EDI Strategy will help us to increase and diversify our audiences and make sure that our work engages with and responds to the world we live in. 

We’re also working in partnership with our Diversity Networks to create two ‘strand’-specific EDI action plans, including an anti-racism action plan, and a full strategic review of wellbeing, mental health, and reasonable adjustments for the entire organisation.  

EDI Action Plan

Lakeside Terrace

Inclusive leadership and line management

We’ll define inclusive leadership competencies and embed them in our recruitment processes, training and performance reviews. Line managers and teams will have specific EDI targets depending on their role. 

Our actions:

  • Embed inclusivity into brand and tone of voice  
  • Clarify line manager responsibilities on EDI and build into learning and recruitment  
  • Define and develop inclusive leadership competencies  
  • Embed EDI into objective setting  
  • Raise profile as a visible and credible EDI presence in the wider sector  
  • Role model responsible procurement  
  • Standardise EDI experience for leadership & management recruitment  
Barbican Foyer

Empowered and collaborative teams

We’ll create team specific EDI action plans in collaboration with our EDI team and Diversity Networks. EDI standards will be embedded into contracts with our artistic and business partners. 

Our actions:

  • Development plan for Diversity Networks  
  • Create effective and inclusive governance for EDI and more widely  
  • Embed EDI standards into contracts with partners  
  • Increase inclusive decision-making  
  • Co-design team-based EDI action plans, with supporting resource  
Silk Street entrance

Data and analytics

We’ll use diversity data to inform decision making and support us in achieving our targets. Data will be collected through staff and audience data, regular surveys and tracking the impact of EDI training. This data will be transparent and available to our staff. We’ll also publish this externally where appropriate.  

Our actions:

  • Greater detail & transparency in EDI data analysis  
  • Inclusion measures in people & pulse surveys  
  • Increase use of equality analysis & human-centred design  
  • Raise EDI data completion rates  
  • Set EDI targets for monitoring & evaluation  
  • Use EDI data to inform decisions  
  • Track, monitor and target Zero-tolerance issues  
Barbican Foyer

A strategic approach to audiences

Our EDI strategy will support our ongoing work in developing our Audience Strategy. We will set audience and programming EDI goals through a more inclusive programme and a greater emphasis on audience experience. 

Our actions:

  • Become more audience-centred and audience-informed in decision-making  
  • Develop an Audience Strategy focused on increasing and diversifying audiences 
  • Develop inclusive programming practices  
  • Create a fully comprehensive accessibility offer across the centre 
  • Incorporate EDI aspects of the Barbican’s Creative Vision into the Audience Strategy  
  • Introduce audience and programme EDI goals  
Sculpture Court

Informing the people agenda

We’re reviewing and improving our policies and processes, including recruitment and promotion. Work is also underway to provide an enhanced mental health and wellbeing offer.

Our actions:

  • Collaboratively design and deliver an anti-racism action plan with the Global Majority Network  
  • Increase consistency and transparency in talent and promotion decisions   
  • Efficient use of people & pulse surveys to build more inclusive team cultures  
  • Provide an effective reasonable adjustment package  
  • Provide an enhanced mental health and wellbeing offer  
  • Review & adapt our recruitment processes to reduce bias  
Barbican Conservatory

Learning and development

We’re redesigning our staff induction process to include EDI learning, and creating an EDI curriculum to develop core competencies such as understanding privilege, oppression, and allyship. 

Our actions:

  • Design and deliver bespoke team-level EDI learning programmes   
  • Introduce EDI coaching and inclusive leadership development  
  • Design and embed an EDI curriculum  
  • Introduce mental Health, wellbeing, tailored adjustments and access training  
  • Introduce micro-behaviours training  
  • Redesign EDI induction  
  • Reverse mentoring programme  
  • Continue rolling out zero tolerance training