A Message from The Principal: Black Lives MatterMon 8 June 2020
Dear Trinity Laban community,
Over the past week, many of you have asked me to expand upon Trinity Laban’s response to the global Black Lives Matter protests. I have taken some time, and a lot of thought, to come back to you on this. I wanted to be certain that we could offer a committed route to real change.
As we have already stated, at Trinity Laban we believe – unequivocally – that Black lives matter. But we also recognise that to uphold that belief, and to truly stand in solidarity with our Black staff, students and alumni at this time and at all times, we have significant work to do. Over the past week I have sat with many uncomfortable and difficult feelings as, with my senior team, we have begun to unpick what needs to be done.
Racism is not a matter of freedom of speech. It is an abhorrent form of discrimination that sits outside of political opinion. Black people have the same human rights as white people, and yet through the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and countless others, we see clearly how these rights are denied. We see clearly that so many of the structures and institutions on which all humans rely are set up to give an advantage to some people over others.
In order for Trinity Laban to uphold our core belief in equality, we have to first admit that we too – as an institution and as a collective of humans – need to examine and alter our structures, in order to dismantle the inequality within them. In order for us to meaningfully celebrate, encourage and ensure diversity in our art forms, we need to make it easier and safer for Black and other minority ethnicity voices to be heard.
My belief is that as an Institution, our actions should speak louder than our words. Here are my commitments:
- Within the next fortnight, a facilitated cross-faculty meeting with our Black students and alumni so that we can listen to their experiences of racism and white privilege at Trinity Laban. To register your interest, email my team.
- Within the next fortnight, we will create a space for students and alumni to anonymously log their experiences of micro aggressions and racism at Trinity Laban
- This term, I am taking over the executive lead of the Equality, Diversity and Access committee, which I will reformulate to increase its effectiveness, with meetings to include a standing item on Black student experience
- Next term, facilitated discussion meetings with staff and students to support a shared responsibility for changing TL
- Next term, Anti-racism training for staff and students, with a schedule for regularly refreshing training
- Next academic year, a review of our Music, Dance and Musical Theatre curriculums, including performance programmes
- Next term, a review of staff recruitment practices
- Already underway, a critical review of our Access and Participation plan
- As soon as possible, a public action plan, reviewed annually
- As soon as possible, Board of Governors meetings to include a standing item to hold leadership to account
I hope that, as a member of the Trinity Laban community, you will join me in this work. This work is essential. Together, we must make Trinity Laban better and safer, and we must make it equal.
Thank you to those of you who have had the bravery and compassion for your peers to speak out in the past week, and for the patience and respect you have shown me as you await a response.
I will personally drive this work forward.
Professor Anthony Bowne, Principal