(Edited version, Nov 2023)
Art Walk Projects is a contemporary arts organisation based in Portobello, a coastal suburb of Edinburgh 3 miles east of the city centre. We work collaboratively with artists and communities to create experimental, ambitious environmental art projects embedded in place and local ecologies involving the North coast of Edinburgh.
History & Background:
Portobello was developed from the late 18th century as a seaside resort and industrial town, with many of its industries including pleasure industries closingin the 1970s. The ethnic mix is similar to Edinburgh as a whole, with a predominantly white Scottish and other European population plus a small Asian community. A strong sense of community and of community action occupy the area giving it its own unique identity and individuality away from the city centre. With an ever growing population of 34,000 (in the last five years there has been a population boom of 12.9% largely the result of new housing developments on post industrial land to the west of Portobello).
Operating across Portobello and neighbouring areas of Craigmillar, Niddrie and Musselburgh, we work in areas with higher than average levels of poverty, including a lack of cultural capital which means many people feel that ‘arts’ events are not accessible to them. The 2011 Census reported that 26.5% of Portobello/Craigmillar residents live in low income households compared with 22% for the city as a whole.
We work with a wide cross-section of the community to engage with the arts and creative processes regardless of background adopting methods that reduce barriers to access.
Art Walk Projects is committed to the widest possible involvement and inclusion in our activities through all parts of our programme including our staff, board, volunteers, audience and participants, as well as the artists we work with.
Art Walk Projects is committed to actively promoting equality, diversity and inclusion for all: users, audiences, workers, prospective workers, members and directors, and opposes all forms of unlawful or unfair discrimination.
We recognise the aim of the Equality Act 2010 is to ‘harmonise discrimination law and to strengthen the law to support progress on equality. It replaces and extends the existing equality legislation on race, disability and gender and covers a total of 9 ‘protected characteristics’.
Religion or belief
Pregnancy and maternity
Marriage and civil partnership (with regard to eliminating unlawful discrimination in
Every possible step will be taken to ensure that individuals are treated equally and fairly and that decisions on recruitment, selection, development and programming are based solely on objective criteria.
Statement of intent:
Art Walk Projects strives to take an equitable approach to all aspects of the delivery of its artistic programme and the development of the organisation. The organisation will endeavour to take account of the complexity of difference, widen access and wherever possible provide an equal experience for audiences. In addition we seek to engage those who have previously felt excluded from contemporary art. We recognise that the arts are both the manifestation of culture as well as the means of communication of cultural knowledge. We will encourage debate; foster an environment where questions can be asked and voices heard.
When programming we consider the importance of developing a culturally diverse audience and work to develop a programme of events and projects that widen access to all individuals i.e. people with disabilities, people with learning difficulties, people from low income households, people from different cultures, ethnic and linguistic backgrounds. We will continue to research and develop different approaches to making work with artists and audiences, one that is accessible to all.
- We will ensure all board members are aware of EDI priorities by discussing and updating this policy document with members on a regular basis.
- We will encourage a greater mix of diversity, and a range of protected characteristics are represented within appointed board and staff members.
- We will ensure our board is accessible and approachable to staff and artists by publicising who are members of board are, and arranging meetings for each to meet.
- We will enable board members and staff to have 1-1 meetings.
- We will commence a system of staff annual reviews that address ways to increase the culture of the organisation.
- We will continue to value equality, diversity and inclusion in all our recruitment processes, ensuring we reach a diverse pool of applicants by advertising widely, encouraging applications from those under represented in the arts, and using equality monitoring forms.
- We will ensure that we accommodate access needs during the recruitment process and as a workplace, making adjustments where needed to ensure that working with us is accessible to all. We will offer flexible working arrangements where needed.
- We will involve all levels of staff in conversations about social priorities for our ongoing programme together with reasoning for this and impact aims, and arrange training for staff where appropriate.
- We will implement all principles of Fair Work, and ensure that through Effective Voice everyone we work with can contribute to the organisation and programme equally and feel respected and valued in the organisation. We have a Fair Work Policy which sets out our commitments in this area.
- We are committed to developing programmes that involve many subjects around protected characteristics, working with artists and audiences with lived experiences of these issues.
- We will continue to work with relevant partners, groups, and individuals to ensure our programme is informed by and responds to the needs of our audiences, and we will monitor and evaluate our engagement with these audiences to ensure we are meeting their needs.
- We will continue to platform and elevate the voices and experiences of those who are under-represented in the arts, and work actively to address and reduce barriers to their participation.
- We will always look to work with new artists where we can, so as to avoid cliches, and to ensure a sense of openness and inclusivity exists. However, we will balance this against providing time for some artists to explore longer projects where that is appropriate, ie embedded community projects
- We will ensure there are multiple ways of accessing our programme including digital and paper based methods, also being aware of multilingual approaches where appropriate. We will programme an increased number of online events across the year.
- We will reduce any physical barriers that might exist viewing or attending exhibitions/events, so that these can be overcome.
- We will investigate providing access funds that help with costs that might impinge people feeling they can attend events, such as help with care worker costs, transport, translation fees.
- We will implement visual descriptions for all new commissions of film based work.
- We will ensure there are multiple ways of accessing our programme including digital and paper based methods, also being aware of multilingual approaches where appropriate.