We believe that Hidden Door is for everyone. Sounds simple, right? Well actually, no…
We are acutely aware of the many barriers that stop people getting involved with our organisation or attending our events. Those barriers are not there by design, but we must work to remove them.
As a volunteer-run organisation, we know that people make Hidden Door. We only exist because of the wonderful volunteers that have given their time so generously over the years, and we have worked hard to create an inclusive, welcoming environment for people to join in. But we want and need to go further.
The Equality Act talks about “protected characteristics”. These include: age; disability; gender reassignment; marriage and civil partnership; pregnancy and maternity; race; religion or belief; sex and sexual orientation. We have a legal and moral duty to avoid discriminating against anyone based on these things.
But beyond that, we also want to be an ally to and take positive action to help people who are discriminated against, at a disadvantage, who have particular needs, or who are under-represented in the arts.
Over the years we have been working hard on this – it’s core to what drives us.
Outreach projects and free ticket initiatives have helped us connect with and welcome people through our doors who would never normally have attended an arts festival. We’ve had dementia-friendly film screenings, community workshops and local partnerships. But that’s not enough.
Sign language and audio described tours, ramps and disabled toilets, accessibility guides and free entry for carers have all helped us to welcome individuals with additional needs. We’ve featured wonderful work by disabled artists and commissioned powerful performances exploring disability, depression and discrimination. But that’s not enough.
Inclusive marketing, designed to appeal to diverse communities and demonstrate that we have something to offer everyone, have helped us reach new audiences. Surveys and evaluation have helped us understand both our contributors and audiences, to better target and tackle under-representation. But that’s not enough.
Our programming has proactively sought to address inequality, representation and diversity, in particular through our festival music and performance programme strands. This has included all female and BAME line ups and headliners, and LGBTQ+ theatre and film. But that’s not enough
There is more we can and must do to be better – to become more inclusive and strive towards equity for all.
Since becoming a charity in 2020 and officially establishing a board, we have been able to formalise a lot of our ambitions in this area. We are reviewing all areas of our organisation and developing an Equal Opportunities Policy which sets out our pledge to:
Specifically, we have committed to:
We are also working on an Equality Impact Assessment process which will help us spot potential issues and make necessary adjustments in how we recruit our team and volunteers, invite and programme content, design our venues, promote our events and work with the community at large. We will also monitor how we deliver our commitments through regular evaluation and by gathering feedback.
We have learned so much over the years, from conversations, advice and feedback from our wonderful collaborators and volunteers. And we will keep learning so please do get in touch if you want to help us.