Equality & Creative Diversity for Museums & Galleries

How should museums and galleries, frequently concerned with yesterday, respond to the modern equality, diversity and cultural awareness agenda? How should they reach out to those who don’t traditionally visit the exhibits they hold in trust for the benefit of the whole community?

These are some of the very real issues and questions that face museums and galleries in their quest to meet the latest challenges in equality and diversity (E&D) legislation, the code of ethics for museums and the creative case for diversity.

All sections of society need to be encouraged to explore collections for inspiration, learning and enjoyment. Users and supporters of museums and galleries have a right to be consulted and involved in the various programmes offered. Many museums and galleries will want to ensure they carefully research, share and interpret information related to their collections and reflect the diverse views that will be present.

Diverse views and real concern about genuine access for all are likely to arise. There have often been controversial debates in the public glare about censorship, inclusion v sensitive themes, minority exhibitions, audience development, displays of human remains and sponsorships. Museums and galleries need to make sure that they think and plan ahead to ensure that they can manage any adverse publicity and controversy that arises.

This one-day workshops enables participants to explore and understand better the very latest in equality and diversity issues and how they feed in and apply, in terms of good practice, to museums and galleries.

For Whom

The workshop is designed for all staff and volunteers who work for, with, or support museums and galleries. Content and delivery style can be adjusted to accommodate participants at all levels, for example from directors and trustees to visitor facing staff and back office teams.

Aims and Objectives

The workshop provides a good grounding in the legal, demographic, economic and cultural considerations that shape the modern equality agenda. Building on this foundation the workshop reconciles the modern scene with the museums code of ethics, creative diversity and practical ideas on carrying out equality impact analysis exercises for a wide range of day to day activities that are typical to museums and galleries.

  • To raise and/or refresh awareness about key definitions and terms
  • To consider the tangible benefits of good quality E&D policies, procedures and protocols
  • To examine negative attitudes & assumptions sometimes surrounding this subject
  • To attempt to reconcile the Museums Associations Ten Point Ethics Code with the modern Equality and Diversity Agenda and the Arts Councils case for Creative Diversity.
  • To look at the prevailing legislative framework with breaking news and a spotlight on staff and service user responsibilities
  • To carry out a basic Equality/Diversity and Cultural Impact Analysis for a range of typical museum and gallery activities
  • To raise awareness about a range of cultural communication techniques including body language, tone, words and physical proximity
  • To raise the profile of in house equality action plans as well as the suite of policies, procedures and protocols relating to staff and visitors
  • To signpost internal and external information, support and further resources


  1. The Modern E&D Agenda
  • Refresh and/or raise awareness about key definitions for equality and diversity

    • direct & indirect discrimination
    • positive action
    • equality of process and choice
  • Focus on the tangible benefits of good quality “E&D” policies

    • Employment perspective
    • service delivery perspective
  • Raise awareness about the business case for sound equality and diversity policies

    • rainbow currency: the pink, blue, purple, silver and ethnic pounds
    • links to recruitment and retention (staff and visitors)
  • The often incorrect urban myths & assumptions about E&D
  • Four key messages applicable to any organisation
  1. following due process
  2. acting reasonably, practically and proportionately
  3. consulting and involving people
  4. typical responses to dominance

  1. Ethics, Creativity, Equality and Diversity
  • Reconciling the Museums Association 10 Point Code of Ethics, The Arts Councils case for Creative Diversity with the modern Equality and Diversity Agenda
  • Explore key hot topics prevailing around both the code and the modern E&D agenda
  • Good Practice within the museum and galleries sector
  • Small group “case study” which will focus on the 10 point Code of Ethics to determine if there could be any equality/diversity issues to address around five key hot topics:

    • Access
    • Censorship
    • Inclusion v Sensitive Themes
    • Human Remains
    • Sponsorships

  1. See you in court! ? – Rights and Responsibilities for Staff and Service Users
  • Raise and/or refresh awareness about the existing definitions for and scope of the Nine Protected Characteristics in the Equality Act 2010
  • Introduce relatively new concepts including discrimination by association and perception as well as environmental harassment, victimisation and vicarious liability
  • Present the very latest breaking news on the Equality Act and crystal balls on the table about forthcoming changes and the plans of the various political parties
  • Outline briefly the links between the Equality Act and other civil/criminal statutes
  • You the jury – case studies presented by the trainer orally for participant feedback
  1. Equality/Diversity and Cultural Impacts
  • Defining culture
  • Review of the latest and relevant demographic information
  • An example basic equality, diversity and cultural impact analysis around typical day to day activities within a museum or gallery
  • Equality and cultural impact analysis for a participant selected museum activity such as:-

    • Meet and Greet
    • Education Programmes-Tours
    • Providing specific assistance to visitors
    • Literature and/or marketing materials
  1. Communication
  • Cultural communication techniques around body language, tone, words and physical proximity
  • Addressing assertively difficult behaviour
  1. What next

This final session encourages participants to consider what they need to do in their own individual job roles and collectively as an organisation to meet better the latest Equalities legislation and sector standards which they operate under.

Additional Information

A substantive equality and diversity toolkit will also be provided for distribution after the course. This toolkit will:-

  • Provide a glossary of definitions and terms used throughout the course
  • Summarise the main provisions of the Equality Act 2010
  • Carry a range of sample or trigger questions that will assist in carrying out a equality and diversity analysis for any museum activity. These questions cover all the nine Protected Characteristics in the Equality Act
  • Illustrate other cultural communication techniques
  • Identify further internal and external sources of policy, help, information or resources