Equity and Inclusion Policy
Independent Dance (ID) champions dance as a significant and extraordinary art form.
Dance has the capacity to communicate the complexity of human thought, feeling and sensation through the language of movement. The role of dance and dance artists within contemporary culture should be valued, celebrated, and strengthened.
We recognise that different characteristics intersect in any individual person and that plural identities co-exist in individuals. We recognise that underprivilege and under-representation in the arts often works in a layered, intersecting way across race, gender, socio-economic class, neurodiversity and dis/ability. Taking this intersectional approach, we value differing and multiple identities equally. Rather than working with a notion of including difference into a perceived ‘centre’, our approach aims to recognise meeting points where different ideas, people and practices can intersect through reciprocal valuing and sharing of new ideas and positions.
ID strives to be future-thinking, inclusive, anti-racist, and environmentally sustainable, working proactively towards positive change and justice both within ID and the wider arts field. We recognise the positive values of diversity, promote equality and challenge all forms of discrimination. We seek to create a safe and inclusive environment for everyone involved in our work. Our aim is to model systems of transparency and equity, collaboration, and exchange at every level of the organisation, working towards positive change incrementally within ID. We also advocate for positive change to redress inequities and working conditions in the wider dance field, through involvement in nationwide networks.
One of ID’s strengths as an organisation stems from its grounding in somatic and embodied approaches to dance. In somatic practices, learning new movement skills comes through attending to what movement feels like, rather than by imitating an ideal or proscribed form. This means that ID’s work is not based on a normative view of the human body, and actively enables disabled artists with different physical and sensory modalities to work as an equal participant in a safe environment. This is in keeping with the social model of disability which ID subscribes to.
We strongly value collaboration, working in partnership with artists across wide-ranging dance and movement backgrounds, other organisations, and specialists from other disciplines to increase diversity of influence and practice. A culture of active listening to and being responsive to individuals is embedded in our programming, recruitment, management, governance, communications, and development practices, and reflects a positive and creative approach to inclusion. As an employer, we are working to implement systems to attract and retain a diverse staff, Board and freelance workforce and to ensure a positive working environment for all. We feel it is important to recognize that meaningful and long-lasting change can only be achieved through an approach which demonstrates real care and attention to detail across a whole organization. With this in mind, we are reviewing the scope of our programme plans in order to resist over-production and to provide a safe and welcoming environment for everyone involved.
Our ethos is to develop trusting, meaningful relationships in all spheres of our work, which is by necessity a process/journey. In the spirit of this, we welcome feedback in how we can do this better.
Equality Act 2010
ID is an employer, a provider of services, a member of numerous communities and a purchaser of goods and services. Within this context, the organisation does not make any assumptions about the physical, social or cultural background, or other protected characteristics of its audiences, service users, actual or potential employees, collaborating artists, partners or service/goods providers.
We recognise protected characteristics as being: race, ethnicity, gender, or gender reassignment, marital status, parenthood, age, class or socio-economic status, sexual orientation, disability, religion or belief.
With due regard to the Equality Act 2010, Independent Dance is committed to:
- the elimination of unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation and other conduct prohibited by the Act by ensuring that that no potential or actual employee, freelance contractor, recipient of the organisation’s services or participant in the organisation’s activity, receives less favourable treatment on the grounds of any protected characteristic, or is disadvantaged by conditions or requirements which cannot be shown to be justifiable
- advancement of equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not by ensuring the widest possible access to the organisation’s artistic work, as well as its facilities and services and within its workforce, ensuring that selection criteria and procedures for recruiting new employees, freelancers or participants in the organisation’s activity be such that individuals are selected and treated on the basis of their relative merits and abilities.
Our commitments in 2022 – 2024
This includes actions and commitments in the specific areas of artistic programming, participation and audiences; staff and board recruitment, development and retention; training, communications and accountability.
Artistic Programme and Participation: commitments and priorities
We recognise the necessity for artistic practice to lead the way in redressing systemic injustices. One way ID does this is to shift representation of who is leading artistic activity, in turn shifting perceptions and orientations and facilitating a diversification of those attending as participants and audience members. ID’s ongoing programme Intersectional Dance Practices actively develops relationships with people and practices which were historically under-represented in our programme, offering paid leadership roles across all strands of activity. In 2022/23, we commit to continuing to expand the breadth of dance and movement forms offered through our learning programme, to continually questioning the histories and legacies of the forms we are supporting through a culture of listening and proactivity, to working with all artists, participants and partners in a fair, equitable and ethical way, and to advocating for positive change in the wider dance field through active membership of peer networks including Moving for Change and UK Dance Network.
Staff and Board recruitment, development, and retention: commitments and priorities
We acknowledge that ID’s staff and Board is currently majority white and that whileID’s Board is highly skilled, the membership doesn’t yet fully reflect the communities, artists and audiences that the organisation serves. Board development and diversification is a key priority for us in 2022/3 and beyond. To support this transition, the co-directors and trustees will have training in inclusive approaches to recruiting and retaining board members from an external consultant with lived experience of marginalisation. Incoming Trustees will be supported by outgoing Trustees through a buddy system. We commit to interviewing anyone identifying as under-represented if they meet the basic application criteria for any permanent/fixed term staff roles.
We recognise that training is an ongoing process and that our working methods need to be continually reviewed and updated to ensure best practice. We commit to training being delivered, wherever possible, by people who have lived experience and expertise in any defined area of systemic inequality. We also commit to sharing new knowledges and information about good practice among the staff, Trustees and artists we employ to lead areas of the programme.
Communications: commitments and priorities
We commit to continually monitoring language with the aim to use plain English and avoid gendered language and assumptions, to ensuring artists’ material is appropriately credited and used and to sharing examples of good practice across the organisation and via networks. We commit to transparency and strive to maintain openness and respond to all enquiries from artists and publics.
We commit to reviewing progress year-on-year in our annual reporting and through qualitative and quantitative data gathering and discussion. With the support of the Board, ID’s co-directors lead on the ongoing development and implementation of this Equity and Inclusion policy and related commitments together with a detailed Equity and Inclusion Action Plan. Progress is monitored by the Board on a quarterly basis and the policy, commitments and plan are reviewed and updated annually.
How ID works with artists and partners
ID values and nurtures leadership by artists. The collaborative interactions that happen when we work with freelancers and individuals, be they artists, teachers, technicians or consultants have been essential to ID’s approach throughout our near-40 year history. We work with a sense of porosity, where there can be listening and exchange between individual initiatives and organisational structures. Our programme is a fluid combination of responding to initiatives and approaches from artists in the field, and ID’s own proposals and curiosities which fit our remit to provide public benefit. As a result there are many different ways in which we work with artists and other organisations. For a list of artists we have worked with to date, please see here.
In a spirit of transparency, here is more information on how to approach ID for those who would like to :
Proposals to teach Morning Classes or Monday Night Improvisation either in the building or online can be directed initially to firstname.lastname@example.org, describing the practice you want to share, and why you think ID might be a good context for you. Please bear in mind that we have a pool of nearly 100 artists that currently lead classes and we run classes for 30 weeks a year. Within these we encourage a supportive community of practice-sharing and discourse, hence all programmed artists get free access to all other classes in the season they are teaching in.
Workshops at ID tend to be led by artists we invite from an international field. We are always interested in finding out about artists and practices which are new to us and to hearing suggestions for who to invite.
Research Space is a more tailored initiative through which we collaborate to run participatory activity. Research spaces are often a mix of private research and public labs, showings and talks. They take various forms, and may form part of an artist’s larger project or funding bid. We work to co-create an appropriate delivery and financial model that both the artist and ID are able to manage.
We also engage in longer term research initiatives and are open to suggestions for new ones.
Please note that ID does not currently have core budgets that can support commissioning or residencies. As an organisation with core funding of £70k a year, our programme has to generate income in order to cover its costs unless we are able to raise project-specific funds. ID is resident at Siobhan Davies Studios as a tenant/partner paying for subsidized studio and office space, and has no access to free studio time.
Our commitment is that anyone who approaches ID with an idea or proposal to either email@example.com or to the co-directors will get a response. Our ability to respond quickly and our openness to new things depends on what else is going on at the time or is coming up, whether we can achieve it well within our resources, and whether we think we can reach the right audiences to make the idea viable. If you don’t get a response immediately please bear with us.
To see a list of artists we have worked with please see here.
Partnerships and networks
ID is happy to be an active member of UK Dance Network, One Dance UK and Moving for Change network.
Partnership working is integral to ID’s ethos and enables us to learn through and with colleagues and to work more expansively. ID is partner in an ACE-funded NPO with Siobhan Davies Studios, which Siobhan Davies Studios leads on.
In recent years ID worked with project-funded organisations, artist-led initiatives, larger-scale NPOs and academic institutions. ID also forms a rare bridge between professional and academic spheres through delivering MA Creative Practice at SDS and through delivering a number of HE-oriented research projects.
Partners since 2019 have included Contemporary Dance and Whiteness project, TanzFabrik Berlin, Tanzquartier Vienna, Candoco, Sadler’s Wells, Trinity Laban, Fest en Fest, Dance HE, C-DaRE Coventry University, Centre for Performance Philosophy University of Surrey, Theatre Dance and Performance Training Journal, Dance HE, CPR-Center for Performance Research (New York), Dance North, University of Roehampton, Middlesex University, Groundwork Pro, The Workroom, Siobhan Davies Studios. If you are interested in discussing a potential partnership, please get in touch.
Environmental Responsibility Policy
Protecting the environment is vital for the conservation of precious natural resources and the continued health and survival of our planet. Independent Dance recognises its responsibility to protect the environment and is continually working to reduce the environmental impact of the work we do across our operations and programme. We commit to supporting work which raises awareness of the climate emergency and to doing all we can as an organisation to reduce and limit our negative impact on the environment.
Independent Dance is based at Siobhan Davies Studios (SDS). As a resident organisation, we comply with and fully support SDS building and environmental policies.
With specific regard to Independent Dance’s own environmental responsibility policy, we aim to raise awareness and promote discussion on environmental issues directly through our work and through supporting practices which focus on environmental awareness and the relationship between the human body and the planet.
We also aim to reduce any negative impact on the environment in the following ways:
- Reduce, reuse and recycle whenever and wherever we can
- Ensure products and services are sourced from local suppliers and via sustainable processes
- Ensure energy and water consumption are as efficient as possible
- Reduce data storage
- Encourage those attending our programme to travel by foot, bike and public transport
- Use trains within the UK and whenever possible between the UK and Europe
- Partner with other organisations to maximise any long-distance travel
- Encourage artists we collaborate with to consider carbon footprint in project planning
- Practice ethical fundraising; we don’t seek or accept funds from sources which damage the environment
This policy is supported by ID staff and Trustees and by our Environmental Champion, who is a member of staff. It is reviewed annually at Board level.