Board Diversification: We Are Challenging the Status Quo

A young man of colour and a young woman of colour sit a table. In the background, a screen with a Diverse City logo

75% of Dorset trustees are male, white and over 50 years

Current boards are not representative of the population. Diverse City is delivering training as part of
The Arts Development Company‘s Board Diversification Programme to change this.

This summer, our Joint Artistic Director Claire Hodgson joined forces with Euella Jackson from
Rising Arts Agency.

“In my session, I shared the journey Diverse City took to diversify its board and expand it to 10 trustees. This process coincided with the company expanding from 4 to 14 people and quadrupling its turnover. Bigger is not always better but our expansion has meant that we can have more than one show touring, touring shows for longer, running our youth theatre and delivering training for the industry around inclusion.”

– Claire Hodgson, Diverse City Joint Artistic Director

Together, they delivered a session for current board members and CEOs. Eilís Bevan-Davis, our youth company‘s Artistic Director, ran a workshop for potential new trustees together with our Trustee Dave Young.

It is important with this kind of work to feel safe to challenge and celebrate each other, to share experiences both personally and professionally.

– Eilís Bevan-Davis, Artistic Director

It is time to properly listen to communities in Dorset and put some unexpected people in places of power, to come together and head forward-thinking opportunities for everyone, no matter their age.

– Dave Young, Trustee

Our Impact

The diversity of a decision making group creates cognitive diversity

Companies taking part in the Board Diversification programme include Artsreach, The Lighthouse,
Activate Performing Arts, B-Side Festival, Bridport Museum, B Sharp, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Sherborne Arts Link. This means that the training we are delivering is positively impacting boards all across Dorset.

Participants committed to make significant changes starting now, of which:

  • Taking on at least one new voice to the Board. Some will take up to three.
  • Reimbursing access costs to the new voices (e.g. child care, travel, BSL, support worker)
  • Agreeing on and implementing organisational change plan

Get Involved This Autumn

Do you work in the performing arts? Do you want to improve equality and diversity on stage, off stage and in the audience? Diverse City is offering two Practical Training Courses on October 29th and 30th.

Read more

Photo © Christopher Cardwell