About us

The Diversity in Heritage Group is a professional network founded in 2009 which champions practice in diversity and equality, audience development, social justice, community engagement, and participation.

We bring practitioners, policy makers and academics together to develop practice to enable the arts and cultural heritage sectors to better serve, represent and participate with, all parts of society.

As of April 2017, DHG is piloting a new way of supporting the sector.

Our focus

We focus on:

  • Network: Creating a vibrant, professional network that develops practice, encourages collaboration and forms a UK wide dialogue.
  • Resources: Providing easy access to resources to enable learning, effectiveness and efficiency in our jobs.
  • Practice: Defining terms of reference for our practice and describing our methodologies. This includes a lot of debate, reflection and critiquing of our practice.
  • Research: Bridging the gap between practice and academia, so that practitioners are informed by research but also influence the research agenda.

Our ethos and interests

Two women admire a portrait in an historic building © English HeritageWhere we see that DHGs special combination of expertise can make a difference we develop initiatives that benefit the cultural sectors.

We are interested in every aspect of equalities, diversity and social justice. There is much work to do. Where others are making an impact we try not to duplicate. We would rather join forces or signpost to relevant organisations.

DHG doesn’t pretend be an oracle on every field of practice we represent. But with the incredible range of expertise and experience among our membership and networks, we should be your first port of call. We are active change makers and we are committed to helping those who share our values.

We have identified many areas of special interest including issues around social class, organisational change and defining our practice. If you are interested in these, or any other topics related to our goals, please get in touch.

Our history

Mr Ilyas Mohammad Raja with his family's C18th Kashmiri Qur'an © Courtesy of Surrey History CentreIn the summer of 2009, a group of practitioners met to advise the Mayor of London’s Heritage Diversity Taskforce on diversifying heritage audiences. The discussions were lively and stimulating and we found ourselves in contact with each other between meetings.

During our meetings we identified some sector wide challenges; when the sub-committees duties drew to a close we felt emboldened to tackle some of those challenges together, rather than just talk about them. So we continued to meet;  Tracy-Ann Smith and Lucie Amos undertook the running of the group.

We were encouraged and supported by the taskforce chairs Helen Weinstein and Prakash Daswani and we attracted other invaluable members and endorsements.

Our group began to grow. Now we were in virtual contact with hundreds of professionals around the UK who share an interest in broadening access to heritage in all sorts of ways.

DHG bucks the trend. We were born at the end of a decade of pro-diversity policy and ample funding opportunities. Yet we continue to exist in todays new political and economic environment and we are still growing. Reassuringly, the appetite for progress on social justice, diversity, equalities and the desire to become more relevant and engaged with audiences and communities remains strong for many organisations and individuals.

Our structure and people

Girls walking on stilts at Chorleywood College for Girls with little or no sight (now New College Worcester). © New College WorcesterDHG has been a voluntary group since we formed. We rotate venues, taking turns to host, chair and take notes at meetings and events. The day to day running of the group is largely voluntary and everyone pitches in.

DHG receives project funding from time to time. But the much of the work is currently sustained through the volunteered time of members and the forward thinking organisations that support them to contribute.

Everyone takes a role at some point or another be it hosting, minute taking, project advising or one off tasks. Some people have on-going roles such as:

  • Network Lead Tracy – Ann Smith
  • Head of London Programme – Poppy Szaybo
  • London Programme Support – Nicole Jowett
  • Membership - Eleanor Lanyon
  • Research Links – Kalliope Fouskei
  • Website – Alis Templeton
  • HE offer – Tola Dabiri & Kate Barbour
  • Treasurer – Maria Bojanowska

If you are interested in helping out please contact us.