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September 2009, London

Many thanks to the Department for Culture Media and Sport for hosting our first, official Diversity in Heritage Group Meeting. We heard from the Taking Part team. It is essential for us to access this type of evidence which underpins our work.

At this meeting we also thrashed out the nuts and bolts of who the group was for  – initially we decided to start with museums, galleries, archives, libraries, botanical gardens and heritage sites. (Much later we opened up to the wider arts sector and we work less with libraries as The Network already has many library service members). We also decided that we would try not to knowingly duplicate work of other organisations.

It was acknowledged that diversity means different things to different organisations and the group adopted a broad definition of diversity covering all key areas, including and not restricted to: gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, socio economic background, age, religion and belief.

The group raised important issues around how DHG’s aims and objectives needed to be aligned to their organisations to enable them to participate. Clarity around the aims of the group was essential. Organisational or individual membership was discussed for example, what happens to membership when an individual changes job was raised as an issue needing clarification.

The idea of a one stop shop for current thinking/policy/provision on diversity was highlighted again and there was a discussion on the geographical remit of the group.

We highlighted the numerous roles and responsibilities that needed to be taken forward in the short and medium term. There is much to do!

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