Black Lives Matter – update on the Academy’s response

-Posted on 19.06.2020

The Academy’s Principal, Jonathan Freeman-Attwood, has today sent the following statement to staff and students:

‘The Academy community has engaged with the critical issues raised by George Floyd’s death and the Black Lives Matter movement. While many discussions have been difficult and painful, we all acknowledge that they are absolutely essential if we are to make significant progress in our quest to eradicate racial inequality.

‘We also know that the Academy has a long way to go in this area. While we cannot change the past, we can reflect on it, listen hard, and learn. We can also take responsibility, apologise and move towards an action plan which delivers sustainable cultural change. Among various partners, we are working with the Stephen Lawrence Trust to help us to understand the issues better, to improve practically, and to assist in finding the right measures and training which will strengthen our working environment and community.

‘Change of this kind is not going to happen overnight but we urgently want to make a difference and commit to moving ahead with decisive action. We will focus on learning how we can instil the most inclusive values as central to the Academy ethos. While some progress has been made in recent years, we join our sector in knowing that it has not gone anywhere near far enough. We are committed to creating the Academy as a place:

  • which seeks actively to recruit new Black members 
  • where students and staff of colouraretreated fairly and respectfullyat all times
  • where all students are taught by regular and visiting staff from a range of backgrounds, including BAME musicians of high professional distinction 
  • with which BAME alumni are proud to remain associated throughout their lives, long after graduation 

‘We are working on an action plan detailing exactly how we intend to achieve this, and how we can measure progress transparently. All of us – staff, students, alumni, artistic partners and supporters – need to work together to ensure the Academy delivers the transformational change it seeks in this vital area.’

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