With everything going on in the world right now, we just wanted to pop by and let you know where we stand amongst it all.
The last few weeks have been eye opening as events have unfolded across the world. Racism exists within our society and within our town, and we're not going to just sit in silence and let it happen. As an inclusive community arts organisation, we cannot fully serve the community in which we exist without supporting the most marginalised voices.
Whilst we are a small community arts organisation, we recognise that we have a responsibility to educate ourselves about equalities issues, including racism. We also have a part to play in sharing that learning with others to ensure those in our community are better equipped to understand and feel confident in challenging racism.
Much of our learning is taking place offline in the format of reading and conversation. Once we feel better equipped to share this knowledge (there is a lot to digest and navigate), we will do so. We will probably make some mistakes along the way but we will hold ourselves accountable, move on, and do better. In the meantime, we encourage you to do your own learning - there's lots of books to read (fiction and non-fiction), and films to watch. Have conversations with your friends and family about racism. It's not easy because it's a really uncomfortable thing to be talking about, but it's too important not to be discussed.
We're also looking at how Creative Strathaven can move forward as an inclusive community organisation. Following the opening of our new space, we are going to be establishing a Voluntary Board and want it to represent a diverse range of voices. When we can host events again, we plan to run regular art classes and reading groups, amongst other things. These will be used as learning opportunity where artists, writers, makers, and creatives of all backgrounds, and ethnicities will be discussed. In addition, we are also considering ways in which the organisation can be used to give Black and marginalised voices a platform.
Creative Strathaven is a place for everyone of all creative abilities, and we want it to be a space where everyone feels safe and welcome. Racism, homophobia, or any other forms of exclusion will not be tolerated. In order to create meaningful and lasting change, the conversation must continue to evolve and develop, and we must continue to learn.
This is much easier said than done but we want you to know that we are working on it and stand with everyone who's on a similar journey, and we welcome any feedback on how we can make our spaces welcoming to and safe for all.