First Aid Kit

Quick fix for big problems

Do you need help right now? Where to start? How to convince your team? Find quick answers to big challenges in the section below. These are situations that have been encountered frequently.

Frequently encountered situations

What easy first steps can I take to make a change?

There are so many different ways to start. We made a list of 25 direct actions that you take using the Diversci framework.

 

Strategy:

  • Take a walk through your neighbourhood and note the associations, shops, housing, public services, parks, sporting facilities or organisations that you see. Next, map out possible partners and consider organisations different from ones you might have worked with in the past, such as community centres, social work organisations, nursing homes, libraries or even gyms.
  • Identify events or activities organised by organisations/groups in your neighbourhood and participate if you can. If possible, spend time with (potential) partners to get to know them. Really listen to what they have to say about their community’s needs, concerns and strengths.
  • Find a ‘critical friend’ for your organisation. For example, they could give feedback on a new workshop, on your organisation’s accessibility or on any part of your activities that you feel should make space for new voices. It is important, though, to manage expectations, so that if a partner has given time and ideas, they know how much of their input can be realistically implemented.
  • Be involved in your community. Participate on neighbourhood committees, or partnership meetings organised by your town, if they exist. These kinds of activities can help you become involved and visible in local events and are also good opportunities just to get to know your future partners.
  • Identify a project or initiative where the skills and knowledge needed to deliver it are not held within your organisation. Then, take a look at your partners’ map and consider which one (or ones) are likely to have the skills and knowledge you need. Reach out to them about a possible partnership – ideally with resources to support their commitment.

 Staff:

  • Talk to your colleagues. Find out who is already passionate about diversity, equity, inclusion and access, and who is interested in finding out more. Look to different departments and invite them to an initial, informal meeting to start your grassroots working group.
  • Design and send out a demographic survey across your organisation to find out about the diversity of your team. This blog post is a good place to start as it includes 10 guiding principles to follow when designing your survey.
  • Organise a staff training event, such as a talk or a workshop. Choose a relevant topic and aim to raise awareness and open up conversations with colleagues. See if one of your community partners can provide training and try to ensure that senior members or your organisation, and ideally all departments, are represented at the meeting.
  • Organise an advisory group. Identify partner organisations from your local community who have aligned missions or are interested in your work. Look for community movers and shakers, influencers, leaders or gate-keepers. An initial activity could be to involve them in the creation process of a new programme or exhibition. Ideally they will eventually become involved regularly in decision making across your organisation.
  • Find new channels to advertise and promote your job openings, such as local newspapers, social media boards, local radio etc. that work for your community. Organise job fairs in the heart of the communities where you want to engage potential staff and volunteers (for example community centres, schools, markets or religious organisations). What channels and meeting places could you choose?

Content:

  • If you are new to the subject, take part in a workshop or join a network like DiverSci to develop your awareness and start building a supportive professional network.
  • Form a working group on equity, diversity and inclusion with like-minded colleagues to build your understanding of what it means for content and design and how to integrate it into existing or new projects. To maintain this reflection going, you could create a ‘journal club’: read a book or an article, watch a documentary, listen to a podcast together and reflect on the equity, diversity and inclusion themes the materials address.
  • If a gallery or special exhibition cannot be redesigned, you could use facilitation or pop-up interventions in the space to make it more inclusive and accessible. Use these interventions as experiments to learn for future projects.
  • Initiate research into the origins of any objects in your collection or used in your space whose provenance is unknown and may have been obtained unethically. Even if obtained ethically, you could find out more about objects’ history that may help you interpret it more carefully from a diversity, equity and inclusion perspective.
  • Form a Community Council and get to know the needs, interests and strengths of the members and their organisations. Integrate them into the content development process. Listen to their ideas and feedback on ideas. Have them review draft content and test prototypes. Plan participation and the development of inclusive content and design realistically into the schedule from the start.

Access:

  • Visit an event or space which is designed for a community with specific accessibility requirements. Look at the adjustments in place and think about how these requirements are met (or not) in your organisation. What can you start to change?
  • Check out the book The Art of Relevance by Nina Simon. This book will give you food for thought about how to open your doors to new audiences. Encourage colleagues to read it too and share your thoughts.
  • Hold listening sessions with groups and communities who do and don’t attend your activities. Identify what does and doesn’t work for them. Consider inviting an external facilitator for these sessions and sharing the findings with your board.
  • Create or update an accessibility page on your website. While your institution may not be as accessible as it could be for some, describing adaptations on your website reflects your efforts and intentions and can mean a lot in terms of emotional accessibility and feeling seen.
  • Include key people (e.g. gatekeepers or advocates) from communities with access requirements in an advisory group. Schedule quarterly meetings with them and consult them during the creation process of new programmes and exhibits. Take actions from their input and make sure there is someone senior from your own organisation at these meetings.

Partnerships:

  • Take a walk through your neighbourhood and note the associations, shops, housing, public services, parks, sporting facilities or organisations that you see. Next, map out possible partners and consider organisations different from ones you might have worked with in the past, such as community centres, social work organisations, nursing homes, libraries or even gyms.
  • Identify events or activities organised by organisations/groups in your neighbourhood and participate if you can. If possible, spend time with (potential) partners to get to know them. Really listen to what they have to say about their community’s needs, concerns and strengths.
  • Find a ‘critical friend’ for your organisation. For example, they could give feedback on a new workshop, on your organisation’s accessibility or on any part of your activities that you feel should make space for new voices. It is important, though, to manage expectations, so that if a partner has given time and ideas, they know how much of their input can be realistically implemented.
  • Be involved in your community. Participate on neighbourhood committees, or partnership meetings organised by your town, if they exist. These kinds of activities can help you become involved and visible in local events and are also good opportunities just to get to know your future partners.
  • Identify a project or initiative where the skills and knowledge needed to deliver it are not held within your organisation. Then, take a look at your partners’ map and consider which one (or ones) are likely to have the skills and knowledge you need. Reach out to them about a possible partnership – ideally with resources to support their commitment.

I am new to this and not sure what everything means exactly.

Don’t worry, it is great that you are interested and open to new information. Take a look at our Key Principles page for the basics, or take a look at the ‘Step 1’ section at our Resources page. Don’t be afraid to ask or to make mistakes. No one knows it all when it comes to Diversity, Equity, Access and Inclusion, but together we can learn from each others. Join Our Community on practice!

I am the only one thinking about accessibility and/or inclusion in my organisation: how do I share this responsibility with all or the majority of the team ?

The best way to involve all your colleagues is creating committees and mini-projects. Driving these initiatives needs a lot of people to be involved if there are to succeed. Also think of a way in which every department can contribute to becoming diverse and inclusive, both internally and externally. This is a great strategy, because doing this work alone could burn people out. Be mindful of the time commitment and champion for the payment of extra hours.

Among the staff the word 'diversity' has different meanings: how do we build up a common vocabulary?

This is a crucial step on the journey. Our Key Principles page is a good place to start your conversation.You can invite an external facilitator, or identify someone in your organisation who could lead a 90-minute to 2-hour workshop on vocabulary and terms. Focus on how diversity, equity, access and inclusion would look, feel, and sound like in your organisation, i.e. how are these concepts are perceived in practice, rather than as a term in a glossary or dictionary?

We have no budget to work across equity, inclusivity and diversity: How expensive is it?

Implementing equitable and inclusive practice does not necessarily mean expensive changes. Small changes can make the difference without changing the cost of the final product, exhibition, activity, etc. Changes in the colours of images or the size and fonts of text, figures and examples can readily promote Access and will not affect your budget! Also identifying costly exclusive practice will help you know where to reallocate money.

Equity, Inclusion and Diversity is often merely considered as "accessibility". How to overcome this bias? What to do?

Accessibility is a great entry point: multilingual labels, ramps, braille, special hours for families with autistic children, among other practices. Challenge your colleagues on thinking what else you can do to diversify your audience, and staff in terms of: race, ethnicity, age, neighbourhood, gender, sexual orientation. Review Dr. Crenshaw's intersectionality theory. Accessibility is a great entry point: multilingual labels, ramps, braille, special hours for families with autistic children (among other practices) can challenge your colleagues on thinking what else you can do to diversify your audience and staff in terms of race, ethnicity, age, neighbourhood, gender or sexual orientation.

Did you not find an answer to your situation in our First Aid Kit?

Join the conversation on our Linkedin community.

On Linkedin you can find our community, talk to like-minded people, share resources and ask questions.

Join us

Read stories from pioneers who where able to make a change.

The beginning is always the hardest. Where to start? To whom should I speak? Find out how others approached these subjects.

Pioneer stories