City sets out training scheme in response to Barbican Centre discrimination inquiry

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Staff at the Barbican Centre will be given anti-discrimination training after allegations of racism and bullying.

The City of London Corporation, which runs the Barbican, has launched a plan to tackle racism and all types of discrimination at the centre.

The Corporation asked law firm Lewis Silkin to investigate the arts centre in July, following allegations of discrimination.

The firm interviewed 35 people, with 121 allegations made about a lack of diversity at the centre and low levels of confidence in HR and management about the way complaints are handled.

A report by lawyers says complaints were made about “stereotypical assumptions about race”, “bullying behaviour”, and “belittling of women of colour’s achievements”.

A statement from the City of London says staff at the Barbican will undergo anti-discrimination training to teach them about “equal opportunities, anti-racism, and how to be an ally”.

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It adds: “Management will ensure the Barbican Centre is an open and welcoming environment for all staff by elevating under-represented voices across the organisation and making bespoke mental health support available for people of colour.”

Tom Sleigh, Chair of the City of London Corporation’s Barbican Centre Board said: “This investigation makes tough reading. All of us want the Barbican Centre to be a truly diverse and inclusive organisation.

“Racism and discrimination have no place in the Barbican Centre or anywhere else in our society.

“So, on behalf of the entire Barbican Centre Board, I apologise to any member of staff, both former and current, who has experienced this unacceptable behaviour.

“We now take additional decisive action to build a culture in which staff feel confident, valued and respected, and where there is zero-tolerance of all forms of discrimination.”

The Barbican Centre Board will consider the City of London’s action plan in response.

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