Radical changes in cultural institutions are much overdue, but it’s not too late to take action. A first step could be that those in charge begin questioning the absences and under-representations in their boards, staff, exhibition and education programming, collecting and commissioning practices. They could start by not shutting the door when Black creatives seek to engage with them. They should be aware of creative practices from the diversity, and consider them on an equal footing to that of any of their peers, regardless of ethnicity.
As the lockdown has been lifted in Britain and cultural venues are reopening, it remains to be seen if the wave of support for Black lives and creatives will keep its momentum, or if all this will just amount to inconsequential guilt-ridden rhetoric.
Part of me wants to believe that institutions could change. But I also know that change is most likely to happen, first and foremost, through all sorts of independent and collective practices developed by Black creatives beyond institutional frameworks. And that is actually where institutions can branch in, begin new conversations, and engage in a respectful dialogue that could lead to impactful and empowering collaborations.
Maybe then will we begin seeing real change in the crafts, design, and other equally biased creative fields.