Without Walls is a consortium of festivals and organisations dedicated to raising the profile of the UK outdoor arts sector, promoting artistic excellence and supporting innovative new work for the benefit of artists and audiences.
Without Walls brings together artists, promoters and commissioners to make high-quality multi-arts outdoor shows – from the intimate to the epic – that tour to festivals across the UK and beyond. The consortium nurtures talent and skills by researching, developing, commissioning and touring new work, enhancing the growth of the sector, and reaching large audiences, many new to the arts.
Over its first 10 years, 16% of shows have been made by BAME artists and 11% led by Deaf and Disabled artists. Reflecting a continuing championing of diverse work, the Vision of Without Walls embeds this commitment:
Without Walls raises the artistic bar of UK outdoor arts ever higher, the diverse work it creates being recognised for innovation and wonder across the UK and overseas.
Recent research has indicated that over three million people across the length and breadth of the UK have attended Without Walls consortium festivals over the past three years, with 430,000 having seen work commissioned by the consortium. The diversity of this audience is embedded in the Mission of Without Walls:
Without Walls leads excellence in outdoor arts through the creation of inspirational new work – from the intimate to the epic – of the highest quality by UK artists, touring this work to reach large, diverse and new audiences across the country
The Without Walls Business Plan for 2018-22 outlines six Aims in support of this Vision and Mission, many of which directly support the consortium’s commitment to equality and diversity. SMART objectives ensure work is supported through R&D, commissioned and made by artists from protected characteristics each year, with a specific focus on developing work by artists from South Asian backgrounds; annual strategic placements will be offered to BAME and D&D professionals to increase the diversity, skills and knowledge of the sector; a programme of special initiatives to address strategic sector needs will include an exploration of how improved access can be built into commissions as they are being created; a programme of annual audience development projects will be targeted at audiences in areas of low arts engagement; and practical ways will be explored to enhance marketing collateral to improve the experience of audiences from protected characteristic groups.
Without Walls’ Board of Directors, supported by the XTRAX management team leads on the consortium’s commitment to equality and diversity, and also carefully defines how the consortium can achieve the greatest impact in its approach.
The Board ensures that equality and diversity are fundamentally embedded in the governance and management of the consortium’s work, so energising the selection and confirmation of R&D support, commissioning and touring each year, as outlined in the Business Plan’s Aims and Objectives. The setting and reporting against targets in support of this work programme sit centrally, outlined in full in an Equality Action Plan.
The work the consortium is making is then presented by its festival partners, each of which has its own established policies, plans and broader approaches to equality and diversity. With this consortium model, Without Walls operates in a different way to most other NPOs (including many of its partner festivals). Rather than report on what each member is already reporting individually, the Board has identified the greater value in sharing best practice across its membership, focussing particular attention on members who are less experienced to ensure broad improvements across the full breadth of the consortium.
Equal Opportunities Policy
Without Walls is committed to ensuring that its activities, governance and management practices do not discriminate, directly or indirectly, against any individual, group or community on any of the following grounds: sex, race, colour, nationality, ethnicity, disability, sexuality, transgender, age, class, employment or economic status, HIV status, political or religious belief, marital status or caring responsibilities, unrelated criminal convictions, trade union membership or any other reason relating to social exclusion.
Without Walls strives to combat all forms of discrimination and recognises that every individual has the right to equal treatment, equal respect and equal access to its activities and employment opportunities.
Working with its festival partners, Without Walls strives to ensure that its artistic programme is as fully accessible as possible to all members of the public in the varied communities in which the work is presented.
In its governance and management, including recruitment practices and industry-facing activities, Without Walls strives to be as fully accessible as possible and actively seeks and welcomes the participation and involvement of the different stakeholders and communities it serves.
Responsibility for implementing and monitoring this Equal Opportunities Policy lies ultimately with the Without Walls Board of Directors, with delegated responsibility given to the Artistic Directorate and the XTRAX management team for its implementation in the day-to-day running of the consortium.
Without Walls’ Board of Directors should reflect the balance and diversity of the communities it serves so that its policies and practices are more likely to be sensitive to the interests and needs of the whole community.
Training, whenever relevant and feasible, is offered to Board members to enable them to discharge their roles and responsibilities effectively.
The Board of Directors identifies one of its members as the consortium’s Creative Case Champion to take on the oversight of this Policy and the Equality Action Plan, and all related issues.
Staff recruitment is undertaken on the basis of ensuring that appointments are made against how well each applicant meets the requirements of the job. The Job Description and Person Specification details these requirements and is, therefore, a key component in ensuring equality of opportunity to employment opportunities. It will specify as precisely as possible the skills, knowledge and experience needed for the job and applicants will be measured against these specific criteria. Reasons for selection and rejection of vacancies will be recorded. Any vacancy advertisements will include an appropriate short statement on equal opportunity.
Without Walls works in partnership with a wide range of organisations. Each partner organisation will be required to adhere to Without Walls’ Equal Opportunities Policy with regard to any activities undertaken or services delivered in partnership with Without Walls. Without Walls seeks to work with partners who actively implement equal opportunities practice in all their activities and service provision.
If any service is contracted out to another organisation as part of the delivery of Without Walls’ activities, the organisation will be required to demonstrate that it has its own equal opportunities policy or to agree to act in accordance with Without Walls’ policy.
Despite flat ground-floor access to the principle workspace, and similar flat access to toilet facilities, the office premises of the XTRAX management team are not completely accessible and the organisation calls upon a range of reasonable adjustments on a case-by-case basis in order to mitigate a number of physical barriers.
Without Walls strives to ensure full accessibility for all its activities and services outside of the office premises. Accessible spaces are used to enable meetings to take place with disabled colleagues and wherever necessary, subject to availability and financial resources, additional facilities such as access to interpreters are provided.
The timing of meetings, events and activities will be considered in relation to the potential attendees to ensure that people with family, care or other commitments are not disadvantaged. Travel costs are provided.
Training will be offered whenever relevant and feasible to staff members in equalities issues. Staff members with particular expertise or experience of equalities issues, practices and policies will be encouraged and enabled to share this expertise/experience through both informal and formal training opportunities with other staff members. If a staff member undertakes training in an equalities area externally, s/he will be asked to share this training (if appropriate) with other members of staff in order to enable all staff to benefit from it, particularly if it is not financially possible for all staff members to attend. All staff members will have access to a copy of the Equal Opportunity Policy, with which they will be expected to comply.
Without Walls strives to ensure that any printed publicity is fully accessible in its presentation with alternative formats available on request. Access details i.e. transport, ramped access, parking, toilets and interpreters are included in the information provided.
Monitoring & Review
Without Walls undertakes to monitor the implementation and effectiveness of its Equal Opportunities Policy on an ongoing basis in order to eliminate unlawful discrimination.
Detailed monitoring data is kept in support of all recruitments, in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1984, so allowing Without Walls to measure applicants and appointees against the local demographic and also to measure any changes over time. Access to this information is strictly protected and Without Walls will maintain records to ensure that this data is used for no other purpose than in support of this Policy.
This policy and the Equality Action Plan will be reviewed on an annual basis by the Board of Directors in conjunction with the Artistic Directorate and the XTRAX management team as appropriate.
Without Walls welcomes feedback from Board members, management team members, Festival partners, other partner organisations, artists and audience members on any aspect of its service provision and management practices. If any such person believes that their rights as set out in this Equal Opportunities Policy have not been adhered to, then they have the right to complain by contacting the XTRAX management team’s Director and/or Programme Manager, or the Independent Executive Chair as appropriate. Beyond their resolution, any such complaints will be reported to the Board of Directors as part of regular management reporting; and this procedure will be clearly communicated to all stakeholder groups via the most relevant communication channels.