MIF Young People’s Forum member Faz Barber introduces their Manifesto for Change.

Following the Black Lives Matter movement across the world, the MIF Young People’s Forum, a collective of individuals from Greater Manchester aged between 16 and 28, came together to explore how to effect change within the arts sector in Manchester.

The first step was an event that brought together industry leaders and other voices from across the cultural sector in Manchester to celebrate the solidarity shown by the Black community, discuss positive actions that have been taken by business and other organisations, and consider how and where to inspire change.

On 30 July 2020, the Young Peoples Forum hosted A Conversation for Change. The panel talk was attended by 27 representatives of Greater Manchester’s cultural organisations. The mission was simple: to create a space of open dialogue between young Black leaders and large organisations that hold power over the arts sector in order to eradicate any unnecessary barriers based upon systemic racism.

As a response to the conversation, we have put together a manifesto of 10 key points we believe all organisations should adhere to, to ensure they remain an anti-racist organisation, promoting racial equality across all levels, up to and including board level. The aim of the manifesto is to encourage the arts sector to think differently and hold itself to account for all changes that need to be taken into consideration – throughout recruitment processes and general everyday interactions with people from different races – to maintain the workplace as a safe space for everyone. All 10 points have been formulated and refined as a response from ‘A Conversation for Change’, with the aim to make the considerations needed to be an anti-racist organisation as simple and effective as possible.

We hope that the manifesto will be embedded into systemic change and cultures of care of organisations across Greater Manchester with a sector wide commitment to eradicate systemic racism in the workplace and the arts industry as a whole.

A message from John McGrath, MIF's Artistic Director:

“We are proud to share the manifesto developed by MIF’s Young People’s Forum calling for change among cultural organisations. We are committed to our work as an organisation, and as part of the arts sector, to identify and address systemic racism and to highlight the work of artists and communities who are imagining a better world.

Everyone at MIF will be working closely with our Race & Representation Staff Working Group to assess our progress on each point of the Manifesto and plan the next stages of work we need to do.

Many colleagues in the sector have been part of this process with MIF and the Young People’s Forum and we look forward to collaborating widely to support and promote the work of these passionate and pioneering young people.”

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