Developing Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Commitments

for National Galleries of Scotland

Catalysed by the Black Lives Matter movement, we have strengthened our commitment and ambition to be a visible and proactive player in the shaping of a society that is diverse, tolerant and respectful. We have looked at and beyond our existing work in all areas of equalities, diversity and inclusion, with the aim of creating meaningful change in our approach.

We believe in the power of art to connect us to each other. Our vision is of an inclusive organisation and a national collection which is accessible to all.

We recognise that to achieve this we must demonstrate equality, diversity and inclusion in all that we do. Everyone should feel represented and see themselves reflected in our policies and structures, our people, our audiences and our collection and programme. It is the role of everyone working for NGS to ensure our vision is delivered and maintained.

Our EDI Principles

The following principles will underpin our work as an organisation on equality, diversity and inclusion. We will:

  • Engage with, consult and involve colleagues and trade union representatives, audiences and under-represented groups to ensure informed decision-making
  • Be proactive rather than reactive in identifying and tackling prejudice, bias and barriers in the NGS collection, services and structures
  • Assess and monitor the EDI impact of our policies and decisions, keeping a broad view to ensure we keep pace with changes in society and the world at large
  • Go further than our legal obligations by adopting an anti-racism stance and identifying social and economic barriers to attendance and participation
  • Take individual and collective responsibility to deliver these commitments
  • Recognise EDI work as an integral and crucial element of our decision making and strategic development
  • Work in a way that recognises that the commitments are interconnected and interdependent
  • Work in partnership to deliver these commitments
  • Share our work and learn from feedback we receive 
  • Monitor performance, review what’s working well and what needs to be improved, and report on progress against our commitments

Our legal obligations in relation to equality come from the Public Sector Equality Duty of the Equality Act 2010 which requires us to: eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation; advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not, and; foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not. The protected characteristics are: age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. We must also eliminate unlawful discrimination against someone because of their marriage or civil partnership status.

Find out how we meet our legal equalities obligation

In addition to the characteristics protected in law, our commitments extend to broader definitions of diversity and social inclusion, including those from different socio-economic backgrounds, for example. Unless stated otherwise, we use ‘protected characteristics’ throughout this document as shorthand for this broader definition.

In relation to the purpose of the National Galleries of Scotland (NGS) as set out in the governing legislation (the National Heritage (Scotland) Act 1985) the EDI Commitments support NGS to: promote the public’s enjoyment and understanding of the Fine Arts; and for those purposes to provide education, instruction and advice and to carry out research.

NGS EDI Commitments

The representation of artists and sitters with protected characteristics and those facing disadvantage and inequality will be increased in our collection and programme. The collection and our interpretation will be reviewed through the lens of equality, diversity and inclusion to build research, reveal ignored or overlooked histories and ensure language used in interpretation reflects our EDI commitments.

We will ensure that we are as inclusive as possible and that our communications and programmes represent people who share protected characteristics, and diverse backgrounds and experiences. We will also consult with these audiences to influence our plans and work together to create content.

We will embed EDI into our culture, creating a safe and welcoming environment that is inclusive and equitable for all. Our culture will celebrate and represent the diverse society in which we live and work in, ensuring everyone feels a sense of belonging and can be themselves.

We will assess and balance social, economic and environmental impacts to ensure the decisions we make are fair and truly sustainable.

We will seek to enable all visitors to the Galleries, in person and online, to have a positive experience that is welcoming and inclusive. This will involve looking at how we can break down barriers to attendance and participation, whether perceived or physical.

We will work with external organisations, advisors and stakeholders to further relationships and understand the issues impacting people today, ensuring equalities, diversity and inclusion are central to our planning and decision-making processes.