‘The daughter of Jamaican parents from the Windrush era, I have been a member of NSEAD for almost 25 years and have served two terms as Vice President. This term has proven to be highly significant and deeply personal. Through my lived experience, I speak to this critical issue of anti-racism with an authentic and profoundly reflective voice.
Racism is real. I believe it is experienced in every school, academy, college, and university in this country. The blatant killing of George Floyd in May 2020 for all to witness during a worldwide pandemic, and the subsequent outrage, highlighted the truth that systemic racism threads through societies at every level.
The NSEAD mission since 1888 has been to improve art, craft, and design education for everyone. To be true to this, as a woman of colour, and Vice President, I join with my colleagues in our call to action for all art educators to be actively anti-racist and challenge the current colonial and Euro-centric educational landscape.
Our members asked for ways to understand better and recognise what racism looks like in our subject. Our checklists are just the start of this vital work.’
The ARAEA Group, say:
‘Just over one fifth of children and young people living in the UK are from a diverse ethnic community background and are a part of the global majority. Their lived experience will be one where they are likely to encounter racism, live shorter lives and earn less than their white counterparts. We must all be proactive to ensure we remove the injustices brought about through racism.
‘In 2020 we were reminded that systemic racism threads through society at every level. NSEAD holds that art education must not be racist. We must all actively challenge racism. To ensure that our subject and all those who engage in it can be actively anti-racist, we have published the anti-racist art education checklists.’
Michele Gregson, NSEAD General Secretary, says:
‘Art and art education has a unique power to help us understand challenge racism - but we must also recognise the ways in which it can perpetuate it. NSEAD must and will support art educators to confront racism and exclusion wherever they find it. The work of the ARAEA group will be invaluable for our members and all who share our commitment to be actively anti-racist.’
The ARAEA checklists are not a ‘to-do list’ and are not linear. What the starting point is for one educator, department, publication or school will be different from another. The checklists are not conclusive. When actively engaged with, the checklists will uncover further questions, questions that explore the intersections of our identities, including race, sexuality, gender, ability/disability, religion – they may also lead to deeper investigations into our own unconscious bias. Wherever they lead, the hope is that they trigger new opportunities for learning, but also critically, unlearning. Their underlying ethos is inspired by the educational theorist Bell Hooks and her articulation of a ‘pedagogy of hope’. The checklists acknowledge that to be actively anti-racist ‘at times we will stumble, but when we do, we will acknowledge our mistakes and we will make repair’ (2003).
Just as art craft and design education evolves, as the NSEAD evolves, as we as practitioners evolve, so too will the check lists. They are not conclusive. They will also be under constant review by NSEAD and you will see this on the resource with the version number highlighted in the box at the top of the sheet.
The ARAEA Group collectively wrote the checklists. The Group is made up of art educators, representing all phases. Researchers, teachers, stakeholders including the Crafts Council, have been consulted. A combination of expertise and lived voice made the checklists possible. Every member of the ARAEA collaborated and helped write the checklists – On the home straight Marlene Wylie (consultant and Vice-President, NSEAD), Paul Brennan (consultant), Clare Stanhope (head of art and PhD researcher) and Sophie Leach (NSEAD deputy general secretary, NSEAD) finalised their design and editing.