Anti-racist art, craft, and design education

The NSEAD mission since 1888 has been to improve art and design education for everyone. To be true to this, we must be prepared to take a long hard look at ourselves, face uncomfortable truths and take action against racism.

The murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis has triggered a deep reaction throughout the UK. As art educators the toppling of the monument to the British slave trader Colston by protesters in Bristol was a moment in history – and a moment in the history of art. But it is not enough for us to watch in silence.

We have had a wake-up call. As a learned society we have a duty to educate ourselves, keep learning and be part of real change. We are aware that we need to do more, to challenge racism and recognise what it looks like in art, craft, and design education.

As a trade union we believe in solidarity. We share the values of equality, fairness, and justice, and for dignity and respect for all people.

Why art and design and why NSEAD must play a role?

The arts are meaning making. They question, ask and seek transformation; the arts are diverse in their practice and diverse in meaning; they can make a wide spectrum of outcomes and make us understand with humility what it means to be an anti-racist human. In the arts and arts education, we can disrupt racism.

To disrupt racism, we will:

Five days:

Call for our community, to be a collective voice, to ensure that we disrupt racism and are an anti-racist organisation; ask for your research and your actions; ask for your actions for us.

Five weeks:

Set up an action group to ensure that we are an actively anti-racist organisation, driven by anti-racist educators – we will identify what actions are needed to achieve this.

Five months:

To identify and implement anti-racist interventions for our subject and for ourselves to include actions for policy makers.

Five years and beyond:

Our strategic plan (2020-24) must deliver on our promises and to address equity, diversity, and inclusion throughout our organisation and beyond.

We invite every member to take this baton and help us be an organisation that uses the levers and tools, equipment, interventions, and actions to create a framework or manifesto for change. It is time for NSEAD to be an anti-racist subject body and subject, powered by anti-racist artist educator members.


The Council of NSEAD

12th June 2020