Here are some of the best examples of arts organisations embedding their values into their policies, decision-making and the culture of their organisations as a whole. Many of them have their policies available online to view in full. If you know of other examples we would be delighted to add them to the list – please fill in the form.
Royal Court Theatre
Royal Court Theatre has an ethical fundraising policy and, crucially, it has an environmental policy that incorporates fundraising into how it fulfils ‘the need to be responsible’ for its impact on the environment. The environmental policy notes that…
“We will aspire to take an ethical approach to fundraising whenever possible and appropriate, working with those who share our environmental and ethical values.”
The Royal Court has also signed up to ‘Oil Sponsorship Free‘, a commitment not to take money from the fossil fuel industry for its work.
You can view the theatre’s environmental policy here.
ArtsAdmin has a detailed Ethical Fundraising Policy which lays out its mission, its core values and the specific process for making decisions. One of the ways the organisation aims to achieve its mission is by…
“Responding to the changing environment we live in; being a leader in the arts for work that addresses the issue of climate change and finding ways to reduce the environmental impact of the arts.”
You can view the Ethical Fundraising Policy in full here.
Live Art Development Agency (LADA)
LADA‘s Ethical Funding Policy was informed by The Kindling Trust and developed with support from Platform. It goes into detail about those it will work and partner with, as well as how the policy will be implemented. It states…
“The Agency will not knowingly apply to, or accept funding from, companies, organisations or individuals who are directly involved in activities that run contrary to our overall aims. These include companies, organisations or individuals who directly block or actively work against social justice; whose activities directly harm the environment; or who directly block or work against community empowerment.”
You can view the policy in full here.
National Portrait Gallery (NPG)
The NPG has a detailed Ethical Fundraising Policy with a specific list of due diligence questions and the process for evaluating potential donors is laid out. For example, the policy makes clear that the NPG reserves the right to refuse donations in certain situations, such as when the donor is…
“…Known or suspected to be closely associated with a regime known or suspected to be in violation of human rights”
However, the NPG took the decision to renew its sponsorship deal with BP last year despite clear evidence of the company’s close association with regimes that violate human rights. So while the policy was effective in theory, it failed to be implemented properly. This is now the subject of an ongoing complaints process.
You can find out more in this article by Arts Professional here.
Arcola Theatre sets the standard for environmental policies:
“Arcola’s overarching aim is to become the world’s first ever carbon neutral theatre.”
Their environmental policy is specific, detailed and available on their website here. The theatre has also signed up to the ‘Oil Sponsorship Free‘ commitment to not take funding from the fossil fuel industry.
The Gate Theatre has a specific and detailed ethical policy that states ‘We encourage practices, and relationships with partner organisations and funders, that operate for the positive benefit of people and the environment.’
It sets out Ethical Principles, addresses Ethical Fundraising and includes a detailed check-list of questions to ask that seek to balance the financial needs of the organisation with its wider ethical responsibilities when making a fundraising decision. It includes an introduction by Artistic Director Ellen McDougall, who sets out why she thinks such a policy is so important:
‘If we are seen as an organisation to carry out rigorous and genuine ethical practice at every level, I believe this will enable us to make the best work, inspire audiences, and ultimately, be the change we want to see in the world.’
You can download the policy here.
Offering a different perspective, Ellie Harrison is an artist and activist based in Glasgow who took the decision to develop her own personal Environmental Policy which informs many aspects of her work and practice. You can read Ellie’s policy here.
Platform – Arts, Activism, Education, Research
Platform‘s work spans many areas and it has supported a number of other arts organisations in developing their own policies in this area, such as LADA.
Platform’s ‘Ethical Fundraising Guidelines’ are perhaps more discursive and offer the basis for reflection and discussion as decisions are made.
You can view their guidelines here.