Mayor launches open call for Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm members
I am very pleased to see the Mayor has announced his commission for diversity in the public realm:
- Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm will help to ensure London’s achievements and diversity are reflected across the capital
- Members will review and increase diversity of public realm, including statues, street names, memorials and building names, working with an expert Partners Board and a Borough Working Group
- ActionSpace, Art Fund, English Heritage and Shape Arts are the latest organisations to join the Partners Board
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, will today launch an open call for members for his Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm, as ActionSpace, Art Fund, English Heritage and Shape Arts become the latest organisations to join its Partners Board.
Sadiq is creating the Commission to help ensure London’s achievements and diversity are reflected across our city, and up to 15 independent members are being sought covering a range of experiences, including cultural and public history, visual art, community integration and planning.
They will work alongside co-chairs Justine Simons OBE, Deputy Mayor for Culture and Creative Industries, and Dr Debbie Weekes-Bernard, Deputy Mayor for Social Integration, Social Mobility and Community Engagement, to review the public realm, further the discussion into what legacies should be celebrated, and make a series of recommendations aimed at establishing best practice and standards.
The majority of London’s statues, street names and memorials largely reflect Victorian Britain, but the Mayor wants to tell the complete story of our history and to commemorate those from every community who have made London what it is.
The Commission will focus on increasing representation among Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, women, LGTBQ+ and disabled groups, as well as a range of social and economic backgrounds.
A Partners Board has been established to provide further knowledge and advice to the Commission, and ActionSpace, Art Fund, English Heritage and Shape Arts have today been added to the Board. They will join Arts Council England, Black Cultural Archives, Historic England and Iniva (Institute of International Visual Arts) in sharing their expertise.
A Borough Working Group is also being established with borough councils to provide views from across the capital.
The Mayor is committed to ensuring that the capital’s history is celebrated and commemorated in the most appropriate way. He has previously helped to install a statue of suffragist leader Millicent Fawcett in Parliament Square, and pledged his support for a number of new memorials in the capital, including for Stephen Lawrence, the Windrush generation, a National Slavery Museum or Memorial, and a National Sikh War Memorial.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “London is one of the most diverse cities in the world, but our public spaces simply do not reflect this. Many Londoners are concerned our statues, street names, memorials and building names fail to capture who we are and what we represent. By working with boroughs and partners from across the capital, the Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm will ensure that everyone can take pride in our public landscape and I am delighted to be inviting applications to contribute to this important programme of change for London.”
Sheryll Catto, ActionSpace Co-Director, said: “As one of London’s leading specialist visual arts organisations, ActionSpace works hard to support artists with learning disabilities to develop and sustain successful professional artist practices and to create innovative projects for Londoners with learning disabilities to engage with the visual arts. We are delighted to use our experience of working in this area for over 40 years to help the Mayor’s Commission make our public spaces more representative of London.”
Anna Eavis, English Heritage Curatorial Director, said: “English Heritage is responsible for the London Blue Plaques scheme and every year we add more plaques to the streets of the capital. London’s history is a diverse one and through the Blue Plaques scheme we are committed to doing that diversity justice. We look forward to working with the Commission and sharing our experience and advice.”
David Hevey, Shape Arts CEO/Artistic Director, said: “Shape is a long time champion of diversity in culture and the arts. We are all about opening up the creative landscape to different, diverse and disabled talents to display their brilliance in our public spaces and we are proud to be a part of the Mayor’s Partners Board to help improve diversity in London’s public realm.”
Notes to editors:
Further information about the open call for members will be published here later today: www.london.gov.uk/PublicRealm
Up to 15 independent members will be appointed for an initial period of two years. The meetings will begin in December.
The Commission’s draft terms of reference include:
- Making recommendations on the commissioning of statues, memorials, blue plaques, commemorations, murals, street art, works on public hoardings, street names, pavements, and street furniture.
- Providing an overview of existing public art and the public realm in London.
- Creating best practice on commissioning works and how to assess, evaluate and approach contested heritage, including making recommendations for the addition of context to existing works, or their removal.
ActionSpace is a London based visual arts organisation that supports artists with learning disabilities to create innovative projects for people with learning disabilities to engage with the visual arts.
Art Fund is an independent membership-based British charity, which raises funds to aid the acquisition of artworks for the nation. It gives grants and acts as a channel for many gifts and bequests, as well as lobbying on behalf of museums and galleries and their users. It relies on members’ subscriptions and public donations for funds and does not receive funding from the government or the National Lottery.
English Heritage cares for over 400 historic monuments, buildings and sites including in London, Kenwood, Eltham Palace and Wellington Arch. The charity is also responsible for the London Blue Plaques scheme, linking notable people of the past with buildings of the present since 1866.
Shape Arts is a Disability-led arts organisation which works to improve access to culture for disabled people by providing opportunities for disabled artists, training cultural institutions to be more open to disabled people, and through running participatory arts and development programmes.: