Our commitment to diversity and inclusion

At Somerset House we are committed to building a diverse and inclusive community reflecting the diversity of our society. A community of staff, residents and audience where everyone feels valued, where their contribution matters and where they can reach their full potential, irrespective of their background, identity or circumstances.

We aim to ensure the diversity of all our staff - including volunteers and trustees - reflects our society as fully as possible. Similarly, we aim to be home to a resident community of artists and enterprises from an equally diverse range of situations, backgrounds and disciplines.

Skate Lates
Skate Lates
Hassan Hajjaj Young People's Workshop
Hassan Hajjaj Young People's Workshop

Our cultural programme, including Somerset House Studios and our Learning programme, is made up of the work of artists, makers and thinkers, from a wide range of backgrounds and speaks to a broad range of audiences. We strive to offer a visitor experience which is inclusive and sensitive to the different interests and needs of our audiences, regardless of background or ability. This includes ensuring our building, events and communication materials are fully accessible.

Inner U, Somerset House Studios, Photo © Anne Tetzlaff
Inner U, Somerset House Studios, Photo © Anne Tetzlaff

Recruitment and Training

We are committed to ensuring that we are hiring people from backgrounds which reflect London’s demography more broadly. Through internal monitoring, we have identified certain areas for improvement and are currently taking active measures to improve representation from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic and lower socio-economic groups and those with a disability.

We actively engage with external partners and networking groups who can support our diversity and inclusion objectives, and work with groups and collaborators who can support our ethos. We are committed to working with groups such as the Employers Network for Equality & Inclusion (enei), who can provide us with support and guidance in achieving our diversity and inclusion objectives. Equally, we are committed to training our staff on topics including Unconscious Bias, Valuing Diversity, Respect and Inclusion and Dignity at Work.

The Somerset House Trust leadership will be accountable for monitoring and enforcing these goals and objectives. The Trust’s internal action group is led by the Director of Somerset House and HR Manager.

Young People

As home to what is probably the largest concentration of creative enterprises, artists and arts organisations in the UK, we believe Somerset House can play a distinctive role in tackling some of the barriers around access and diversity for young people wishing to develop a career in the cultural and creative sectors. Therefore, we have developed a Creative Careers programme, including the Creative Job Studio and Creative Careers Academy work placement initiative which aim to:

  • Establish a structured entry route for young people from diverse backgrounds who are facing barriers in entering the cultural sector
  • Develop a sustainable talent pipeline which broadens the cultural and social diversity of employees across Somerset House residents and in the sector
  • Shape a replicable model which can be adapted and shared with the wider creative industries sector

Somerset House Event Safe Space Policy  

We strive to ensure that all studios, shared spaces, events, exhibitions and parties at Somerset House are fully inclusive and safe spaces for any person to participate and enjoy without fear of feeling marginalised or unwelcome. By entering Somerset House you agree to respect any body, attire, gender, sexual orientation, race, belief and experience whatsoever, and should expect to receive that same respect. By entering the space you agree to treat all people equally and without prejudice or presumptions, including our staff.  

  • We ask that you: 
  • Be mindful of your own behaviour, and any behaviour by others, which may be interpreted as sexist, including use of gendered terms 
  • Do not make comments on the physical appearance or attire of others 
  • Do not make judgements based on the physical appearance or attire of others 
  • Do not make assumptions about anyone’s gender and avoid using terms such as ‘miss’ ‘mister’ ‘mam’ ‘sir’. 
  • Respond quickly and respectfully to any attendee you find struggling physically or otherwise to navigate a space  
  • Avoid comments which single out, or prejudice, individuals by their ethnic or national background. Racist or xenophobic behaviour of any kind will not be tolerated.  

How is the Safe Space policy implemented?  

All staff, including security, front of house and contractors working on any Somerset House event must attend a briefing before doors where this policy is re-shared by the team member leading the event. It is included in the code of conduct of all front of house staff and displayed in the security team staff room.  

The policy is clearly displayed at the reception desk at Seaman’s Hall, and in the Studio’s reception, for all visitors attending Somerset House events.  

The policy is available online via the Diversity and Inclusion page of the Somerset House website. Visitors are also made aware that the policy is in operation in the terms and conditions of all ticket purchases.  

What to do if you feel the Safe Space policy is being transgressed 

If you are attending an event at Somerset House and feel this policy is not being adhered to by any attendee, artist, staff member or contractor, you can speak to any member of event staff who will contact the Duty Manager., who will investigate. All duty managers are trained on implementing and responding to the Safe Space policy.   

Somerset House Trust is a member of the Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion (enei), the leading employer network promoting equality and inclusion in the workplace.