Following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, we have witnessed a global reaction to long-standing, inexcusable and institutional racism. Antiquated systems have resulted in the unjust death of many black people in the US in particular.  

We do not believe the UK or Newcastle upon Tyne is free from discrimination, racial bias or inequality. At the Ouseburn Trust, we stand in support and say, without question, Black Lives Matter.   

The last few weeks have rightfully encouraged us to reflect on how we operate. We should always strive to do more, and this is an opportunity to open doors for people of all races, ethnicities, and marginalised groups. We have a duty to use our platform as a community organisation to call out injustice, share resources and promote voices which represent all who make up our society.   

Ouseburn’s surrounding areas are multi-cultural, representative of many races and ethnicities. As an organisation that focuses on supporting the future of Ouseburn, we must represent the voices of the people living, visiting, and working in the area and living in neighbouring communities.  

Creating opportunities & improving practice   

We acknowledge that structural racism often forces black people to work harder to reach their goals, particularly when it comes to careers.  

Black people are under-represented in the heritage sector. Ashleigh Brown, paper conservator and co-owner of The Conservators, offers a frank exploration as a black person in this industry.   

The responsibility to attract more black people to the Heritage sector lies with the organisations who encompass it. We must create opportunities and remove barriers holding people back. Furthermore, this way of thinking should be a catalyst for greater equality for all marginalised groups. 

At the Trust, we have begun to review how we operate. We will be critical about our own unconscious bias. As an organisation focusing on creating a better future, we must have everyone’s best interests in mind. We must broaden our perspective and amplify marginalised voices.  

Please see our Equality and Diversity Policy for details of how we aim to play our part in removing barriers to engagement for all marginalised groups.

Cultural research  

We are exploring opportunities to commission a new research project which explores the history of BAME (Black, Asian, and minority ethnic) people in Ouseburn Valley. We are passionate about the stories which illustrate Ouseburn’s heritage, filled with tales of people who formed our industrial and creative roots. This project will ask volunteers to research those who have been marginalised or forgotten in previous accounts.

Using our platform   

We believe it is vital our actions are not temporary, eventually fading away with the headlines. Whilst activities such as showing solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement on social media are important, we want to support lasting change.   

We endeavour to use our platforms to propel black voices. Whenever appropriate, we will share resources and causes that help to educate and dispel racism in any way possible.   

Black Lives Matter.  

Resources and Links 

Being black in the arts and heritage sector: Paper conservator Ashleigh Brown offers a reflection – a piece written by Ashleigh Brown 

Joint statement of intent for the heritage sector – a statement from The Group for Education in Museums (GEM) 

Arts Council’s diversity report reveals sector lagging behind national average – an article on the Museums and Heritage Advisor  

Discover Newcastle's links to the slave trade, and the fight to abolish it – an article on The Chronicle by Tony Henderson  

The Ethnicity Pay Gap – Office of National Statistics 

'I'm used to being the only brown person in the room': why the humanities have a diversity problem – an article by Helena Pozniak on the Guardian website 

A compilation of Black Lives Matter resources  

Join the Stand Up To Racism North East mailing list  

A library of black History Month resources on Google Drive shared by @_CharlesPreston 

Organisations & groups to follow  

Stand UP To Racism North East – local branch for the national campaign  

@ComfreyProject - The Comfrey Project works with refugees and asylum seekers on allotment sites across Newcastle and Gateshead with the aim of improving their conditions of life. 

@JETNorthEast – JET help people from black and minority ethnic groups into employment & training, as well as delivering integration & cohesion activites. 

@AngelouCentre1 - Empowering Women to reach their potential 

HAREF network by @ConnectedVoice_ - Working with Newcastle and Gateshead’s black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities to identify their key issues around health and improve the health information available to them. 

@Sister_Shack - a feminist black-led CIC that focuses on working with and promoting women entrepreneurs, creatives, artists, musicians, and DJs. 

@Imkaan - UK-based, black feminist organisation dedicated to addressing violence against women and girls. RTs ≠ endorsement. 

@museum_detox - A network for museum and gallery workers who identify as of colour. 

@Curriculumblack - The black Curriculum is a social enterprise that delivers black British history through the arts, in schools and out of schools to all young people in the UK. 

@RunnymedeTrust - Runnymede is the UK's leading independent race equality think tank.  

@raceontheagenda - A social policy research organisation that focuses on issues impacting on black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities