A network has been set up to support migrants working in the arts, and will aim to tackle issues including “discrimination, tokenism and racial profiling”.
Migrants in Culture wants to “hold the cultural sector accountable to anyone who is impacted by the UK government’s hostile environment policy”.
Launched by Theresa May in 2012, the policy is a set of administrative and legislative measures designed to make life in the UK as difficult as possible for people without leave to remain, in the hope that they may voluntarily leave.
The new network has been set up by a group of artists, producers, curators, front-of-house managers and other individuals working within the cultural sector.
They were motivated to come together “as a consequence of various incidents of anti-migrant, anti-refugee and anti-people of colour institutional discrimination over the past few years”.
Industry bodies attached to the network so far include the Independent Theatre Council, Artsadmin, the Ovalhouse Theatre in London and Foreign Actions Productions.
The network is launching with a UK-wide survey to assess the impact of the hostile environment policy on the cultural sector.
Migrants in Culture will then use the survey results to inform how the group will take action to “hold the cultural sector accountable and create welcoming, not hostile, environments”.
One of the founders of the initiative, Joon Lynn Goh, said: “Migrants in Culture is a network of migrant cultural workers, sharing common experiences of immigration limbo, racial profiling, tokenism and discrimination, with little awareness or support from our sector.”
“As migrants, we want to ask: How can our sector better support migrants, people of colour and others being impacted by the hostile environment in our workplaces and neighbourhoods?
“And as cultural producers, we want to urge our sector not to stand on the sidelines of an increasingly hostile environment. For what is the point of working in culture, if we cannot create new cultures?”