Rethinking Cultural Inclusion and Diversity - Destination Milton Keynes
Rethinking Cultural Inclusion and Diversity

Rethinking Cultural Inclusion and Diversity

An action plan for bringing more people from Milton Keynes’ diverse communities into the arts and heritage sector will be launched this month. Included in it is a £50,000 investment from Milton Keynes Council in a traineeship and apprenticeship programme. This will open new pathways to the sector for young people from diverse communities.

The action plan is a core part of a report by the Arts and Heritage Alliance Milton Keynes (AHA-MK): Rethinking Cultural Inclusion and Diversity: A Call to Action for Milton Keynes. This report is based on research commissioned and funded by Milton Keynes Council, and conducted by AHA-MK.

Central to this research are the voices the people of Milton Keynes. AHA-MK ran 12 focus groups to explore views and understanding of the arts and heritage sector. These focus groups represented a range of diversity, including ethnicity, religion, disability, gender, sexual preference, socio-economic deprivation and age.

A survey was conducted with the Milton Keynes arts and heritage sector to examine diversity in audiences, in the paid and unpaid workforce, and in programming.

There is much good inclusion and diversity practice within the sector, but more can be done. The Call to Action asks the arts and heritage sector to place inclusion and diversity at the heart of its organisations. It invites diverse communities to walk alongside the sector on this journey to ensure Milton Keynes cultural sector becomes a leading light in inclusion and diversity. MK’s cultural sector is at heart of the community and more must done to connect and engage with local people.

Cllr Carole Baume, Cabinet Member for Economy and Culture at Milton Keynes Council said: We’re determined to ensure everyone has access to Milton Keynes’ heritage and cultural offer. MK’s cultural organisations are fantastic, and I know they’ll embrace this new action plan with enthusiasm – I look forward to working with partners in the weeks and months ahead.”

Francesca Skelton, Chair of AHA-MK said: “Milton Keynes was created as a new and open city, welcoming people from all over the globe to build their lives and futures here. Our arts and heritage sector is one of the key pillars of the future growth of Milton Keynes and is fundamental to placemaking. It aims to inspire, and to create a sense of belonging, wellbeing and civic pride. But there is much work to be done to engage more widely. We want to work together to make sure that everyone feels welcomed and able to engage.”

Photo credit: Digital Light Code Makers Project: Milton Keynes Islamic Arts and Culture and Bletchley Park collaboration, March 2020. Photographer: Karen Kodish