Jerwood launches toolkit on “what really works” when supporting working-class people in the arts

The leading UK programme on socio-economic diversity in the arts, Jerwood unveils action-based toolkit – from hiring practices to redefining ‘professionalism’.

13 March 2023

A new toolkit from Jerwood Arts – an independent funder dedicated to supporting early career UK artists – has gathered perspectives from people from working-class/low socio-economic backgrounds on “‘what really works’ to support their inclusion in the workplace’”, the toolkit states. Jerwood published a related guide in 2019, supporting employers to ask questions and begin to talk about class. The new toolkit, designed by London-based creative practice Take Courage, presents the other side of the conversation, using candid comments from voices with lived experiences to push inclusion in the creative industry, while taking into account intersecting identities.

The report is split into five sections, four of which are dedicated to different stages that a potential hire goes through with an organisation, including recruitment, induction and professional development. To introduce the toolkit, Jerwood offers a section on how to become an inclusive organisation, offering advice on creating a plan for inclusion while accepting that there is not a one-fits-all template to tackle the subject. “A lot of it is just about asking questions like, ‘What is your learning style?’ or ‘Is there a way that suits you better when it comes to meetings?’” one contributor shares in the guide. “It’s about responding to people and producing this open dialogue.”

Advice outlined in the toolkit ranges from carving out monthly team meetings or “quarterly reflection sessions”, to ensure your organisation doesn’t remain in “delivery mode” without rethinking inclusivity regularly. In the recruitment section, tips include removing unnecessary jargon from job applications, avoiding being “overly prescriptive” about the level of education and experience required, and providing different ways of applying for the role – for example, via video or slide deck. Jerwood also explores how tailoring inductions to each new start’s individual needs and broadening the definition of ‘professionalism’.


Jerwood Arts / Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries: Photographs of (Team) Work In Practice, Lilian Baylis Studio (Copyright © Hydar Dewachi, 2023)

Each page is split into an action and then a comment from fellows and alumni of the Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries (WJCB) – a programme which supports creatives (Fellows) from low socio-economic backgrounds with accessing salaried jobs in theatres, museums, galleries, arts centres, music venues and arts organisations.

On the toolkit, Lilli Geissendorfer, director of Jerwood Arts states: “It’s easy to say ‘there is no one-size-fits-all approach’, but what that means in practice is much harder to describe. Our hope is that people working in arts organisations across the UK will dip into the toolkit and use it as a starting point for wider reflection and discussion on what inclusivity could look like within their own context.”

Discover the (Team) Work In Practice toolkit here.


Jerwood Arts / Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries: Photographs of (Team) Work In Practice, designed by Take Courage (Copyright © Hydar Dewachi, 2023)

Hero Header

Jerwood Arts / Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries: Photographs of (Team) Work In Practice, designed by Take Courage (Copyright © Hydar Dewachi, 2023)

Share Article

About the Author

Liz Gorny

Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. In January 2023, they became associate editor, predominantly working on partnership projects and contributing long-form pieces to It’s Nice That. Contact them about potential partnerships or story leads.

It's Nice That Newsletters

Fancy a bit of It's Nice That in your inbox? Sign up to our newsletters and we'll keep you in the loop with everything good going on in the creative world.