Heritage sector organisations issue joint statement of intent

As Black Lives Matter protests grow in the U.S., UK museum and heritage organisations have called for a step-change in how the sector addresses racism.

The statement, drafted by Arike Oke, Director of the Black Cultural Archives highlights history and heritage as invaluable tools in the fight against racism and discrimination, and its proactive pledges underpin a collective call to action.

Joint statement of intent for the heritage sector

The Black Lives Matter movement began in America after a series of killings of black people in or following police custody. The movement has resonance in the UK, not least because of our nation’s history in which racism has become entrenched.

As the leading membership bodies representing the UK museums, heritage and archives we take responsibility for ending racism in the heritage sector. This work is overdue. This work is non-negotiable. It cuts across all aspects of our sector, from the collections we curate and preserve, the people who make up the heritage workforce, to the learning programmes we deliver.

The conversation and the action is ongoing.

We commit to proactively support:

  • representing our members across the heritage sector, acknowledging that our nation’s history and heritage is an invaluable tool in the fight against racism and discrimination.
  • anti-discrimination debate and discussion in the care of and access to heritage collections.
  • seeking, and taking care of the needs of a diverse heritage workforce.
  • members to develop diverse collections.
  • asking questions and challenging practices that support racism in all of its forms.
  • that now is the time to be anti-racist.
  • doing the work involved to end discrimination here and now.


The Group for Education in Museums (GEM)
The Heritage Alliance
The Association of Independent Museums (AIM)
The Museums Association
The International Council of Museums UK (ICOM UK)
The Association for Heritage Interpretation
The Archives and Records Association (UK and Ireland)