Our language choices
We wanted to take this opportunity to say a bit more about our language choices in the description of our different Funds since reopening in October. Over the last few months it has become impossible to ignore the reality of structural racism and other deep divisions in our society (not just in the UK but across the world). We have been trying to be as attentive as possible to this, and you can see from our refreshed strategy published in September and our new statement of commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion that this work is central to our purpose as a foundation.
We have been listening to many of the discussions taking place on the way language can harm, label and intentionally or otherwise exacerbate inequality and we have tried our best to take on some of these lessons in how we articulate the aims and criteria of our Funds. We really appreciate the generosity of partners in sharing their thinking – some of the discussions that have really resonated with us include Inc Arts #BAMEOver campaign, and we have really appreciated the input of our insightful advisor Andrew Miller.
We have developed a core text – with particular input from our internal People of Colour network – which we hope is clear about our intentions and who we are trying to reach without using unhelpful labels.
We want to support a broader range of approaches and experience and are keen to hear from organisations led by people who are most affected by systemic oppression and or discrimination. This means Black, Asian and other groups who experience racism, Deaf, disabled and neurodiverse people who experience the effects of ableism, those who identify as sitting at the intersections of several minoritized identities, and people experiencing poverty.
 At Paul Hamlyn Foundation, we recognise that people who experience racism are from diverse backgrounds and identities and are often grouped together under one term for ease (e.g. BAME). However, we are committed to naming and tackling the individual experiences of structural oppression people face as the racism they experience rather than conflating their experience as that of all non-white people.
We are aware that we won’t have got everything right in this statement and we’d really like feedback. We’ve tried to choose words like ‘ableism’ (which describes behavior which unintentionally excludes or actively discriminates against disabled people) because they highlight that it is systemic, societal prejudice which is the challenge to be addressed and does not ‘problematise’ disabled people.
These changes to language will be really important in the context of better understanding who our funding goes to at the moment, and how we can make sure we are reaching the groups we are prioritising in the future.
We have publicly committed to the ACEVO and Voice for Change England campaign to collect and publish this data and it is part of our work with the DEI Funder Coalition and the Funders Alliance for Race Equality. We will do everything we can to make sure that when we ask for and collect this data it is done in the most sensitive and appropriate way possible, taking account of the language points made above.
We don’t pretend to be experts in this area, and we will keep all the work under constant review. We’d like to hear from you if you have concerns on the above, general feedback, or if there are things you don’t understand and think we should explain better.
Email us at DEI@phf.org.uk