The University of Cambridge Museums (UCM) Change Makers champion and campaign for improved representation and diversity within our consortium and our audiences.

2022 is an exciting year for Change Makers. Jasmine Brady, Chair of the Change Makers Action Group, tells us more.

Hello Jasmine. So what’s Change Makers all about and how does it work?

Hello, UCM Blog. It’s a pleasure to be here. Change Makers is a movement within the UCM consortium working towards greater representation and diversity. It’s coordinated by the Change Makers Action Group, made up of reps from each of the University museums and Botanic Garden, which meets monthly to share updates from across the consortium, discuss issues and questions, and plan resources, events and campaigns. Action Group members act as diversity and inclusion champions in their own organisations, and together we organise events for our wider Change Makers Network, open to all staff and volunteers, who come together around four times a year for events and networking. 

Tell us a bit more about your aims

The Action Group first came together in 2018 to draft our original manifesto. At the end of last year, we distilled the manifesto down into a really simple mission statement. 

The Change Makers Action Group commits to positive action in: 

  • Supporting the consortium in its goals of diversity and inclusion
  • Challenging inequality at all levels of our organisations, including governance
  • Solidarity with members of staff facing discrimination
  • Promoting learning through the Change Makers Network

Why is 2022 such a big year?

2022 is our year of allyship. Throughout the year, Change Makers activity will focus on promoting good allyship across the consortium and beyond. We’ll be hosting events and creating resources and provocations to support our colleagues in exploring this theme and putting it into practice.

What do you mean by allyship?

For us, good allyship means listening and learning. It’s about recognising and using the privilege you have to work in solidarity and partnership with those who hold less privilege to remove the barriers that challenge their rights, equal access and ability to thrive. That means receiving feedback on diversity initiatives with grace rather than defensiveness and following the lead of people with lived experience of being marginalised.

Why now?

We think positive change is genuinely happening, both across our consortium and in the wider museum sector. Over the past two years, the Change Makers Network has been meeting in the difficult conditions of the pandemic for Read, Watch, Discuss, a reading group exploring a breadth of topics relating to diversity and inclusion. We’ve really welcomed the willingness of so many of our colleagues to engage with and learn about how we can be more inclusive organisations. 

We now want to take things a step further, beyond learning and into action. How can we continue to learn together as a working community, and to put what we learn into practice? How can we support colleagues and audiences who might be experiencing marginalisation? How can we proactively change the ways we work to remove barriers? In other words, how can we be good allies? What does good allyship look like?

What are the goals of the campaign?

We believe that a culture of strong allyship is critical to ensuring that all our colleagues feel invested in and supported to do this work, and that our working environment is authentically welcoming, inclusive and proactive. In turn, it will promote staff wellbeing, increased awareness and understanding of diversity and inclusion issues, and promote staff retention.

Our aim is that, by the end of 2022: 

  1. Our colleagues will feel
  • Empowered to be active bystanders and positive influencers
  • Better informed and more confident in speaking about diversity and inclusion work
  1. The Change Makers Network and Action Group will have higher visibility in the organisation, creating a larger staff network tackling E&D topics
  2. Working culture across the consortium will be more empathetic and inclusive, supporting staff retention and wellbeing.

We’ll keep you posted on our progress on this blog!