A statement from Sarah Frankcom
Sarah Frankcom, Director of LAMDA, sent this statement in an email to all LAMDA staff and students on Tuesday 2 June
Dear students and staff,
This week students asked me to explain why LAMDA has been so slow to respond to the horrific murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, David McAtee amongst others and reach out and support our Black students. I’m afraid I can offer no defence and I want to acknowledge that I know how much this silence has contributed yet again to our Black students feeling othered at a time when they are under attack and vulnerable. Our silence in both past and present makes us complicit. I accept personal responsibility for this and offer my sincere apologies.
I appreciate them calling me out. I felt uncomfortable hearing their anger and disappointment. It’s difficult for me to admit that it was not an instinctive priority to make an organisational statement or indeed reach out and offer support to our Black students. We have to do better and stand up at every opportunity to dismantle racism. There is simply no other option.
The events in America concern all of us, if we don’t actively condemn them as an organisation we are supporting inhumanity, violence and racism. They must be a catalyst and call to action for us all.
We agreed last night that conversation is no longer enough and we need to create change and a plan of action for our school in order to address bias and racism - to see it, name it and accept responsibility for it and dismantle it. This will require honest and difficult examination and I hope the whole school, teachers, students and support staff, will want to be a part of it.
Below is a first draft plan to accelerate our response to racism at LAMDA; a plan which we will empower the Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity Committee to implement and which Peter Holliday (Executive Director) and I will personally champion.
- The creation of an all school action plan which is available to everyone
- Regular unconscious bias training for all teaching staff
- A full review of all texts and teaching materials by an external consultant with heads of departments
- Training for all heads of department to reframe and review their own practice and challenge the practice of their staff
- An industry advisory group to act as critical friends and hold the school to account on its action plan
- A logging system that allows all students to report micro aggression which guarantees anonymity
- A regular (monthly) update about how complaints are being dealt with and actioned
- The formation of a teachers’ working group dedicated to changing practice and understanding how racism and white privilege pervades our teaching
- A facilitated dialogue between Black students past and present with teaching staff to gather testimony about their experiences at LAMDA
- Continue to work with Diversity School next year
- Black student experience as a standing item on the Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity Committee
- Leadership is regularly held to account by the Board of Trustees for changing implementation of the plan