E162 - Difficult Conversations part 2 with Adam Tulloch and Hannah Wilson
“Every single one of us can be an ally to an identity that we don’t hold.” - Hannah Wilson
This is the second episode in our Difficult Conversations series. The series explores creating safe spaces for conversations around Diversity Equality and Inclusion (DEI), how to be an ally and get your team on board, and being ok with getting things wrong and making genuine changes.
In this episode, we’re joined by Adam Tulloch, Founder & Chief Executive of Total Insight Theatre, an award-winning charity that uses the arts to transform the lives of children and young people, and Hannah Wilson, Founder and Director of Diverse Educators, an intersectional community of educators. Both are passionate about Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
This episode explores allyship across social justice areas, what action looks like and the role charities play within this work. How do you get staff, beneficiaries, volunteers etc on board with this work and progress your organisation’s culture. There are also complexities around politics, complicity, taking a bottom-up approach and building trust. This episode will explore how organisations need to make sure there is a sustained, realistic approach to ensure that trust is maintained within your organisation. Linking to Part 1 of the Difficult Conversations series, it is vital organisations don’t over promise on what they can do whereby employees are let down and their views are further devalued after having supposedly created space for them, but which lead to no action.
1. What does allyship mean to you?
“Being an ally is recognising that there’s a collective responsibility here about the things that are wrong in society and the things that are wrong in our institutions, and we can’t be passive and we can’t rely on the people with the lived experience […] to be the people to raise their voices about what’s wrong in an organisation” - Hannah Wilison
“[An ally is] someone who actively promotes a culture of inclusion for the intention of positive and conscious efforts that benefits people as a whole. In terms of in the workplaces it means recognising the privilege that members of majority groups have in a professional context and using the privilege in aiding the dismantling tah system that prevents colleagues from having equal opportunities.” - Adam Tulloch
2. The importance of allyship in leadership
Hannah feels that leaders need to recognise they don’t know it all. Hannah believes part of the journey as an ally is putting yourself in the position and disrupting the power structures of an organisation and listening to those who have lived experience. Leaders who are vulnerable and acknowledge their privilege are making the most progress in this space.
Adam agrees that showing your vulnerability as a leader and championing voices of those you don't usually hear from is powerful. Lived experience at leadership level is important too, this demonstrates truly valuing and embedding lived experience, which will positively affect your organisation’s delivery.
3. What commitment does allyship require?
There are ways of addressing it without large budgets. For example, think about your staff library, you could read books on the topic and share as a group, important thought leadership. Networking, we tend to network with people who are like this. Follow people on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn with people you wouldn’t usually connect with. There are also many free events, many of which can be found on Eventbrite. Hannah launched DiverseEd events and last year ran 25 accessible events which are accessible on their website. It’s about inserting yourself into spaces for things you wouldn’t usually hear. You have to accept that there will be a level of discomfort, so you have to be ready to ‘open that can of worms’.
Larger organisations that have the budget to work on DEI, should make genuine actions and view it as a long-term commitment.
More about our contributors in this episode:
Adam Tulloch is the Founder & Chief Executive of Total Insight Theatre, an award-winning charity that uses the arts to transform the lives of children and young people. He is a Fellow of The Royal Society of Arts, appeared in The Big Issue’s Top 100 Changemakers 2020 and was Highly Commended as Children and Young People's Champion in the 2020 Children & Young People Now Awards. He was recently appointed to the Cultural Learning Alliance Advisory Panel and won Charity Chief Executive of the year for organisations with an annual income under £5 million at the 2021 Third Sector Awards
Hannah Wilson is a leadership development coach and trainer. She is the Co-Founder of #WomenEd and the Co-founder of #DiverseEd. Hannah is passionate about Diversity, Inclusion and Equality; Professional Learning; Mentoring and Coaching. She is a DfE coach for the Women Leading in Education initiative and an advocate for flexible working (the focus for her MA in Education). She specialises in: Diversity, Inclusion and Equality, Professional Learning, Early Career Teachers, Mental Health and Wellbeing.
We hope you enjoy this week’s episode.
Related episodes that you may be interested in:
E160 - Difficult Conversations part 1 with Jon Cornejo and Lily Lewis -
E87: COVID-19 and its impact on BAME communities with CharitySoWhite - https://www.charitychat.org.uk/post/e87-covid-19-and-its-impact-on-bame-communities-with-charitysowhite
E94: Equity, Diversity and Inclusion with Siobhan Corria - https://www.charitychat.org.uk/post/e94-equity-diversity-and-inclusion-with-siobhan-corria