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Association Response to the Annual Public Lecture and ongoing Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Commitments

The Association for Art History would like to take this opportunity to respond formally to comments and questions raised in response to our recent Annual Public Lecture.

The Association acknowledges the comments we have received and agrees that perspectives offered by those from diverse backgrounds (in all senses of the term) make for a richer and more inclusive programme.  Our attempts to introduce racial diversity into the Annual Public Lecture were, on this occasion, unsuccessful.  It is and will always be our goal and commitment to do what we can to ensure that inclusivity is foremost in our minds when considering all our activities and initiatives including our membership, journal, events, advocacy and grants.

We recognise our responsibility to our subject in representing different voices and in showing those younger in their careers and those contemplating a career in art history that there is a place for people of all backgrounds regardless of social and economic position, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation/identity, disability and geography. We have taken a number of measures across the organisation to put this into effect, and we can and will do more to ensure that it is clear to all of our stakeholders and those from outside the organisation that this commitment is at the heart of what the Association does and stands for.

Here are some of the concrete steps we will take in the near future in this regard:

We will present the 2021 Annual Public Lecture in February and its focus will be on women with agency in the art world in the 21st century, viewed from a global perspective. This will broaden the focus in comparison to the 2020 lecture, which celebrated the achievements of some extraordinary women across Europe in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

We will create a formal and public Equalities, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) policy which will make clear our intentions regarding our programme going forward.  We choose to work closely with colleagues in the field on our initiatives and these are often supported by formal committees (see our Conference Committee, Editorial Board, Higher Education Committee, Doctoral and Early Research Committee, Museums and Galleries Committee, etc).  We will do the same with our EDI initiative and invite those interested in helping us to create policy and objectives which will reinforce our efforts to embody a broad and inclusive art history.  We will directly contact some of those who have commented on the recent Annual Public Lecture to be a part of this committee.

We will continue to work to be a subject association that has the involvement and confidence of those in our field.  We are sincere in our efforts to address your concerns and to work with you to make the Association the organisation that reflects our values of inclusivity, advocacy, and excellence.

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