What is social justice?

Social justice is about equal rights and equitable opportunities for everyone.

Social justice is about making sure everyone gets the same access to opportunities, and rectifying inequities. A more “socially just” society is one which is fairer, more stable, and ultimately sustainable.

AMA believes everyone can benefit from a rich cultural life. But the arts and heritage sector has struggled to reach and engage the whole of our society, in terms of audiences, workforce and stakeholders. Progress to change this has been slow.

We often hear variations on this question:

  • “Why is it so hard to engage certain audiences?”
  • “Why is it so hard to diversify our organisation?”
  • “Why is it so hard to get change to stick?”

Diversifying the sector, improving access, opening opportunities and making it possible for everyone to engage in a meaningful way has been on the sector agenda for a long time. Another question we hear often is:

  • “Why is it taking so long? Why hasn’t change happened yet?”

The answer to both this question, and the “why is it hard” questions are the same: our society and sector are built on structures that are historically, systemically and currently unjust.

These take time, conscious effort and a commitment to change, on a fundamental level.

AMA believes we all have a social obligation to do our part to make our society and sector more socially just, in ourselves, in our work, and in our organisations.

What is the AMA doing?

We’re committed to changing ourselves and helping drive sector change.

We have been delivering programmes help support individuals and organisations to make meaningful change. This means changing thinking and doing, and a change how social justice is approached. We work in partnership with people with relevant lived experience to make sure what we do is informed and nuanced. If you share our desire to see change happen, these programmes might help you on your journey:

  • Breakthroughfor Chief Executives (CEOs) and their Senior Management Teams (SMTs) to make their organisations truly inclusive for the long-term
  • Audience Diversity Academy: shared learning from the fore-runner of our current programmes
  • Show Up: for CEOs to reflect on how they can change their leadership and work with their strengths to effect change
  • Heads Up: explore digital social justice and what it means for you, and your organisation
  • Inclusivity & Audiences Day: a day focused on cutting through the overwhelm and getting to the root of issues
  • We regularly include webinars in our seasons looking at specific angles e.g.: Family Friendly Marketing, Marketing to D/deaf audiences, Accessible Marketing, Intersectionality.
  • Affinity Groups: We have launched Affinity Groups that we define as formal AMA groups that connect members. Our first group will be for AMA members who self-identify as Melanated Global Majority. More groups will be launching in 2024.

As for what we ourselves are doing, AMA holds itself accountable and seeks to make every aspect of our work count towards social justice.

Internally, we invest in ongoing training, and recognise that change is a process. We employ external consultants to help hold us objectively to the standards we seek to achieve. We don’t always get it right, but when we do fail, we are committed to learning and doing better as a result.

We seek to be inclusive and work towards social justice for all social groups, across all protected characteristics. We recognise that racial injustice is complex and structurally ingrained in systems and processes. Many of us may be unaware of the many ways that this affects us, and shapes society.  To support more awareness, we’ve gathered some resources recommended by the AMA team and AMA members.

We have a longer term internal strategy to make sure that we as a team continue to challenge ourselves to push forward and make progress ourselves, and through our work, towards a more socially just culture. If you’d like to discuss any of this with us, please contact info@a-m-a.co.uk.