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Where is The Goldsmiths’ Company on diversity?

After making pledges to improve inclusivity in 2020, the livery company publishes document outlining the actions it has taken and future plans

June 18, 2021 By Rachael Taylor


The Goldsmiths’ Company has released a statement documenting the endeavours it has made over the past 12 months to address racial inequalities in the jewellery industry, and has outlined its diversity plans for the coming years.

 

“We recognise that change will be gradual,” wrote Dame Lynne Brindley, prime warden of The Goldsmiths’ Company. “However, I hope that you will agree that this progress report shows that we are taking steps to move in the right direction, adapting to a rapidly changing world to ensure that we remain true to our core purpose, contributing effectively to national life.”

 

The Goldsmiths’ Company was quick to insert itself into discussions about diversity in the jewellery industry that arose in 2020 after jewellery designer Kassandra Lauren Gordon challenged the status quo in an open letter written for The Jewellery Cut.

 

As well as supporting Kassandra in her research endeavours, The Goldsmiths’ Company offered a wider pledge to improve diversity. It centred on five key pillars: improving diversity within its own organisation; actively supporting BAME jewellers and silversmiths; offering financial support; investigating any historic connections between the Company and the slave trade; listening and learning to better understand the experiences of others.

 

Here is what The Goldsmiths’ Company promised on each of the five pillars, what it actioned and what it plans to do next.

 

Improving diversity in the Company and Charity

What did it promise?

“Consult members and staff about how we could further improve our membership recruitment process (which was made more transparent and auditable in 2019); and look at capturing diversity data to establish a baseline, set targets and measure progress in our staff and membership.”

 

What did it do?

Internally, The Goldsmiths’ Company set up a working group to tackle equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI), delivered related leadership training for senior members of staff, ran an EDI virtual event led by expert Gamiel Yafai, and launched an initiative to further develop EDI within the Company called Blueprint Group, now chaired by Dame Lynne Brindley.

 

What will it do next?

Plans include: developing and publishing its first EDI policy this year; conducting an EDI survey of staff and members and publishing the results; implementing an internal monitoring system that will produce a public report every three years; include an EDI evaluation of every project and major decision making.

 

The Goldsmiths' Centre

The Goldsmiths’ Centre in London

 

Support Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic jewellers and silversmiths

What did it promise?

“Look at understanding the barriers that BAME communities face in having a career and working in the craft and trade; and provide a platform to promote their work.”

 

What did it do?

Took steps to try to increase diversity at The Goldsmiths’ Centre through initiatives such as anonymising entries for programmes and competitions. Partnered with Kassandra Lauren Gordon on her research project into the experience of Black jewellers. Profiled more Black jewellers through its social media and at Goldsmiths’ Fair, and commissioned jeweller Melanie Eddy to write a piece on historic underrepresentation for its magazine Goldsmiths’ Review. Increased diversity within speakers and writers chosen to take part in talks and work on publications.

 

What will it do next?

Plans include: creating an advisory group to improve inclusion in training at The Goldsmiths’ Centre as well as spotlighting more Black jewellery role models; improving inclusivity in marketing and communications; reviewing the application process for Goldsmiths’ Fair to make it more accessible.

 

Gold and aquamarine ring set by jewellery designer Melanie Eddy, who writes for Goldsmiths’ Review 

 

Providing financial support: Goldsmiths’ Company Charity

What did it promise?

“The Goldsmiths’ Company Charity would look at whether we are doing enough to support people from BAME communities and charitable causes that focus on diversity, equity, and justice.”

 

What did it do?

Joined and financially supported the Funders for Race Equality Alliance, and used the Alliance’s audit tool to improve its own application system while committing to ensuring more Company grants reach BAME jewellers. Supported the Kassandra Lauren Gordon Fund, including a £6,000 donation. Collaborated with charities focused on diversity in jewellery, including the MasterPeace Academy and the Jewellery Futures Fund.

 

What will it do next?

Plans include: publishing the results of a race quality audit; reviewing its charity grants through an EDI lens; continuing to work with Funders for Race Equality Alliance; create a community-led grants panel to improve access for the BAME community.

 

Jewellery designer and Jewellery Futures Fund co-founder Emefa Cole

 

Understanding our history and possible connections to the transatlantic slave trade

What did it promise?

“Research our history to establish the facts. If there are past injustices to acknowledge and from which we should learn, we would want to do this.”

 

What did it do?

Initiated a research project into historic links between the Goldsmiths’ Company and the transatlantic slave trade, and collaborated with Black History Walks on a virtual tour of Goldsmiths’ Hall and its connections to African gold.

 

What will it do next?

Continue its research into any potential historic connections to slavery with the aim to  publish a complete history of The Goldsmiths’ Company in 2027.

 

The Goldsmiths’ Hall 

 

Listening and learning

What did it promise?

“Become better informed about the Black British experience and about racism and discrimination in our communities and across the world. Listen to the views and ideas of others and educate ourselves to inform the decisions and choices we make.”

 

What did it do?

Collaborated with Kassandra Lauren Gordon on her social research into the experiences of Black jewellers. Assisted individuals and organisations researching Black history through engagement with its library and archive teams.

 

What will it do next?

Plans include: develop a library collecting policy based on what it has learned; create a panel to act as a sounding board to ensure all marketing material is representative and inclusive; continue to promote Black jewellers and run diversity-focused articles in the Goldsmiths’ Review.

 

Kassandra Lauren Gordon in the audience during a talk at The Jewellery Cut Live in February 2020

Kassandra Lauren Gordon in the audience during a talk at The Jewellery Cut Live in February 2020

 

 

 

 

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