Behind the Scenes: Walk the Plank’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Journey. Blog 3 – marketing, communications and recruitment

Behind the Scenes: Walk the Plank’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Journey. Blog 3 – marketing, communications and recruitment

By Tanica Powell


In the final of three blogs sharing Walk the Plank's Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) journey, their Senior Marketing and Communications Officer, Tanica Powell takes us through how the marketing team has championed and actioned their DEIB values.  

“Outdoor Arts audiences are distinctive. Unlike audiences for many other artforms and cultural activities, they tend to be representative of the demographics of the public in their area.” - Outdoor Arts Audience Report, The Audience Agency in partnership with Outdoor Arts UK

With over thirty years' experience in creating outdoor arts nationally and internationally, Walk the Plank has a long and formidable history of engaging diverse communities in cultural activations that celebrate culture, heritage and community. Whilst our history speaks for itself to those who know it, our marketing team have the task of expanding the knowledge of our ongoing vision, mission and values that we hold ourself to, externally.  At the same time we also need to make sure that we’re accountable to our vision, mission and values internally and embed Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) into our workforce culture.

In 2023, Walk the Plank’s Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging working group attended Breakthrough, an Arts Marketing Association year-long programme transforming organisations through a whole-team approach to inclusivity. During this, we developed an action plan that looked at our internal and external comms and recruitment, amongst other processes and created a series of actionable tasks that would further embed DEIB into all corners of the organisation.

Here are some of the ways that the marketing team has championed DEIB and actioned the strategy born out of Breakthrough, and developed in our DEIB working group meetings.

External communications

Embedding DEIB

Walk the Plank’s vision, mission and values had previously been an internal document, but in 2023 when they were updated, and an anti-racism statement was developed, we decided to add them to our website. This was a fundamental step to holding ourselves accountable and being transparent with our audiences. We have since then started to integrate our vision, mission and values into other marketing documentation including proposals, social media and our newsletter.

We have further implemented DEIB values in our external communications by adding it as one of the key pillars in our content strategy, alongside sustainability and advocacy. This has helped move us away from 'ad hoc' mentions of our commitments and values to communications that are embedded into our brand and identity through the use of storytelling.


Crediting is another important piece of work that the marketing team has developed and is still working to get right. We wanted to make sure we’re being equitable and increasing the visibility of our freelance network, promoting a sense belonging and feeling that they are a key part of the organisation. Ensuring the freelance workforce is credited externally can also directly impact the work they receive outside of the organisation, and due to the precarious nature of this type of work, it is vital that we get it right.

Complicated and time-consuming, this process can feel overwhelming, yet it’s important that we are recognising the work that freelancers do to help us deliver spectacular outdoor moments for audiences.

Sharing our commitment

Committing our team to further our DEIB vision also includes presenting outside our digital channels; participating in panel discussions and giving presentations, like our Executive Director, Charlie Morrison who spoke at Arts Marketing Association’s Inclusivity and Audiences Day. And writing blogs for external resources – which is what we’re achieving with this three-part series – to share our journey, reflect, be challenged and hopefully encourage other organisations to follow suit and commit time and resources to achieving a diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace.

Internal communications

Creating a strong sense of belonging

Our internal communications goals over the year were to re-engage our freelance workforce, making sure that the ‘belonging’ that is so integral to Walk the Plank as an organisation and the creative community that we have built, is felt amongst all our freelancers’. Key to this was developing a quarterly newsletter that engages this network through Walk the Plank updates, social events to catch up with the team and sharing opportunities that we think would be beneficial to their work and development outside of Walk the Plank.

Another part of creating a strong sense of belonging amongst our team, and particularly our freelancers, who can often feel isolated in their work as they aren’t part of day-to-day operations, is finding opportunities to share our values, including having an open invite policy to our working groups, inviting freelancers to our company conference where we share our strategies and holding sharing's at lunchtime to update on action plans and knowledge sharing.

Our General Manager also implemented a gratitude box for our core team, where we shared our appreciation for other members on not only the work they have done on projects, but what they add to the organisation day-to-day and how they make others feel. This has helped reinforce the team’s appreciation for each other, something that can be overlooked in a busy environment. This small act is an impactful way of bringing the team together in shared moments of happiness and celebration.


As a small organisation with less than twenty full-time employees, recruitment doesn’t only sit with HR but is a collaboration between marketing and central support. The Breakthrough programme helped us implement several actions to improve our recruitment processes through collaboration.

Firstly, we reassessed our recruitment timeline and produced a checklist to include using gender decoders, so we’re not deterring certain demographics from applying, checking that the language we use is accessible to all and that we’re not using unnecessary jargon. We looked at where we had previously listed job adverts and furthered our reach by listing all opportunities on more inclusive sites such as Pink Jobs, Disability Arts and Creative Access.

We have improved the job application process by accepting multiple ways of applying, no longer just through written form, but allowing for video and audio applications as well. This has allowed applicants to depict themselves in their best light, and in a way that feels most natural to them.

Another process we have looked at is the interview stage. After having discussions with other local organisations about their DEIB recruitment journey, we now send out at least some of the questions in advance, so whether you’re stronger rehearsing answers or having a more in-the-moment conversation, everyone has a chance to shine.

Although we’ve made many changes that have felt successful, we haven’t always gotten things right. During our last round of recruitment we also tested multiple processes; changing documentation formats, application questions and interview processes - all a steep learning curve. But this has allowed us the opportunity to find out what the best way is to recruit more equitably and reach the most candidates possible. What we’ve found is that even though not everything worked as we hoped, some of the processes we put into place have made it worthwhile and the others require evaluation so we can improve moving forward.

It’s all a journey, one thing might not work, but another will, and it’s better to try, fail and learn, than not to try at all.

It's a journey and not a race

There’s so much to celebrate about outdoor arts. The fact that its audience is more likely to represent the area that it’s being performed in than other art forms is a core reason why so many of us are in this industry. And Walk the Plank is an organisation that celebrates ideas of belonging, pride of place and connection, something that outdoor arts is centred in. And that’s what we’re trying to champion within our workplace.

Looking back over the last year it feels like we’ve stepped up our game in proactively cementing structured processes into our culture. Breakthrough was an essential learning curve for our DEIB working group and it has allowed us to champion DEIB within our departments and beyond. The programme may have ended, yet our work has only just begun. We have a plan for where we want to be in five years, and we now have the confidence and commitment to get there.

Head and shoulders Tanica Powell Photo: Rachel Beeson

Tanica Powell, Senior Marketing and Communications Officer, Walk the Plank

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Diversity EDI Equity Inclusion Outdoor
Resource type: Case studies | Published: 2024