In conversation: Bea Udeh with Darren Pih and Amy Rich

In conversation: Bea Udeh with Darren Pih and Amy Rich


Bea Udeh, the Arts Marketing Association's Head of Diversity in conversation with Darren Pih, Harewood House and Amy Rich, Communities and Campaigns Officer at the Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights (CRER) before their session at Inclusivity and Audiences Day 2024.

Bea Udeh: How would you explain your style of leadership to the delegates?  Many of the arts, heritage and cultural marketing professionals in the room have experience of being lead, but not have your insight of leadership.

Darren Pih: Harewood House is a heritage organisation with a challenging history and a 30 year commitment to inclusive programming and education. My leadership style builds upon this context and foundation, borne from an absolute conviction in the value of embedding inclusivity and equity across all our programmes.

Meaningful cultural change must be accessible, community-led and audience focused. It must lead to a de-centring of old hierarchies. My approach is to set a clear direction and work with teams in a collaborative, respectful and empathetic manner.

Amy Rich: Our organisation focuses on eliminating racial discrimination and systems of oppression so we consider the ways in which people are often systematically deprioritised. We are a very small team of 8 people who, rather than specialising in different areas, often work collaboratively on projects and publications. So on a personal level I don’t lead others, but rather work to everyone’s strength and focus on community decision making and access.

Bea Udeh: What do you see as your organisation's challenges over the next 10 years as team dynamics change with increasing diverse appointments?

Darren Pih: A major challenge for Harewood and the sector is staff retention. Sustaining change and embedding inclusion, relevance and resilience within our programme now and into the future is absolutely essential. The precariousness of funding also presents challenges, especially for an organisation such as Harewood House which relies upon public funds to deliver its programme.

Amy Rich: As we are an anti-racist organisation we mostly comprise of people from different racial and cultural backgrounds. It can be challenging to balance lived experience with organisational and professional experience and to ensure people are able to progress in their roles while honouring the roots of anti-racist campaigning.

Bea Udeh: Thinking creatively, but essentially, if this session was a part of your nutritious everyday diet which vitamin, fruit or veg would it be and why - or what function or benefit does your 'session' provide to you, your organisation.

Darren Pih: My everyday diet includes Vitamin C, which is present in citrus fruit. The cultural sector is akin to a living organism. Vitamin C contributes to healthy skin, blood and bones. It also helps with healing, which is a metaphor for the acts of community building within organisations with colonial histories such as Harewood House.

Amy Rich: This session is like Vitamin D, found in sunlight, it promotes growth of understanding audiences and remodelling the approach when needed. It helps foster a healthy and inclusive environment.

Bea Udeh: What is the most important thing you want to leave with the audience?

Darren Pih: As cultural producers and facilitators, we belong to a continuum that has embedded essential and positive changes within the arts sector and across society at all levels. We have a duty to make the diverse breadth of our collective art and culture relevant to the widest audience. It is essential to acknowledge the achievements so far and to visualise what an inclusive programme looks like for all audiences, now and in the future.

Amy Rich: Histories of Black and minority ethnic communities are all over the UK, and they are having an impact on our lives today. Without the knowledge of these continuities and the structural oppressions that still exist, we cannot understand the world around us today and try to change it for the better.  

Head and shoulders Bea Udeh  Head and shoulders Darren Pih Amy Rich head and shoulders

Bea Udeh                                  Darren Pih                                 Amy Rich

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Diversity Equity Inclusion
Resource type: Articles | Published: 2024