Success stories

Sage Gateshead

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Sage Gateshead is a music centre and charity in the North-East, and one of the largest cultural organisations in the country. It is a young organisation founded in 2004 with two core principles – excellence and inclusion.

This has meant that diversity and inclusion is a fundamental part of the organisation and the way they operate. These founding principles feed directly into all the programmes, activities, and roles and responsibilities of the organisation.

Sage Gateshead discovered that its artist development programme was not recruiting candidates from less privileged backgrounds. In fact, only 8% of the last cohort came from a lower socio-economic background. To make the programme more inclusive, Sage Gateshead added a checklist of lower socio-economic indicators to the programme call-out and encouraged anyone that identified with them to apply. The list included factors such as receiving free school meals, having experienced homelessness, and being the first in the family to attend university.

The programme still remained open to all backgrounds but sought to appeal more to underprivileged artists. As a result, 75% of applicants for the next intake came from working-class backgrounds, and Sage Gateshead was able to ensure that the successful applicants were representative of all the applications it received.

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Comedian Rob Beckett has spoken up about the class divide in comedy and his heroes "imagining what a working-class person’s life is."

13/10/2021

Rob reflects many working class people’s experiences entering the creative world, including being unable to work for free.

We know the creative industries are heavily skewed towards hiring and progressing people from more privileged backgrounds. But it is vital they stay in tune with and reflect their audiences.

Our Creative industries toolkit is designed to help the industry be more #CreativeAndDiverse. Take a look 👇

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