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The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has today announced a new Partners Board is being created to support the work of the Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm.
A range of organisations, including statutory bodies and policy makers, are being invited to share their expertise with the Commission, which is being set up to review and improve diversity across London’s public realm.
The Mayor is creating the Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm to help ensure London’s achievements and diversity are suitably reflected. Statues, plaques and street names largely reflect Victorian Britain and the Commission will focus on increasing representation among Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities, women, the LGBTQ+ community and disabled people.
The Partners Board is being established to provide further knowledge and advice for the Commission on a range of areas including art, heritage, the voluntary and community sectors, diversity and the public realm.
Arts Council England, Black Cultural Archives, Historic England and Iniva (Institute of International Visual Arts) have been confirmed as the first organisations to join the new board, and more will be recruited in the coming months.
The Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm will be co-chaired by Deputy Mayor for Social Integration, Social Mobility and Community Engagement Dr Debbie Weekes-Bernard and Deputy Mayor for Culture and Creative Industries Justine Simons OBE, and an open call for up to 15 independent members is due to start next month.
Ahead of this recruitment, a draft terms of reference has been created to set out the Commission’s scope and role. This includes:
• Making recommendations on the commissioning of statues, memorials, blue plaques, commemorations, murals, street art, works on public hoardings, street names, pavements, and street furniture.
• Providing an overview of existing public art and the public realm in London.
• Creating best practice on commissioning works and how to assess, evaluate and approach contested heritage, including making recommendations for the addition of context to existing works, or their removal.
The Mayor is committed to ensuring that the capital’s history is celebrated and commemorated in the most appropriate way. Following his support for the installation of a statue of suffragist leader Millicent Fawcett in Parliament Square in 2018, Sadiq and his senior team have held discussions with council, community and arts leaders across the capital to assess the best way to improve diversity in the public realm.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “For too long our public spaces have neglected the achievements of many in our city. The range of people immortalised in our statues, memorials and buildings have left a restricted view of the past that fails to show our capital’s great diversity. It’s time for this to change. We must work together to tell the full story of our history. That’s why I’m setting up The Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm and why I’m delighted that our new Partners Board will share their range of expertise and knowledge to help bring about the change we need.”