In June 2020, the SMA board of directors made a commitment to survey our members, to investigate training opportunities regarding Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, to hold broad discussions to understand lived experiences of inequality and to work with partners to better include those who are under-represented in our industry.
To start the journey, we formed a board working group around Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and our first objective was to create a survey to find out about our current membership. After weeks of researching and planning in October 2020 we put out the “Who We Are” Membership Survey which had 309 responses.
We would like to thank all SMA members who took the time to fill out the survey.
The “Who We Are Survey” is very important as it gives us data about our membership which has neither been sought nor collected until now. This survey gives us a better understanding of a large proportion of our membership. Since then, there might not seem to have been much public activity around the survey or our work around Equality, Diversity and Inclusion but we can assure you there has been lots of work going on in the background. We are now analysing the data and from this it will help us develop new commitments towards a more inclusive and diverse workforce and to improve the SMA’s membership representation and outreach, helping and supporting those who are under-represented to bring their talent to the Stage Management profession.
We are in the process of planning the next steps of our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion journey and we are looking at a number of ways to ensure our members get a chance to feed into the conversations about our actions and commitments moving forward. It’s important to us that SMA members can feel empowered to contribute to these conversations and have a voice.
In the coming weeks we will be releasing more information about our plans and how you can get involved. The next stage on our journey is to hold a series of open discussions to better understand different lived experiences of inequality. These discussions will be focused around different topics and will be both a safe space and a space to listen and learn. We are also wanting to open up our EDI working group to non-board members, especially to those who are currently not represented and are also reviewing some of our SMA communications.
As part of our next steps to ensure the wider membership and other groups have a voice, Arran Pallan recently attended a The SM Nest drop-in session. Arran gave an update on our work around EDI and future plans. This was also a chance for Arran to hear from the keen members of the network and how they would like to contribute. This will be an ongoing relationship with The SM Nest to ensure we are listening to a range of voices and ideas.
We want to make sure we are making meaningful and sustainable changes which can be embedded into our practice. The SMA are committed to making practical change and would like a membership which reflects our society, inclusive of ethnicity, class, disability, gender, sexual orientation and caring responsibilities.
We look forward to continuing our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion journey.
Arran Pallan on behalf of the SMA Board of Directors and EDI Working Group