Diversity & inclusion

Southbank Centre aims to be a truly inclusive organisation - a place where everyone can see themselves. We’ve made some progress, but it is not enough. We are committed to doing better and we will hold ourselves accountable

We want our workforce, visitors, artists and the communities we serve to feel they belong here, and know they are valued and respected. This is vital - our purpose is to present great cultural experiences that bring people together - something we can only achieve if everyone feels welcome. 

Where we aim to be

Given the renewed urgency of embracing anti-racism in all we do, we are currently in the process of reviewing our targets and action plans and will publish them soon.

Read our anti-racism statement

Our proposed route map to deliver change:

  1. Listen - we will seek out, listen to and respect the opinions and experiences of our BAME staff, artists and audiences as they share their views about where Southbank Centre has failed.
  2. Reflect - we will learn from the discussion we have and scrutinise everything we currently do - how we behave, how we recruit, how we train and how we operate. We will honestly and openly call out areas where we fall short or have let people down and acknowledge where and how we need to change.
  3. Plan - we will publish a clear diversity, equality and inclusion action plan with goals, milestones and challenging targets.
  4. Implement - we will ensure everything we do is judged against the targets and objectives in our plan and we will start to change the culture of our organisation immediately. 
  5. Measure - we will hold ourselves accountable to the achievement of the targets we set. We will publish clear and regular information about the progress we are making and we will continue to stretch our targets and our thinking.



By attracting people to work for us from a broad range of backgrounds with diverse attitudes, opinions and beliefs, we look at the world with fresh eyes and find new ways of doing things.

We need to be truly representative of society at all levels of our organisation and we acknowledge there is more work to be done. There is no quick fix, however we have a strategy to help us achieve our goals.

Where we are now

  • 21.3% of our workforce identify as BAME. This is up from 16% in 2016 and puts us in the top 10% of Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisations. Read the Equality, Diversity and the Creative Case report.
  • 14% of senior managers (Heads of Departments and the Executive team) are BAME.
  • 25% of our appointments in the last financial year were BAME.
  • Further information on the breakdown of our staff by other protected characteristics, and BAME staff by pay level is available here.

What we’re doing

We welcome applications from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) candidates and D/deaf and disabled people, as they are currently under-represented across the sector as a whole and within our workforce as well as candidates from different socioeconomic groups. We seek to achieve gender equality.  

We have a range of initiatives and programmes including apprenticeships; work experience programmes with local schools and charities; our volunteering programme; structured paid internships and work placements in conjunction with education partners; and targeted development programmes to support internal progression for staff. These include our Bring Out Potential programme, to help junior members of our front of house team develop business skills and Accelerate, specifically to propel D/deaf, disabled or BAME people into management roles.

We have always been committed to showcasing the originality and artistic vision of disabled artists. At the heart of this, is our Unlimited Festival, a biennial festival established in 2012 and created to support established, emerging and international disabled artists across all artforms. We recognise there is room for us to improve and we are committed to doing this with the help and involvement of disabled artists, staff and audiences. 


Our record so far

Southbank Centre was named Overall Winner - Small Employer of the Year at the Employers Network for Equality & Inclusion (enei) Awards 2017 in recognition of our efforts in building a truly representative workforce. Southbank Centre also won the award for most Representative Workforce, demonstrating the success of our diversity strategy.

More about our enei award

In 2018, we were named one of the Times Top 50 Employers for Women for the fourth year in a row. We have also been named in Business in the Community's (BITC) Best Employers for Race list. We also won two awards at BITC’s Workplace Gender Equality Awards 2016 – the Engaging Women award and the Game Changer award.  

More about the BITC Responsible Business Awards

We are proud supporters of the Ban the Box campaign which seeks to create fair opportunities for ex-offenders.  We do not request information about unspent criminal convictions on our application forms, in order to remove a barrier which prevents ex-offenders from applying for roles. 

More about Ban the Box

We have pledged to tackle mental health stigma in the workplace through the Time to Change initiative.  Our action plan includes mental health awareness training for employees and managers; a review of our policies on supporting mental health; wellbeing events; and social groups including our popular lunchtime knitting club.