Announcing our anti-racism programme facilitators - Museums Association

Announcing our anti-racism programme facilitators

We’re delighted to announce the appointment of three facilitators to lead our new anti-racism programme for museums.

Cheryl Garvey, Julian Walker and Tara Munroe will develop the intensive participatory experience for five museums, with a programme of bespoke online workshops for museum managers and leaders to support the development of a cohort of anti-racist museums.

This scheme is a pilot and will be part of a wider programme of activities that seek to tackle institutional racism in the sector.  The programme will use techniques such as coaching, facilitation and peer learning to support organisations to embed the necessary changes for their institution to become anti-racist.

Applications to join the programme’s cohort will open on 4 March 2024.

Cheryl Garvey

Cheryl Garvey is Birmingham born and based, and has spent her career working in the charity and private sectors, holding executive and CEO roles for key local, regional and national charities.

Cheryl began her career in youth and community development practice and currently specialises in equalities, organisational and leadership development and facilitation. She works with a range of audiences, from large-scale public institutions to vibrant non-profit micro-businesses. Cheryl is trained in Deep Democracy and Process Work methodologies and is currently adding psychotherapy to her skills arsenal.

On her appointment, Cheryl said: “The work to realise an anti-racist culture future, the kind that is honest, disruptive, emergent and embodied, is difficult stuff but unbelievably rewarding when you see growth in self and system. I’m delighted to collaborate with the MA on this new and exciting programme. The sector’s role as custodians and architects of our collective histories has rarely been more acute.

“We make no promises regarding the protection of comfort or safety, for they are rarely deployed in service of the oppressed. We can promise a space full of compassion, commitment and an unerring ambition for each of our participants to leave the programme with greater confidence, capacity and courage to make anti-racism real.”

Julian Walker

Julian Walker began her career as a Home Office civil servant before the first Blair government. She served as a speechwriter to both Michael Howard and then Jack Straw, before leaving Whitehall in 2001 to become a self-employed consultant.

Over 15 years in public sector improvement – working in UK central government and in Afghanistan, Libya, Palestine, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Turkey, Tunisia, and Uganda – she learnt experientially of the global nature of white privilege; the long after-effects of colonialism; and the tendency for ‘help’ to come in a form that allows helpers to feel better about themselves more often than it helps the ‘helped’. She also learnt that the gap between political leaders’ ambitions and the systemic results they can achieve is a global phenomenon.

Since 2020 her work has focused on anti-racism learning and development for individuals, groups and organisations, working with brap and HR-rewired and as faculty on the NTL Global OD certificate programme.

Her critical examination of whiteness in service of anti-racism began 15 years ago when she was UK director of policy and research at Barnardo’s. As leader of the organisational race equality and diversity programme, she was given Peggy McIntosh’s ‘White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack’ by one of her team and challenged by the Black Staff Network to examine power and privilege, and never looked back.

Her work delivering anti-racism learning for the Museums Association feels like the culmination of all this experience, learning and passion for challenging injustice both globally and domestically.

About the programme, Julian said: “The work of dismantling systemic racism requires strong coalitions, between institutions and communities, across the sector and between individuals. It’s not easy for some to trust, or for others to become trustworthy. But we need to be able to develop authentic relationships between those who – historically and today – have received material and psychological benefits from colonialism and white supremacy, and those who have been marginalised, belittled and harmed.

“I am excited to have the opportunity to model what coalition looks like, and to help participants explore their own inner and outer work to make such collaboration a reality.”

Tara Munroe

Tara Munroe is the creative director of Opal22 Arts and Edutainment. Having trained as a curator and then working for a short time at Leicester Museum & Art Gallery, Tara moved on to form her own organisation within the cultural heritage sector to celebrate Black excellence in its entirety. Tara is also a diversity and anti-racism consultant for local authority and emergency services.

On the programme, Tara said: “I’m thrilled to be joining forces with the MA on this groundbreaking initiative. As curators and historians, we are quite simply breaking new ground across the museum sector as history and its narratives are being reviewed and reimagined.

“I have first-hand experience of the challenges and opportunities to progress anti-racism across our sector and never has there been more urgency in ensuring those holding power, responsibility and influence are supported and equipped to advance change. We aim for everyone to leave this programme with enhanced confidence, capabilities, and the courage to turn the ideals of anti-racism into reality.”