Museum Detox, the network for museum and gallery workers who identify as of colour, has launched a hardship fund offering bursaries to its members after a survey revealed many have been disproportionately affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
At the time of writing, the network had raised £5,365 for its campaign, which will support those experiencing financial hardship through £150 bursaries. It has a Go Fund Me crowdfunding page, which is open to donations, and will allow it to offer support to as many people as possible.
“We surveyed our network to understand better how this situation is impacting Museum Detox members and how we could use our collective efforts and resources to support people during this time, as we already seen some concerning patterns around both health inequalities and work inequalities disproportionately affecting people of colour,” says Thanh Sinden, the chair of Museum Detox.
As well as being underrepresented in the sector generally, the survey sound BAME museum workers are often on fixed-term, entry-level contracts; zero-hour contracts working multiple jobs in the sector; or freelancing.“These are the people who we were at risk of losing in the sector – and the impact of coronovirus lockdown compounds these issues,” Sinden says. “The fund is an immediate way we can help and we leave been so heartened and overjoyed by the support from everyone who has donated or shared our campaign.
“It shows that we don’t have to figure this out alone and beyond this fund we have deeper work to do to support people of colour, not just to sustain but thrive in the sector. The sector support has been amazing and we certainly have a lot of allies to build a sector post-covid19 with diversity and inclusion very much integral to its future.”
Richard Sandell, director of the Research Centre for Museums and Galleries, University of Leicester, made an initial donation that helped start the campaign, and Museum Detox match-funded this through speaker and consultation fees that it undertakes as a committee.
It originally planned to offer bursaries to eight individuals, but this has been increased to 20 thanks to the level of donations received.
The treasurer of Museum Detox Charlotte Holmes, who also set up the fundraising page, says: “We've been blown away by the support the fund has received. We will be able to extend support to more people, and once we've reviewed the first round of requests we will have a better idea as to how we practically maximise the impact of the additional funds raised.”
Applications will be reviewed on a weekly basis. Any person of colour working in, with or for museums can apply by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org