Tech in Culture EDI Alliance

Author: Ash Mann

This week we launched a new initiative, the Tech in Culture EDI Alliance.

This new group is aimed at signposting, sharing and discussing useful, insightful and effective information, programmes, work, and ideas across the range of considerations that EDI encompasses.

It is aimed at helping organisations who are ‘culture sector adjacent’ (suppliers, agencies, consultants etc) as well as cultural organisations who may be interested in resources that aren’t directly sector-specific.

This Alliance does not seek to redo or replace important work that has already been done. We are focused on identifying, sharing and amplifying practices that make a difference.

“We can only make progress on equality, diversity and inclusion by connecting the dots, rather than continually reinventing the wheel. Whilst it’s true that we will only make meaningful change if we move together, a collective effort is not the same as a generic effort; we need to work collaboratively to improve diversity, without losing sight of the unique challenges faced by different companies.

The Tech in Culture EDI Alliance launched by Substrakt is a great example of how business leaders can take a tailored approach to a collective problem, making use of the resources that are already available and amplifying what’s most relevant in their industry. Ultimately it is projects like this one, which build on existing progress, that will ensure EDI efforts can make a tangible, authentic difference.”

Debbie Forster MBE, CEO – Tech Talent Charter

Find out more: techincultureedialliance.org

Got a question or want to get involved? Drop me a line, ash@substrakt.com.

Where it all began

In the summer of 2019, shortly after I became Managing Director at Substrakt, I approached Lexie Papaspyrou. I wanted to focus on improving the diversity of the team at Substrakt and knew that Lexie, through her work as an EDI Consultant with organisations like the Tech Talent Charter and others, would have lots of useful advice and guidance.

Whilst I knew what I wanted to do, I didn’t really have a good idea of how best to go about it – what pace of change this should try to achieve, or what the key challenges needing solving were. I knew there was a lot I didn’t know, but it wasn’t necessarily easy to figure out where the gaps were or how to go about filling them.

How we got here

We are Tech Talent Charter signatories which gave us access to some really useful, practical tools and advice.

But the issue we ran into (knowing that we regularly need to hire folks with culture sector experience) was that the advice for organisations like us – organisations who work with and for the cultural sector but aren’t cultural organisations – was almost non-existent.

We sit at the nexus of two sectors who both have a way to go on diversity and representation –  technology and culture – and it was difficult to envisage how we could effectively move the needle from that situation. Where should we start?

Where we are now

Over the following year and a half the work we’ve done with Lexie has been revelatory. Whilst most of our conversations, on the face of it, have been focused on recruitment, the things we’ve talked about have opened the door to wider conversations about organisational culture, tone of voice, what inclusivity means, how to be an effective ally and so much more.

So many of the insights Lexie has shared, and the advice she has given is stuff that, I believe, all organisations could benefit from. And this extends to the resources that Lexie regularly shares and other projects and initiatives she has pointed us towards.

I know from conversations with lots of other people who run businesses like ours that this sort of guidance, insight, and advice is something that many people are looking for but often they don’t know where to start.

So the Tech in Culture EDI Alliance is aimed at helping to bridge that gap and provide a starting point for people who are looking for information, resources, advice and guidance.

I’m really keen that this programme is shaped by the needs of its participants so get involved and help us work out what is useful and impactful.