In 2021 LABBS added a new position to the LABBS board of directors - Diversity and Inclusion Director, Natasha Nickson:
The Diversity and Inclusion Director is able to support clubs with recruitment materials, attends D&I-related training, and works directly with choruses when needed. Their aim is to support the growth of D&I efforts within LABBS at every level, from individual members to worldwide partnerships. To contact Natasha for any support, queries, or information please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
LABBS has the following diversity-related policy currently in place:
Natasha has created a Diversity and Inclusion Representative role for clubs to incorporate as part of their committees or as a supporting role in their chorus should they choose to. This role can be molded to fit your chorus needs and is a great step towards creating an inclusive space.
Diversity in Harmony
Natasha has teamed up with members from BABS and Sweet Adelines Region 31 to form a D&I group, Diversity in Harmony, under the Barbershop in Harmony umbrella. This will allow for D&I to progress across the three UK organisations cohesively and the collaboration will allow for resources and workloads to be shared. The group consists of Natasha Nickson, Emma Riley, Laurence Hasson, Barrington Sowden, Devi Joshi, and John Shipley.
Diversity in Harmony Mission Statement:
Diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice are values that are fundamental to our ambition to achieve a Musically Inclusive Britain, that will sit at the core of our organisational processes, practices, and culture.
Diversity in Harmony Goals and Initiatives
Diversity in Harmony has been set up to develop policies and awareness training, aimed at delivering on that aspiration and attracting and retaining those from under-represented parts of society, in order that singers from all parts of society can feel welcomed and safe.
Key tasks of the team are to:
- Consider how we may best measure and monitor Barbershop membership, including all aspects of identity and diversity.
- Assemble data (where people choose to opt-in) that will help us to compare our membership makeup with UK society as a whole and consider whether this should be on a regional or national basis.
- Review and develop an understanding and appreciation of good inclusivity practice elsewhere in amateur music and choral singing.
- Develop strategies that will create a welcoming and accepting space for minority groups, to encourage engagement with our membership growth and retention.
- Where appropriate, conducting consultations with members of minority identity groups to identify opportunities for improvement and help identify useful recruitment and retention strategies.
- Co-ordinate training programs and/or workshops for club members and volunteers to enhance the understanding and appreciation of diversity and inclusion issues.
- Work with Club Chairs and local teams at developing and implementing local diversity strategies and initiatives, which empower minority voices and facilitate education and understanding within the local club and community.
- Help management of organisations and clubs to develop an understanding of, and criteria to determine what are and are not, appropriate songs for our repertoire, i.e. considering the historical and/or cultural context of songs to avoid offense.
- Establish what are the unconscious barriers to best practice and inclusivity that may exist in the organisation and make recommendations to challenge and improve our culture.
- Review all policies and procedures, ensuring that these are all-inclusive.
- Write and deliver periodic reports on progress as agreed.