Diversity and Inclusion
This discussion guide is designed to get you and your colleagues learning and talking about racism. This guide forms part of a six-week Black Lives Matter Discussion Group series that we had internally at Hive Learning. We’ve published this guide so you can use it to have honest, uncomfortable and entirely necessary conversations about racism with your team, too.
When it comes to heavy topics like fighting injustice, art can seem like less meaningful work on the surface. At worst, art is seen as a distraction from the “real” work at hand.
In answer to any skeptics, we think this viral tweet says it best:
This discussion guide looks at three different forms of cultural expression that deal with themes of protest, injustice, community, or the Black experience.
Here’s what you’ll need:
Time: 1 hour (plus 30-45 mins to watch, listen to and view the resources)
Resources: Key resources, discussion questions, anything you usually need for any remote joiners
This guided discussion will:
⚡ Introduce you to different kinds of art activism (through paintings, music and a mini documentary about London’s Carnival)
⚡ Give your team the chance to share how art has been part of their antiracism journey
⚡ Encourage you to think about the benefits and downsides to art about racial injustice
📺 Key resource 1: Notting Hill Carnival mini documentary (8 mins)
🎶 Key resource 2: A song called “Strange Fruit”, sung by Billie Holliday (3 mins)
🎨 Key resource 3: Sixty paintings, “The Migration series” by Jacob Lawrence (15 mins+)
🔗 Link: https://lawrencemigration.phillipscollection.org/the-migration-series
Questions to think about and discuss
💡Since Notting Hill Carnival was founded 55 years ago, the UK has become much more multicultural — and so has Carnival. Do you think that’s a good or bad thing? Have you been before? What did you think? Were you aware it has political roots?
💡 Had you heard the song Strange Fruit before? Did you understand its meaning? What does it make you feel or understand? How is the impact different compared to learning about lynchings through factual accounts?
💡 Did you know about The Great Migration before? What was it like to see that history told through this painting series? Did anything about the style, metaphors or motifs strike you? In general, do you think paintings are powerful pieces of protest art compared to music and carnivals?
💡 Do you have to analyze and ‘get’ art about race, community, and justice for it to be valuable? When it is valuable, what forms can that value take?
💡 Are there any cons to art about racial injustice? (either making it, taking it in or its broader impact)
💡 It’s clear that art can confront and challenge injustice. But can art heal or create positivity? How does it/can it do so? Examples are welcome!
One week before
✅ Send out an email and calendar invitation including the link and discussion questions.
One day before
✅ Send a reminder to everyone to watch, listen to and view and key resources before the session. Note down some of your own thoughts which you can share to prompt others to do the same.
On the day
✅ Send a follow-up email to thank participants and to re-share the resources and questions with anyone who couldn’t attend.
Each week, we dip into the unanswerable, nuanced and gray areas of inclusion and offer, not answers, but inklings.
This resource was taken from our Inclusion Works programme, which was created with a network of more than +100 diverse contributors and advisers. We learn from, amplify and cite creators of different races, ethnicities, genders and cognitive styles and continually work to represent all dimensions of diversity.
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