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Peer to Peer

Transcript of Video: 'My name is Nick White, and I am the Operations Manager and Diversity Officer at Gilford’s Yvonne Arnauld Theatre in the south east of England. I came up with a project called Peer to Peer about a year and a half ago. Peer to Peer was born because I went to the Arts Council’s Respond diversity workshops and I was sat there thinking, how can we best apply diversity to our theatre? And the information that I found most relevant was from the people who were sat around the room, and these were people who the Arts Council funded, regularly funded organisations and I was sat there thinking, how can we get these people in a room together? How can we get them sharing information? I went away from that, and I sat down and wrote a proposal which I then handed in to the Arts Council, and this proposal was called Peer to Peer, which encouraged people to sit in an open and sort of Chartham house rules format where people could say what they felt, say what their fears were, say what was successful, say what wasn’t working for them, and this was called Peer to Peer. Now I’m involved in Peer to Peer, I managed to get support from the Arts Council, from Arts & Business, we also had support from Audience Development Southeast, and from that we set up a steering group, which included people from organisations, so we could sit down and work out what was actually relevant to us, and what hindered us and what helped us, and what we really wanted to concentrate on in workshop sessions. This led us to work on things like governance. We have a specific issue in our organisation where we don’t really feel the governance of our organisation reflects the diversity of the work that we’re actually putting forward, so hopefully Arts & Business would help us develop a workshop plan which would give us a few ideas and give us some examples from other organisations as to how we could develop the diversity of our Board. That was just one example of Peer to Peer. Now Peer to Peer developed quite naturally and organically. When we sent the Peer to Peer workshop on the road, and each workshop was evaluated, it was monitored and it was assessed and from that we developed the next workshop. Hopefully Peer to Peer will then develop and really whittle down to what people would really want to look at and really want to concentrate on. After the workshops we all sat together, and as with any different working plan or any different set of workshops. I was very keen to make sure that Peer to Peer stayed alive so I continued to work on it and everyone on my initial, I think it was 96 contacts on my initial contacts sheet, kept receiving emails from me, they received the evaluations, the report on Peer to Peer and any further information that people wanted to share, we were able to work that out in a very safe network environment. Peer to Peer now, my absolute aim for Peer to Peer, is that it disappears. That may seem slightly weird that I want it to disappear, but as with everything that you should have in a diversity action plan, I want it to be embedded into the way that everyone works. Therefore if Peer to Peer is not around in 5 years time, I consider it to be a success. If things and workshops like Peer to Peer are around in 5 years time then I don’t think it’s been a success because we’re still going round and round and round again and the idea is to make sure that what we do we embed into any organisation.'