Monday, August 09, 2004


"Leading Bristol art institution Arnolfini's controversial plan to exclude white candidates from a post of Curatorial Fellow has been successfully challenged by civil liberties pressure group Liberty and Law [L&L following an investigation by the Commission for Racial Equality [CRE].

L&L director Gerald Hartup had written to CRE chair Trevor Phillips on 8 April requesting him to ask Arnolfini to freeze its recruitment process while his legal department investigated the legality of the gallery's action and its impact on good race relations. Mr Hartup also made a direct request to Arnolfini to freeze the appointment process to allow it to think again about its duty to be an equal opportunities employer and to take into consideration the opinions of the community....

The gallery's recruitment policy had tried to make use of the provisions of the 1976 Race Relations Act that allows the use of a colour bar to address under-representation of racial minorities in any particular employment area by allowing employers to make special training facilities available to them to compete for such employment.

Liberty and Law argued that restricting the post to African, Asian and Caribbean curators was not justified under Section 37 of the Race Relations Act because the job, to curate an exhibition on Blaxploitation, the African-American film genre of the 1960s and 1970s, was clearly not a training post but a substantive one as its job description and salary grade [Grade 5 œ18,889 - œ21,408] made clear. Liberty and Law argued that far from being a training position it was the sort of job which ambitious curators would be delighted to undertake.....

Working with the CRE in 1994 Mr Hartup, then with the Freedom Association, successfully prevented the BBC from implementing a similar Section 37 scheme to recruit a Senior Radio Producer and a Television Producer that the Corporation had claimed were traineeships".

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