Southampton organisations to reveal pledges towards a city of inclusivity


10 Dec, 2021

Organisations across Southampton are set to reveal their strategies to help inclusivity in the city after attending a series of workshops delivered by Southampton 2025 and the John Hansard Gallery.

The Inclusion Workshop series was launched earlier this year in response to the wider consultation for the UK City of Culture 2025 bid process.

Sessions saw local businesses and cultural organisations come together to develop meaningful pledges to promote and develop inclusivity across Southampton and its organisations.

After months of careful consultation and reflection, the participating organisations will meet on Monday, 13th December, to share plans of how they will create achievable targets to increase their inclusivity, openness and accessibility. Pledges will be revealed, and organisations will work together to reach a shared goal for the city.

Those attending will include: GO! Southampton, University of Southampton, Solent University, Hampshire Constabulary, Mayflower Theatre, the National Oceanography Centre, NHS Solent Trust, and Southampton City Council. All took part in the set of workshops in January.

Under the guidance of Inclusion consultant, Dr Jan McKenley, the workshops reflected the lived experiences of those not yet adequately represented in the cultural and corporate organisations across the city. The voices of these underrepresented groups were a significant part of the process.

Southampton 2025 Bid Director, Claire Whitaker OBE said: It is vital that our bid is fully inclusive and represents all of Southampton’s diverse communities. We are looking forward to hearing the Inclusion pledges from organisations across the city from a huge range of sectors, which will demonstrate the changes they wish to make during our UK City of Culture journey. We started by listening to some of the communities who have been involved in this work for many years, through a series of discussions and in the subsequent workshops, have been hugely encouraged by the ambition, generosity, and collaboration from

organisations across Southampton. This is important work and an exciting day for the UK City of Culture bid and for the city.”


Woodrow Kernohan, Director of John Hansard Gallery, said:

“These Inclusion Workshops have been extremely important for John Hansard Gallery and University of Southampton, as our shared aims are to create an inclusive community that celebrates diversity within our everyday lives. It has been a real privilege to be a participating partner in the programme with Dr Jan McKenley, Ajay Chhabra, Claire Whitaker and the Southampton 2025 bid team, working together to shape pledges towards a more equitable, inclusive cultural city.”

Based on the results of the 2011 Census, Southampton has a growing diverse population – with residents coming from more than 55 countries. More than 22% of the population are non-White British, while the most common language spoken outside of English is Polish, accounting for 3.6% of the total population – and 9.5% of the 25-34 age category.

In more recent statistics, a 2021 Southampton school pupil census revealed that 149 different languages are spoken in the city’s schools, with Polish, Panjabi and Urdu being the top three languages spoken outside of English.