Having founded the Diversity Alliance; a consultancy service supporting the events industry’s’ drive to become truly diverse, Gabrielle Austen Browne was asked to work on the Queens Jubilee Pageant. Here she shares the key learnings from the project.
What greater honour could there be as a diversity, equity and inclusion specialist in the events industry, than to be invited to work on one of the most momentous occasions in the global calendar?
This is what happened when Diversity Alliance was asked to consult on the social sustainability strategy for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Pageant. I immediately accepted, recognising that the Platinum Jubilee not only presented a perfect and timely moment to celebrate the rich diversity and diverse communities that exist within our country, but that it could also act as a blueprint for other events to take inspiration from in the future, particularly around the importance of demonstrating and monitoring representation, of collecting diversity, accessibility and inclusion data, as well as why it’s vital to measure the social impact of events.
Participation in the pageant was high with over 14,000 participants taking on a variety of roles including over 200 volunteers and thousands of crew and performers from all over the UK and Commonwealth. The aim was to be representative of the population and to create a positive impact on communities, ultimately leaving a legacy of equality, diversity and inclusion for all. However, it was important that the EDI ambitions were realistic and achievable and that we didn’t overstate what we could deliver, as media backlash for such a high profile legacy event was a concern, Too often I see fluffy diversity statements and policies without much substance, or diversity mentioned in the event pitch but not followed through in the event planning or pre/post event delivery, so it was vital that the pageant lived up to the aims communicated in the public-facing EDI statement and policy.
In addition to demonstrating diversity through representation, it was also important that the pageant culture was welcoming, safe and supportive, and that this inclusive culture was cultivated and upheld for and by all staff, volunteers, suppliers, partners and attendees of the event. To ensure inclusivity I developed a code of code of conduct which turned the pageant values into expected behaviours that would positively impact how people treated each other, interacted with others and influenced the overall experience of taking part in the event. I had some of the best feedback I could hope for when I was collecting my event accreditation: an American tourist approached the staff and asked who had written the code of conduct? He said it was a fantastic idea and that all events should include them.
Social outreach projects, community activities and initiatives were also delivered alongside key pageant partners. These were a vital element in ensuring the celebrations were accessible and generated a lasting social footprint.
- Engage with EDI specialists to help guide and deliver the strategy
- Decide how you will monitor your aims, objectives and outcomes
- Ensure you have an EDI policy that is meaningful and aspirational, but achievable.
- Reflect on why you need a particularset of measurements or data, and consider what you will do with the results
- If the benchmark you need doesn’t exist yet, still monitor your results as accurately as possible so that you can create your own benchmark to build on year on year. Share the results with the industry
- Develop meaningful and strategic partnerships that can help you deliver your goals