Equality, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion - Northern School of Contemporary Dance

Equality, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

Equality & Diversity statement

It starts here…

Equality. Equity. Diversity. Inclusion.

These values have been the bedrock of the School since its inception in 1985. At that time Nadine Senior and colleagues made it their mission to share the transformative power of dance with the local communities of Chapeltown.

As the organisation continues to grow and change, just as the world around us has, the core value of ‘positive transformation for all’ remains with us. We work to remove barriers, open up opportunities, celebrate difference, challenge discrimination and champion a culture of creativity. This underpins our work across all areas of the organization.

We recognise the power of listening and responding to the voices of as many people as possible.

We actively seek to engage with underrepresented groups to achieve our vision of a fair society where every community thrives.

We strive to create a place where everyone is welcome.

We invite everyone to join us in a journey towards positive change, a journey towards equity for all. Working together from within our organisation, making ourselves accountable for change for the better in the world around us. No matter your ethnicity, gender, race, (dis)ability, religion or sexual orientation we value you. It starts here…

“NSCD is working across all its departments and core business towards celebrating diversity and working to achieve the creative potential in all our students.  This is at the heart of our practice and is respectful of the home we have in Chapeltown in Leeds.  We are committed to training and supporting the most talented students, regardless of ethnicity, gender identity, disability, age, sexual orientation, and religion. This includes working to support our staff and students against racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, ageism, antisemitism*, islamophobia** and all other forms of discrimination. Applicants to NSCD are chosen solely based on their talent and potential to develop the skills required for their chosen profession. The school aims to exceed its legal obligations regarding equality and diversity.” – Darren Carr, Vice Principal & Director of Studies

*NSCD has adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism. https://www.holocaustremembrance.com/resources/working-definitions-charters/working-definition-antisemitism .

** NSCD has adopted the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on British Muslims definition of Islamophobia: https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/cdp-2021-0140/

Our Commitments

We make the following commitments to ensure, Equality, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion are a key part of who we are and what we do. We will hold ourselves to account and ask that everyone who works with us do the same.

We will:

1. Listen and engage

We seek to understand and respect the views of our diverse community, including staff, students and our partners. We will listen, talk and learn from one another to create an inclusive culture underpinned by equitable action. We will seek new partners and networks to inform all aspects of our work to ensure we are reaching underrepresented groups.

2. Cultivate a culture of awareness and responsiveness

We aim to ensure students and staff engage in relevant and current training to raise awareness, deepen understanding and develop new skills among our school community. We will provide the culture for everyone to participate and thrive.

3. Challenge

We will actively challenge language and behaviour, such as bullying and harassment, that causes harm and discomfort for individuals or groups. We will provide support to identify and address micro-aggressions, enabling constructive dialogue that builds positive relationships.

4. Represent

We will ensure our learning curriculum and performance programme is inspirational in its drive to reflect and celebrate the diversity of our world. We will provide equity of opportunity to ensure underrepresented groups see themselves within all aspects of teaching and performance.

5. Monitor and share

We will build a picture of who we work with; participants, students, staff and governors to understand under or over representation and take action to build a better balance to reflect the diverse world we live in. We will publish our EDI strategy, commitments and continual actions to ensure we are meeting the commitments and actions to drive forward a more equitable, diverse and inclusive community at Northern School.

Our work focusses on the protected characteristics as defined in the UK equality legislation UK Equality Act 2010:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender reassignment
  • Marriage & civil partnership
  • Pregnancy & maternity
  • Race including colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin
  • Religion or belief
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation

We recognise these areas, alongside other characteristics including socio-economic and geographical location intersect and form our identity.

Our Policy & Action Strategy

The NSCD Equality, Equity Diversity & Inclusion Policy and Action Strategy underpin our approach and priorities to our work in this area:

Equality, Equity, Inclusion & Diversity Policy

Action Strategy: Equality, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

Inclusivity Protocols & Procedures

As part of the School’s Inclusive Cultures Strategy, the school has  developed a series of Inclusivity Policies and Protocols.  The Protocols have been designed to embed and support an inclusive environment for all members of the school, from staff to students and beyond. There are several sections to the Inclusivity Policy and Protocols, including:

This is an on-going project and additional policies and protocols will be continually developed.


Equality, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Committee

The Schools EEDI strategy, commitments and action plan are championed and monitored by the NSCD Equality, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Committee, chaired by CEO & Principal, Sharon Watson.

EDI Terms of Reference


Statement from Sharon Watson MBE, chair of the EEDI committee

“It’s been over a year since headline statements regarding the death of George Floyd in the US were palpable here in the UK. There has never been a time in the history of our existence as a school where the need to be vocal about equality and inclusion has been greater.

As Chair of the EDI committee it has felt necessary to add to the conversation and bring our voices as Northern School of Contemporary Dance to a place where our collective understanding informs the possibility of change.

We have a responsibility to act accountably and remain authentic. Contentious subjects are given space and time to be discussed. Conversations are having an impact not just internally but across the organisations who feed us a Higher Education Institution with a creative and cultural remit.

Identity is fluid and should remain so. BAME as an acronym takes away our ability to make the specificity of our lived experiences visible.

None of us exist within one characterisation or set of characteristics. Here at NSCD we embrace intersectionality, which gives us a lens through which to better understand our behaviours and create vision, statement, policies and action.

We are very aware of structural inequalities which systemically prevent organisational change. We need to work hard so as to not lose momentum, to stay focused and be more accountable than ever before, evolving as a school with tangible outcomes.”