Image of square with title inclusivity and relevance

The people make it work view on ACE's Investment principle of inclusivity and relevance

We’ve gathered together the views of some of our team, some tools and approaches we use when we are supporting clients to explore these ideas, some examples of organisations that are epitomising this principle in some of their work, and some resources out in the world that we are finding useful.
Scroll to read, watch, download and use… give us a shout if we can help in any way.

Our take on this investment principle

Inclusivity and relevance is about creating a constant practice of listening, reflecting and responding to create an ever expanding culture of inclusion


Some thoughts and questions

For us inclusivity is about a constant striving and curiosity. A process of listening, noticing, being affected and making change. An inclusive organisation isn’t one that has the procedures on their shelf, but one that is affected by the constant evolution of our society. One which is reflecting on the barriers that others are experiencing and that it is putting in place, and then listening hard to understand what changes are needed to remove those barriers and create a more equitable environment. Relevance is about being essential for our audiences and communities for them to have a life well lived. It is a pretty horrifying truth that for a majority of the population they are more interested in mooching around a shopping centre (a shopping centre for fu$*s sake) than engaging in the work that the sector is offering, books, plays, music, poetry, objects, stories, experiences). This is a failure of relevance, and it’s also a failure of representation. The fastest way to exclude an audience could well be not to employ and listen to anyone from that community within your organisation… So I guess these topics are intimately connected. It seems to us that questions, curiosity, connection, a commitment to being  affected by others is at the heart of making progress in this area. Everyone’s culture needs to be made by everyone – and that means broadening who we include in our organisations, our governance, our volunteers, our commissions, our partners and our engagement work.



We’ve been thinking about some ways you might explore inclusivity and relevance. You might enjoy connecting with some of the ‘postcards to the future’ our podcast series last year on Culture Reset – including interviews with Sharmaine Lovegrove, Nina Simon, Bryony Kimmings, Farooq Chaudhry, Nato Thompson and Wesley Enoch.



We have been inspired by many organisations who have been demonstrating inclusivity and relevance in the way they are having a positive impact on the sector. Fierce, Sara and Zak at Birmingham Museums Trust, Bristol beacon, Aspex, WJCB, Coventry City of Culture programme, 64 Million artists


Views from our colleagues
(coming soon!)

people make it work is a collection of 60 freelance cultural workers, leaders in their fields. A selection of them share their views on inclusivity and relevance here. See more about our team here 



Some practical exercises and tools you might use to open up and explore dynamism with your leadership team, board or wider staff group.


Links (let us who you are finding useful too)

Some other resources we’ve found useful when we’ve been thinking about inclusivity and relevance. Incarts, Rising, Sour Lemons, Weston Jerwood diversity and inclusion recruitment toolkit and Actionaid’s Feminist Leadership.

Image of Associate Kamaljit Poonia, who helps lead our EDI work at people make it work