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Anti-Racism Case Study: How We Recruit and Support Our Team

Museums Galleries Scotland is striving to be an anti-racist organisation, and we will share the approaches we have taken to embed anti-racism in our work.

This case study is by Helen Raggett, Senior Resources Manager.

The way we approach human resources at Museums Galleries Scotland is central to our organisational commitment to anti-racism: our approaches to training, recruitment, and HR are key to making sure that our organisational culture supports anti-racism, and that all our staff are empowered to make positive change in their areas of work. Our anti-racism work goes beyond statutory reporting and annual training. Instead, we want to embed anti-racism in the ongoing support we give all our staff to work in a fair and equitable way.

Human Resources

We are committed to supporting and encouraging diversity and inclusion across our workforce and Board of Trustees. We regularly analyse our staff demographics through data provided by staff within our HR system, and our trustee demographics through an anonymous online survey.  

In 2022 we have carried out a more in-depth survey to collect equalities data from staff and trustees to help us better understand the overall picture of our workforce and Board. We will use analysis of data to inform our recruitment practices, ensure that all staff have access to development opportunities throughout their careers, and understand where barriers to inclusion may exist so we can continue to make changes. 

We are developing our staff behavioural competencies to explicitly include anti-racism across the competencies and supporting staff to reflect on what anti-racist practice can look like in relation to their own areas of work, and personal development. We will share these online and expect that this will be ready in August 2022.  

We recognise that competencies are not necessarily a sign of change; further work will be ongoing to make sure that these are used within our team’s objectives, work planning, and performance reviews. We will take advice on how we can make these types of policy changes into practical change, working with appropriate external partners and consultants to develop these commitments into measurable plans. Our intention in this work is that anti-racism will be embedded in MGS workplans and staff development moving forward.

Curating Public Unrest (November 2020) on displaying, managing, and interpreting objects with high symbolic links to anti-racism movements, with guest speaker Ray Barnett from Bristol City Council.

These sessions have sought to highlight good practice from across the museums sector in areas that are new for many museums. Across the sessions, we have deliberately avoided expressing an authoritative voice from the perspective of a development body: we are learning alongside Scotland’s museums during these peer support sessions.


Our recruitment practices are designed to be inclusive, complying with and going beyond the Equality Act. We use a blind recruitment process for shortlisting and consider our advertising for each role to try and actively attract a wider pool of applicants.  

All job descriptions include a person specification designed to value skills gained across a wide range of experiences. We have transparent processes which are described in our recruitment materials and staff involved in recruitment are given guidance on this. The application and interview process gives candidates the opportunity to demonstrate their skills in a range of ways relevant to the role.  

We collect (voluntary) equalities data from job applicants to understand demographic information about who is applying to individual roles, and how that translates to interview shortlists. This information is processed entirely separately from the recruitment process, and we are using it to inform our recruitment practices to try and reach and attract as wide a pool of talent as possible.  

We will include our anti-racism commitment setting out what this means for staff, within our recruitment materials.

Staff Training

We have a dedicated budget for staff training, which has included anti-racism and race awareness training regularly since 2020. This will continue to be a core element of our staff development programme, as we explore the best ways to empower our staff to work in an anti-racist way, and to support anti-racism within the Scottish museums and galleries sector.  

All our training is evaluated for effectiveness and impact. Recently, we have begun to use this resource developed by the Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights (CRER), to better understand how we can select training providers as based on externally set criteria for delivering effective anti-racism training.  

In the last 2 years, training for our team has included formal group sessions covering anti-racism, critical whiteness, human rights-based approaches, and understanding equalities legislation, delivered by appropriately qualified external organisations and individuals. We have embedded regular, ongoing internal discussions and reflection work in our fortnightly all-staff sessions, which seek to support staff to reflect on their own perspectives on anti-racism and to share concerns and support needs.  

We recognise that training without senior-management commitment is not meaningful, and we have implemented a specific programme for our senior team. This has involved externally delivered training, facilitated work on how to challenge and interrogate the status quo within our work, and specific sessions focused on anti-racist planning.  

We will encourage and support the professional development of individuals, teams, and the organisation, in line with robust anti-racist principles.