image of heart in watershed colours

Welcoming our Inclusion Associates

Posted on Wed 10 March 2021

We are delighted to announce the appointment of Aisha Thomas and Katie Donovan-Adekanmbi as our Inclusion Associates who will be joining Watershed for a fixed term consultancy from March – June.

Aisha and Katie will be working with all the teams on the development of our internal inclusion strategy and working culture and their appointment is a continuation of Watershed’s commitment and journey to be inclusive, which is also one of our key organisational values and is understood as both a social responsibility and a creative imperative. Our aim is to deliver and embed change and keep our promises and to build back up our organisation with intersectional inclusion at its heart and we are so pleased to have Aisha and Katie’s support and help.

Photo of Aisha Thomas and Katie Donovan-Adekanmbi

Pictured from left to right - Aisha Thomas and Katie Donovan-Adekanmbi

Through workshops and training sessions, Aisha and Katie will work with Watershed staff to help them develop their own department-specific inclusion targets and plans, they will also help to develop a new people strategy to address how to recruit, manage and appraise staff, and an inclusive language guide.

Both Bristol-based Aisha and Katie bring invaluable experience and expertise to support Watershed in this work. Aisha Thomas is an educational activist specialising in Equality, Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging (EDIB) with a specific focus on race and anti-racist practice. Aisha is also the founder of Representation Matters Ltd - which offers training, development and consultation in EDIB. Katie Donovan-Adekanmbi is the founder and Inclusion and Cohesion Specialist at BCohCo (Building Cohesive Communities) – who offer learning, development and consultation in diversity, inclusion, cohesion and equality.

Aisha and Katie said:

We are excited to be working with such a creative and innovative organisation. Watershed has made a public commitment, making it their mission to reimagine an 'Inclusive Culture' internally and externally. One that represents the communities they serve post-2020, here in Bristol and beyond. The beauty in this commitment, is that it goes beyond their employees and partners, to all stakeholders. It is Watershed's hope that everyone who interacts with them, feels a sense of inclusivity and belonging. We look forward to leaning into difficult conversations, sharing good practice and we hope that together, we can contribute to setting a higher standard for the sector.

Watershed CEO Clare Reddington says:

The process of appointing our Inclusion Asociates was a huge treat. We experienced such a breadth and depth of professional inclusion practice, a lot of which is centred in Bristol which is hugely exciting for the city. We were blown away by Aisha and Katie’s mixture of playfulness, rigour and detail and are really looking forward to using the time before we re-open our building to begin our work together.”

What we hope will be achieved:

  • Every department has a plan and targets for inclusion in their own work including recruitment, roles and departmental culture
  • All staff are engaged with developing the inclusion strategy
  • Inclusion best practice is embedded into recruitment and appraisal structures
  • Areas for development are identified and communicated to Executive Team who are clear on how to take the work forward

This work has been made possible with support from the Arts Council England Culture Recovery Fund. We will be updating on our progress and learning as we go through this process and will share and publish our reflections and learning online – you can find more information about Watershed’s approach and thinking here – watershed.co.uk/inclusion