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Inclusion Policy

Last updated: September 2023

Watershed strives to be inclusive, it is one of our key organisational values and is understood as both a social responsibility and a creative imperative.

We aim to deliver and embed change and keep our promises, and to build our organisation with intersectional inclusion at its heart. We promise to keep doing the work and sharing our progress, knowing that real change takes serious commitment. We will always welcome all feedback, ideas and challenges.

We believe that the strength of inclusion comes when we see us all as full and intersectional people. Systems need to change, not people. We work towards a company culture that everyone can bring their full selves to, and we invest in systems that correct for historic inequity and unconscious bias.

Investing in inclusion means investing in the time to do things properly. That means often balancing our urgency for change with time to research what has come before us, understand and unpick what systems hold us in place and think creatively about strategies that will build a road towards intersectional equity.

Our policy’s purpose

This policy sits alongside our Anti-harassment and bullying policy which includes detailed information on each protected characteristic, on what is considered discrimination and on our procedure for dealing with it.

  1. Provide equality, fairness and respect for all in our employment, whether temporary, part-time or full-time, and for those that we serve.
  2. Not unlawfully discriminate because of the Equality Act 2010 protected characteristics of:
    • age
    • disability
    • gender reassignment
    • marriage and civil partnership
    • pregnancy and maternity
    • race (including colour, nationality, and ethnic or national origin)
    • religion or belief
    • sex
    • sexual orientation
  3. Oppose and avoid all forms of unlawful discrimination in our working practices. This includes in:
    • pay and benefits
    • terms and conditions of employment
    • dealing with grievances and discipline
    • dismissal
    • redundancy
    • leave for parents
    • requests for flexible working selection for employment, promotion, training or other developmental opportunities

Our organisational commitments

  1. Watershed is a cultural organisation focussed on togetherness. We strive to produce accessible and inclusive experiences in our venue, online and across the world.
  2. Watershed seeks to be welcoming to everybody. Our operations teams and front of house staff receive regular training in accessibility and inclusion.
  3. We centre people with lived experiences in our work, and we work with partners who support us to do that. We believe in working with the partners who are already active in a specific community or group. We invest time and effort in supporting and growing other organisations rather than simply seeking to benefit ourselves.
    We acknowledge and celebrate that our communities are not homogenous, they have different beliefs and values.
  4. Watershed will encourage equality and inclusion in the workplace at all times.
  5. We are committed to an inclusive Watershed where all individuals are treated fairly and respectfully, have equal access to opportunities and resources, and can contribute fully to the organisation's success. Watershed is intersectional in our approach to inclusion in that we consider all protected characteristics, and also where these characteristics intersect.
  6. We strive to create a working environment free of bullying, harassment, victimisation and unlawful discrimination, promoting dignity and respect for all, and where individual differences and the contributions of all staff are recognised and valued. This commitment includes training managers and all other employees about their rights and responsibilities under this policy.
    We will ensure that all staff understand they, as well as the organisation, can be held liable for acts of bullying, harassment, victimisation and unlawful discrimination, in the course of their employment, against fellow employees, customers, suppliers and the public.
  7. Watershed employees who feel that they have been harassed, bullied, victimised or discriminated against as a result of a protected characteristic will have automatic recourse to Watershed’s Anti-Harassment and Bullying Policy. This policy includes the procedure for reporting and for investigations, which could potentially lead to our Disciplinary Procedure.
  8. Watershed maintains and extends a fair working environment for all employees through the development and implementation of HR policies and good practice to promote equal opportunities in employment at every stage.
    Our HR policies strive to ensure that no prospective or actual member of staff will be treated less favourably than any other. This applies to all aspects of Watershed’s employment practice from recruitment and pay to conduct at work and termination of employment.
  9. We will review employment practices and procedures when necessary to ensure fairness, and also update them and the policy to take account of changes in the law.
    Watershed recognises same sex partners as having the same rights and entitlements as heterosexual partners in relation to maternity/paternity leave / pay and all other leave entitlements.
    Watershed aims to ensure that the access needs of staff are met. Where staff can no longer perform their duties due to new access needs, every effort will be made to find them suitable alternative employment within Watershed.
  10. We monitor the make-up of the workforce through our Balance and Belonging work. All staff, Pervasive Media Studio Residents, Board members and freelancers participate in and review results from Watershed’s Representation, Balance and Belonging work around data-led inclusion to ensure our overall workforce has balance, is representative of our community and in terms of belonging, and we understand how equitable or not equitable the experience of working at Watershed is. Our commitments to collecting data can be found below.
  11. Watershed’s Head of Communications is responsible for updating and coordinating this policy. The Watershed Executive will ensure it is delivered and monitored. It is their duty to ensure that managers receive guidance on the proper application of the policy, that adequate recording systems are established, and that the monitoring of procedures and selection decisions are carried out.
    Monitoring will also include assessing how this policy, and any supporting action plans, are working in practice, reviewing them annually, and considering and taking action to address any issues.
  12. Managers and supervisors are responsible for the practical application of the Inclusion Policy and in particular to ensure that:
    • All employees are aware of their responsibilities
    • Employment decisions are not discriminatory
    • Proper records of employment decisions are maintained
    • Fair standards of employment practice are maintained
    • Employment practices are reviewed regularly
  13. We will seek to publish learning about our approach to inclusion; what has worked and most crucially what has not, in order to support change within our sector and to share our institutional ability to invest resource where others can’t.

Our employee commitments

To ensure there is a consistent and clear understanding across all team members about inclusion, all staff must sign up to the following commitments:

  1. I will welcome all people to Watershed, understanding that structural inequality means that colleagues, audiences and partners' experience of our building, programme and culture, may be different from my own.
  2. I will consider how inequality will affect colleagues' experience of working at Watershed. I will seek to have open conversations to address and change this.
  3. I will ensure my language and tone is not discriminatory and will endeavour to address people with the language and terms they favour
  4. I will listen to people, respect their lived experiences and learn from any mistakes I make. I will try to recognise when I am becoming defensive and take time to reflect on it.
  5. I will support colleagues, audience and participants when I witness inappropriate behaviour or language being directed at them.
  6. I will report all instances of unacceptable and discriminatory language or behaviour to my Line Manager.
  7. I will feedback on any barriers to inclusion or areas of concern I find in Watershed via my Line Manager or CEO inbox.
  8. I am committed to changing the diversity of Watershed staff and will do everything I can to support colleagues to achieve this.
  9. I will support and feed into the work of Watershed inclusion group, understanding this work must be sustained and serious.
  10. Where I am responsible for a project or team structure I will ensure it is representative at every level, and will pay particular attention to project governance.

Our commitments to collecting data about our staff

  • We put the people we’re aiming to have an impact on at the heart of our process. When we approach collecting staff data we ask ourselves the following:
    • What are we doing to ensure their experience of engaging in a survey that asks them personal questions is as inclusive as possible?
    • How are we ensuring their experience of hearing their data being reported back to them doesn’t result in any feelings of being othered or makes them hyper-visible?
    • How are we going to serve them through the actionable insights from the data?
  • Building trust and buy-in from staff is vital to ensuring our data is meaningful – transparency, honesty and care for the process is key for us.
  • We ensure anonymity and privacy are considered and embedded throughout – especially when sharing the data.
  • We won’t rely on what we’ve always done – we’ll look to best practice from specialist organisations and thought leaders in the field for inspiration.
  • We aim to make sure we have people with the right skills working on this – ideally a group of people with skills and experience in inclusion and data analysis.
  • Language evolves, we accept and acknowledge that terminology especially around identity is both extremely important and developing. We’ll look to specialist sources to keep abreast of changes in language and be responsive to calls for changing language whilst being aware of maintaining the ability to effectively analyse the data.
  • We commit to being transparent with our findings – both with staff and publicly, even when it exposes our weaknesses. We are open and honest about where the issues are, and importantly what we’re doing to address them, and we’re open to being held to account.

Our disciplinary and grievance procedures

Details of the organisation’s grievance and disciplinary policies and procedures can be found on our staff website. This includes details of raising and reporting issues and grievances.


This policy is reviewed on an annual basis by Watershed's Executive Team, Watershed's Board of Trustees and informed by the results of Watershed’s monitoring processes, including audience research and our staff data

It sits alongside the Value and Ethics policy, our Staff Website, our Anti-harassment and Bullying policy and the Safeguarding Children and Adults at Risk policy.


How are we doing? If you have questions comments, feedback or ideas about what we could do better or differently, please get in touch.

You can contact Louise Gardner, Head of Communications

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