For the last five years, Skin Deep has operated with very little in the way of financial resources. We have relied on countless hours of unpaid labour from a dedicated core team supported by our incredible contributors, collaborators and audiences. In spite of this, we have not only survived, we have flourished. But when Covid-19 wiped out thousands of pounds in commissions from arts institutions we were counting on, we realised that we could not keep going like this. Nor should we.
Skin Deep makes space for Black and POC creatives to work towards justice. Through our live events, online platform and print magazine, we build capacity for these communities of artists and activists in London and globally to think beyond crisis and survival, and dream of just futures. That work is powerful, meaningful, and necessary; it should be properly funded. If the importance of a Black and POC-led media organisation like Skin Deep was ever in doubt, the events unfolding on our timelines over the past few weeks, months and years should remind us of the ever-present need to resource and affirm those whose lives are so brutally constricted by structural racism. The disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on Black and POC communities is a direct result of a chronic lack of care about or investment in the wellbeing of our communities.
So we are investing in Skin Deep’s long-term resilience. Using emergency funding from Arts Council England, we are putting down stronger, deeper roots that will enable us to continue creating, curating, supporting and strengthening for another five years, then another, then another. We are building a new website that will perform the multiple functions we need and ensure our online work is accessible and adaptive. We are adding fundraising capacity to our core team so that we can continue delivering high production value work that is available to all, not just those who can afford to pay. We are bringing in additional expertise to help us establish a solid financial and organisational infrastructure. And we are paying for the labour of our core team of directors and editors as they design and build a stronger, more sustainable organisation.
So if it feels like we’ve been quiet since the pandemic first hit, know that we are working harder than ever behind the scenes. The cultural work we produce and curate has always been about taking the long view, trying to look past crisis and survival to see the just futures that creativity makes visible. We will move through this crisis too, and keep building towards the radical transformation of culture we know is both possible and necessary. To all the Black and POC communities whose lives Skin Deep has affected in some way over the past five years: we will continue to centre and uplift your voices, to grow and build with you, for many years to come.
If you’d like to work with us, keep an eye on our social channels where we will be announcing new positions shortly.
With love and solidarity,
Anu, Sylvia, Nkenna and Georgie