‘Expectation is resentment waiting to happen…’ 

head and shoulders portrait
Fay Jennett

Our Senior Delivery Lead Fay Jennett looks back on the first few months of  Tonic Changemakers, our membership programme for people doing EDI work in the arts and cultural sector.

A friend sent me this quote recently. I thought it was so insightful and remarkably relevant. In the world of making change, expectations are a tricky old thing.

Tonic has big expectations – for ourselves, our clients, our own initiatives. We are constantly asking ourselves – how much change are we going to make and when? Can we see the impact yet? Who is measuring it? Is it a success, how do we celebrate the process of change?

In our current climate (which has been described as fragile and time and resource poor), we recognise that any change-making journey can be slow, winding and can feel like running back-to-back marathons.

Taking all of this into consideration, when we launched Tonic Changemakers, our membership programme for people doing Equality, Diversity and Inclusion work in the arts and cultural sector in the winter of 2023, we at Tonic had big expectations.

Each element of the programme has been carefully thought through to fill a need:

  • The training days: to provide much needed in-person connection and to up-skill and learn from our brilliant colleagues in a truly cross-sector space.
  • The online projects: a long-form deeper dive into topics where nuance can flourish in discussion. Our first online project, for example, on inclusive recruitment has led to fruitful conversation on a variety of topics. From embedding respect into any recruitment practice to whether ‘desirable criteria’ should be removed completely.
  • The online collaboration sessions: a place where the cohort can really learn from each other, bring problems to solve and have protected time in calendars to move the work on EDI forward.
  • The buddy system: an opt-in support system for each member to be paired up and remain accountable to their Changemaker journey.

I am so pleased to be able to say that at this moment (on my 6.45am flight from Glasgow to London), Tonic Changemakers is delivering on all these counts and has so far exceeded my expectations. I hope it continues to flourish and provide support to all the brilliant individuals doing the work on the ground within organisations across our sector.

Don’t worry, we won’t get complacent – in every session our excellent cohort challenges our offer making it a constant learning process for everyone and fulfilling our goal from the beginning – for this to be growth for Tonic as well. All in all, I’m pleased to report that Tonic Changemakers is not resentment waiting to happen. It is pure potential.

Written by Fay Jennett
June 2024

Tonic – For greater equality, diversity and inclusion in the arts