Our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion strategy


The National Portrait Gallery has had a long-term commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion (ED&I). However, a review of progress in 2022 revealed that although much work was being done on ED&I at the Gallery, there was a need to be more strategic and intentional with efforts and to focus on key areas to bring about meaningful change.

Working with external consultants, Global Diversity Practice, we undertook a process of engaging with staff and stakeholders to identify potential barriers and possible solutions. This highlighted the need to prioritise building an inclusive culture internally and from this, the themes of Leadership, Culture and Talent Management emerged. This will be accompanied by a focus on external impact through the Collection, exhibitions, displays, public programme and commercial activity and an emphasis on audiences and impact on the wider community.

Our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion vision

  • We bring to life the human stories that have shaped and are shaping our ever-changing history.
  • We want everyone to feel welcome, included and represented and inspired by our portraits, programme and all activity.

Our EDI principles

  • Collaboration
  • Integrity
  • Diversity of thinking
  • Innovation

Strategy goal and scope

Create an inspirational team and audience-focused strategy for ED&I to be implemented between 2022 and 2027.

This strategy will deliver ED&I cultural and organisational improvements and connect and represent both our people and our audiences through our Collection and public-facing activity with inclusion at the heart of the strategy.

Five Strategic Pillars of our ED&I strategy


We will ensure that our Trustees, Directors and Senior Managers are true role models of ED&I behaviours.

All staff are responsible for leading on EDI principles within their role. Everyone can contribute to this.

We will actively and visibly commit and champion the ED&I activity, looking for bold and brave new ways of working.

We will enable the infrastructure to activate and deliver the ED&I Strategy.

We will continue to increase diversity within the Trustee, Directors and Leadership teams to ensure we have diversity of thinking.

Leadership action plan

Short Term (mid 2023)

  • Agree infrastructure to deliver ED&I agenda (e.g. Steering Group, Trustee engagement, department KPIs).
  • Communication of overall ED&I Strategy to all employees. Agree and share checkpoints against measures of success.
  • Agreement of ED&I wording on website/launch of the ED&I strategy externally.
  • Agree approach and responses to feedback on diversity in our Collection or public programme.
  • Put in place policies, procedures and governance to support commitment to ED&I.
  • All staff and Trustees to role model inclusive behaviours.
  • Review suppliers and hold them to the same ED&I standards.

Medium term (mid 2023-2025)

  • Review progress against ED&I strategy every 12 months (survey and/or measures of success).
  • Celebrate success from an ED&I perspective following the review.
  • Review and monitor internal demographic employee statistics post opening.
  • Evaluate whether to acquire any recognition for the work on ED&I – e.g. awards.
  • Clear demonstration of Trustee support for ED&I aims and commitments ensuring aligned communication strategy on ED&I from Directors and Trustees, both internally and externally.
  • Consider re-establishing ERG / Network groups e.g. Race, LGBTQ+, access.
  • Budget and resource planning to activate and embed change.

Long term (2025-2027)

  • Review progress against ED&I strategy every 12 months (survey and/or measures of success).
  • Celebrate success from an ED&I perspective following the review.
  • Continue to review and monitor internal demographic employee statistics.
  • Engage with sector working group on widening access to the Arts sector for those from a lower social mobility background.


We will nurture a culture where all our people feel valued and everyone is treated with respect, living our new values.

Everyone will be clear about how to report inappropriate behaviours, and we will commit to addressing issues creating a feeling of trust and a sense of fairness in our processes.

We will nurture greater collaboration and empathy between our people so that everyone can bring their true selves to work.

This will in turn foster greater teamwork and innovation within NPG.

Culture action plan

Short Term (mid 2023)

  • Align launch of new vision and values with the ED&I strategy; ensure that the competency behaviours under the values include inclusive behaviours.
  • Ensure all engagement surveys include EDI questions e.g. bullying and harassment or inappropriate behaviour.
  • Encourage a culture of respect and speak up; agree method to capture any issues and respond, supported by the Whistle Blowing and Guardians scheme.
  • New inclusive ways of working are introduced and embedded (remote / flexible / in person).
  • ED&I terminology training to enable more open discussion.

Medium term (mid 2023-2025)

  • Identify further ways to encourage diversity of thought and activity.
  • Develop communal spaces and collaborative working environments.
  • Review all internal comms from an ED&I perspective.
  • Open ED&I feedback forum to continually challenge the status quo.
  • Ensure that the opportunity for mixed group working and two-way communication is built into the NPG way of working.
  • Recognise inclusive behaviour e.g. with annual awards or values recognition.
  • Share key successes and cross departmental information.

Long term (2025-2027)

  • Recognition of NPG as a great place to work.
  • ED&I is embedded into what we do around here.
  • Review the impact of the 5 year strategy and prepare future ED&I strategy and action plan.

Talent management

We will improve our employer brand and talent acquisition processes to ensure that we better represent the communities we serve.

We will put the right processes, initiatives, and a transparent infrastructure (formal and informal) in place to ensure that everyone feels supported and included on their career journey and enable opportunities for career progression.

The diversity that already exists within the company will be visibly valued and recognised, building the brand of an inclusive employer in the sector.

Talent management action plan

Short Term (mid 2023)

  • Continue gender and ethnicity pay reporting.
  • Review selection criteria and trial new filters, where appropriate e.g. attributes rather than qualifications.
  • Review reward and benefits that can be amended outside of government guidance, for roles required for opening.
  • Induction and on-boarding to include ED&I commitments.
  • Review application, interview and on-boarding processes to remove potential barriers for disabled and neurodiverse candidates.
  • Review and monitor diversity of employees and volunteers within each department and function.

Medium term (mid 2023-2025)

  • Showcase our internal diverse role models.
  • Annual ED&I training for all staff and volunteers.
  • Continue gender and ethnicity reporting.
  • Development of paid internships / apprenticeship schemes to widen access to the arts for more young people.
  • Ensure that all career paths are transparent and open to all.
  • Ongoing support for employees from under-represented groups.

Long term (2025-2027)

  • Review of reward and benefits packages for all staff.
  • Research into how to enable entry for people who don't live in or around London or can’t afford to live there.
  • Develop cross-sector initiatives to encourage diverse workforces to join the arts and museum sector.

Collection and activity

Our Collection, exhibitions, displays, commercial offer and all related activity will better reflect the diversity of the United Kingdom.

We will build on previous success and continue to increase the diversity of sitters and artists, telling the stories of how they have contributed to British history.

We will maximise existing relationships and seek out new connections with external stakeholders and experts, including artists and advisory groups to increase the diversity of the collection and all of our activity.

We will continue to acquire portraits that reflect under-represented groups.

Collection and activity action plan

Short Term (mid 2023)

  • Continue to increase the diversity of the Collection where there are key gaps.
  • Continue to work with diverse artists, sitters, advisory, community and access groups to gather their input.
  • Create a programme of events, exhibitions, displays and interventions that are more inclusive of gender, diversity and other lives.
  • Agree output from language and terminology consultancy project.
  • Develop and provide accessible events, with and for disabled people.
  • Update website statements on progress.

Medium term (mid 2023-2025)

  • Continue to review plans for exhibitions, displays, public programme, the commercial offer and all related activity for diversity of content.
  • Work with advisory groups and critical friends to review the Collection and public facing activity to identify bias, any gaps and recommendations to fill them.
  • Review of consultative and new acquisition practice.
  • Review impact of new interpretation of the Collection on the visitor experience.
  • Review prioritisation criteria for exhibition programme.

Long term (2025-2027)

  • Evaluate impact of EDI Action Plan on the collection, exhibitions, displays, public programme and related activity on delivery of NPG mission.
  • Share and celebrate success.
  • Agree future priorities and action plan.


We will have a targeted approach to widening the diversity of our audiences and making our collections accessible for all.

We will specifically target young audiences and those who don’t have access to the arts through their education.

We want our audience to represent the UK population and will measure our visitor numbers by diverse demographics to ensure we have success measures that reflect our ambition.

Audiences action plan

Short Term (mid 2023)

  • We will remove barriers to inclusion and participation in the Gallery upon reopening.
  • We will consult with relevant groups and audiences to ensure this is a collaborative process.
  • Develop a new schools programme to enable pupils to connect with diverse sitters and artists.
  • Use our digital channels and national activity programme to amplify a diverse range of voices.
  • Continue community outreach to work with a wide variety of groups.
  • Ensure our shops and catering offers appeal to diverse groups in terms of the offer and price.
  • Provide affordable tickets for those on low income.

Medium term (mid 2023-2025)

  • Analyse audience data both onsite and digital from re-opening and share regularly with employees.
  • Measure and monitor increase in reach to under-represented groups and use this to market NPG to an ever-widening audience.
  • Continue to partner with schools and colleges in regions outside of London.
  • Deliver accessible and diverse workshops and activities to a wide range of audiences and communities.
  • Review impact of ticketing / discount offers to widen access to young people or those with disabilities and their carers.

Long term (2025-2027)

  • Review impact of audience strategy to see if diversity of visitors in the Gallery and online has increased.
  • Analyse audience data and activity to measure if new audiences have become repeat audiences.
  • Measure success of embedding change, where audiences and communities are part of the process.
  • Plan future strategy and action plan.


We will update this page every six months to report on progress on the action plan above.