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Our commitment to diversity and our links to enslaved people

    Statements + Policies

In the 18th century, Edwin Lascelles used profits from the Transatlantic trade in enslaved people and its associated industries to build Harewood House. Today, Harewood House Trust, the educational charity that runs Harewood House, Gardens and Grounds for the public benefit, strives to acknowledge this abhorrent history and its ongoing impacts on our local communities and across the world.

Using our platform as a cultural institution, we strive to acknowledge and remember our history and the individuals and communities impacted by slavery and all other forms of injustice.

We actively celebrate and collaborate with a diverse range of individuals and groups to ensure that Harewood House is an ally for all artists, collaborators and audiences who have faced discrimination and inequality. 


Through our interpretation and programming, we acknowledge the history of Harewood House and recognise the experience of enslaved people and themes of wealth and power inherent within our own history, art collections and cultural experience.  Our Open Histories programme offers opportunities to think about, debate and contribute to academic research and discourse. Historic documents, the Lascelles West Indian Papers are deposited with the Borthwick Institute for Archives at the University of York and are publicly accessible for the benefit of researchers interested in the history of enslaved people.


As a cultural institution, we are uniquely placed to provide opportunities for reflection and connection with individuals and groups of people who have experienced violence, injustice, cruelty and discrimination, through our exhibitions, events and through new work that we commission. By remembering, we hope to inspire a world in which people can live together in peace and tolerance. We cannot change the past, but we can work to educate and build a better and more equitable future. 


Harewood House Trust actively supports the work of artists, thinkers, individuals and community leaders from diverse backgrounds.  Current and past creative collaborators include Sonia Boyce, Mac Collins, Hughbon Condor, Geraldine Connor, Chris Day, Enam Gbewonyo, Ashley Karrell, Elaine Mitchener, Thomas J. Price, Rommi Smith, and Frank Walter.

Our Missing Portrait series seeks to redress the lack of diversity within Harewood’s collection of 18th and 19th century portraits by commissioning new portraits of individuals of colour with a connection to Harewood, which will become part of our future displays at Harewood. We have so far celebrated the lives and work of Arthur France MBE and David Harewood OBE


Only through collaboration with a diverse range of individuals, with different lived experiences to our own, can we ensure a rich and welcoming experience for all the communities we serve.  We actively initiate and develop partnerships and consult with others to ensure that our charitable objectives and artistic programme remains relevant, respectful and is informed by many different perspectives. 

Collaborations have included Heritage Corner, the Leeds-based Diasporian Stories Research Group and a range of individuals and community leaders who are currently supporting our Digital Masterplan programme. 

We seek to encourage people from underrepresented groups to work with us, to participate in our programmes and to enjoy the landscape around Harewood House. 


Read about our Missing Portraits project, and explore our past exhibitions and events to find out more about our programme.

You can read our Diversity and Inclusion Policy here  [PDF, 43KB]