Careers With Impact: In Conversation with Rambert’s Head of HR and EDI, Tigho Feldman

As part of our ‘Work for UN Sustainable Goals’ series here at Ethical Jobseeker, we caught up with Rambert’s Head of HR and EDI, Tigho Feldman, to talk about the organisation, what they do, and why the UN Sustainable Development Goal 10 Reduced Inequalities is so important to Rambert.

Through our conversation we learn a bit more about the qualities Rambert look for in candidates, along with advice for future career changers and entry-level jobseekers. 

EJ: Would you mind first describing exactly what your organisation does and its main purpose? 

TF:  Rambert is a dance company, where brilliant and daring people can show up and be supported to push themselves to move the world forward.
We believe that to give brilliant and daring people the chance to inspire others is to give them the power to change the world for the better. As one of the world’s most diverse company of dancers we transform everyday spaces by making dance that is awe-inspiring, adventurous, dynamic, and relevant, and taking it to our neighbourhood, the nation, and the world.

EJ: So focussing on the UN Sustainable Development Goals, where would you say Rambert has the most impact? 

TF:  I would say our organisation has the most impact on Reduced Inequalities – Goal 10. 
Diversity and inclusion are very important to us. We want to hear the most exciting and radical ideas wherever they may come from and connect with brilliant and daring audiences and participants from all backgrounds. 
We do this through performances; dance and wellness classes and courses for people of all ages and abilities; and through an extensive and always evolving participation and community programme.

In the last two years we have also developed our online presence, which helps to counter geographical barriers,  with the development of the Rambert Home Studio platform*, which hosts live performances, classes, podcasts, dancer interviews, playlists and other inspiring content www.rambert.org.uk/homestudio

Our vision for Rambert is as a radically inclusive and safe working environment for all. We are committed to anti-racism and reducing inequalities in the society in which we work. We continue to reflect on our current values and beliefs, taking active steps toward continually reviewing how we can improve on equality, diversity and inclusion, looking at sustainable change in our professional practices, and public and educational programs. 

In 2017 we made a commitment to becoming a London Living Wage employer. This was a fairly new public statement for our industry at the time. We decided to make the commitment as we wanted to make a public statement on the importance of paying a real living wage to staff and making a start towards ending the poverty cycle that affects many individuals living and working in London. 

EJ: In your opinion what progress has Rambert made to reduce inequality and what actions still need to be taken? 

TF: At Rambert we have dedicated ourselves to creating paths that lead to a more inclusive and diverse organisation. While we continue to diversify our team, we understand for true inclusion to happen we need to also amplify the voices of unrepresented individuals in society and broaden the scope of thought and perspectives within our industry.  
We are aware it is a time to introduce new voices to the conversation and so have invited artists who have something important to say, and experiences to share that will feel relevant to the wider audience. 

We are committed to providing work experience opportunities because it is an opportunity for individuals, especially from underrepresented backgrounds to obtain experience of the different roles available within dance companies and be inspired to consider these as future careers. We have been fortunate to work with Creative Access to provide Kickstarter opportunities and we have worked with Theatre Peckham and New City College to provide placements.

We have undertaken several training courses including anti-racism, ally skills and disability awareness and encourage self-education. Furthermore, we have created an anti-racism policy and an EDI action plan. The plan highlights the steps we are committed to taking as an international organisation to become a more equitable place and to start a ripple effect in our industry pushing change forward and by having a written plan, we make ourselves more accountable to the actions we have committed to. 

EJ: Thank you for sharing your insights. For those interested in an impact career, who want to get involved with Rambert, can you tell us what kind of specialist areas and roles you recruit for? 

TF: We recruit a number of specialist roles which include dancers, artistic roles, technical roles, marketing, producing, development, environmental sustainability and participation and community roles

EJ: As a leading creative organisation we’re sure you have no trouble attracting creative talent. Can you tell us about the operational or business support requirements you have as an organisation for those who’d like to get involved behind the scenes?

TF: Yes! We have a number of operational roles that we recruit which include receptionist/administrative assistants, finance and general management roles all who contribute to our success.

EJ: Perfect! So, what qualities and attributes are you most looking for in candidates that apply to Rambert? 

TF:  We’re looking for people who want to be brilliant and daring – who want to show up and be supported to push themselves to move the world forward. At Rambert we don’t expect or look for the ‘perfect candidate’, instead we look for people who can positively contribute to our team. In return, you will be given support, encouragement, and all the right conditions to grow, succeed and be your best. For us recruitment is more than a match against a job description, it is about feeling excited about coming to work every day and being proud of who you work with and where you work.

EJ: On this note, do you have any best advice for career entrants looking to apply to one of your roles? 

TF: Our advice is to review your transferable skills – for example working in retail or hospitality will provide you with experience in customer service, money handling, managing difficult people/situation and teamwork. These are all important skills needed for nearly all roles. 
Most importantly don’t discount yourself if you feel you don’t meet all the job criteria. Believe you have the potential and apply for a role. 

EJ: Sound Advice. Any for potential career changers thinking about working with you?

TF: Our advice would be very similar, look at your transferable skills. Do you have hobbies or volunteering that provide additional transferrable skills? At Rambert we are not looking for the ‘perfect’ candidate, instead we look for people who can positively contribute to our team and are proud to work for the company.

EJ: Most importantly, why should candidates want to work at Rambert? Tell us a bit more about your culture at work – what is good and what are you working on at the moment? 

TF: We have worked very hard to be a diverse organisation because we believe that we should be representative of the society we are based in and a variety of voices and lived experience makes for a more inclusive organisation. As part of becoming more diverse we are aware that we still have a lot of work to do on inclusion, we want to be in a position where everyone feels like they can be their authentic selves.

EJ: For any potential candidates wanting to learn more about the work that you do and the issues that we have discussed today, do you have any helpful resources where they can improve their understanding? 

Creative Access is a brilliant organisation working hard to improve job opportunities for underrepresented young people in the creative industries. 

Inc Arts works hard to fight inequality and racism in the arts sector. 

The most important thing is too be responsible for your self-education, there are a lot of good reading materials in which to learn more.

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