Investigation into racism allegation at Walthamstow gallery still ongoing after four months

An investigation into allegations of racism at the William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow is still ongoing more than four months later, a council spokesperson has confirmed.

In June, ex-employee Teanne Andrews wrote a blog-post about her experience working at the gallery on Forest Road, claiming she was treated differently to white colleagues.

The gallery confirmed at the time that they had received “a formal grievance complaint”, which would be “investigated in full”.

A spokesperson for the gallery said that, while the “initial investigation” concluded, it is now “subject to an appeal process” and thus ongoing.

The spokesperson added that the gallery is therefore “not able to comment further” on the matter at this time.

In her blog post, Ms Andrews wrote that, after initially “keeping (her) head down”, she began to speak out last year about things at the gallery she felt “were blatantly wrong”.

She wrote: “I was met with petty comments, gaslighting, and other not-so-subtle signs of systemic racism that is so embedded in many organisations.

“Having to fight against this on an almost daily basis has had a significantly negative impact on my health on more than one occasion.”

She also claimed she was “paraded out as some kind of poster child for diversity” by the council, which runs the gallery, during last year’s Borough of Culture celebrations.

The gallery was linked to another controversy recently when it was alleged a man competing on television for the chance to stage an exhibition had Nazi tattoos.

Sky History pulled its Bake Off-style competition show The Chop off air after viewers pointed out the tattoos on the face of contestant Darren Lumsden .

The channel briefly claimed one of his tattoos actually represented the year his father died. His father later confirmed this was not the case.

A spokesperson at the time said the gallery “had no involvement with selecting contestants”, adding the gallery had “launched (its) own investigation” and “called for an urgent meeting with the makers of the programme”.

Over the summer, the gallery also released a statement on the Black Lives Matter movement, outlining what it was doing to “make fast progress” towards improving diversity.

This includes championing non-white artists by making them the focus of exhibitions and advertising its job and volunteer opportunities in “BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) media and arts networks”.

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Victoria Munro

Local Democracy Reporter