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Saturday, 24th February 2024



For immediate release: 26 March 2010

Contact: Sunita Sharma, Media Relations Adviser at MLA T: 020 7273 8299

E: sunita.sharma@mla.gov.uk


The Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) board meeting in March was held at the Jain temple in Potters Bar. The meeting took place as part of MLA's developing equality and diversity strategy with the government agency conducting its monthly board meeting away from its Birmingham office.

Dr. Atul K. Shah, who has recently been seconded to the MLA as part of a scheme to help promote diversity among decision-makers, organised the visit in cooperation with Oshwal Association.  He wished to show the board the Jain community's commitment to protecting their arts and heritage through their temple and community complex. He said, "The attendance of the MLA board today highlights their commitment to diversity, and the willingness to engage directly with grassroots communities who are doing a huge amount to protect their cultural heritages in a practical way through their own initiative. Communities throughout Britain have developed significant heritage protection initiatives, and it is vital that public bodies engage directly with them - this will also make them more interested in the work of the heritage sector."

Roy Clare, MLA Chief Executive, said, "Boards and trustees have a key role to play in helping make culture and the arts accessible to all - we all benefitted from the fresh perspective and experiences this visit offered us. As arts leaders and decision-makers on the MLA board, we felt it important to step out of our usual surroundings; participate in a living arts and heritage festival and take an active step towards reaching out to new and non-traditional audiences. In doing so, we can learn more about how museums, libraries and archives can begin to fully represent the communities they serve."


Notes to editor:

*     Leading strategically, the MLA promotes best practice in

museums, libraries and archives to inspire innovative, integrated and sustainable services for all. Visit http://www.mla.gov.uk/


*     MLA's board secondment scheme launched in January 2010. For

further details visit


*     Dr. Atul K. Shah is founder and chief executive of Diverse Ethics, a social enterprise with a website portal, diverseethics.com, to help organisations embrace diversity and experience the positive benefits of an inclusive workforce. He is author of 'Celebrating Diversity' and 'Social Cohesion' and has written and broadcast for a variety of media including the BBC.


*     The Jain temple complex is based at Potters Bar in an eighty acre Greenfield complex. The temple was opened in the summer of 2005 and has been a very popular spiritual venue in London. There are some 35,000 Jains living in Britain today, and this is the largest community centre managed by the charity, Oshwal Association of the UK.