Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy


The Tolkien Society believes that anyone should be able to enjoy the works of J.R.R. Tolkien and be able to participate in the community without discrimination. We believe that Tolkien has a wide appeal throughout the world, and as such the Society is committed to equality, diversity and inclusion within all aspects of our organisation

Discrimination is both morally and legally unacceptable. This policy is part of the Society’s initiative to clearly and unequivocally outline our collective commitment to ensure that equality, diversity, and inclusion become a reality.

The aim of this policy is to set out the positive action we will take to tackle direct and indirect discrimination in the organisation, our activities, and our relationships with other bodies. This policy’s purpose is to provide equality, fairness and respect for all.


The Society does not tolerate discrimination of any kind against its members, volunteers, participating in online forums, Smial members, or any individuals attending the Society’s events, or taking part in its activities. All such persons are protected from discrimination on the basis of, but not limited to, the following characteristics:

  • sex;
  • gender presentation and/or gender reassignment;
  • marriage and civil partnership;
  • pregnancy and maternity;
  • race (including ethnic origin, colour, nationality and national origin);
  • disability;
  • sexual orientation;
  • religion and/or belief; and
  • age.

The Tolkien Society is committed to a policy of equal treatment of all its members, volunteers, and individuals attending its events, participating inonline forums or any of the official Smials. The Society requires its volunteers, members, attendees of Society events, and individuals participating in Society online forums or the Smial community to abide by this policy and adhere to the requirements of the relevant equalities legislation, namely the Equality Act 2010.

Our Commitment

The Tolkien Society aims to create a safe space in its physical and virtual spaces where all attendees can expect to be treated with respect and dignity, and where all ideas can and should be heard. We kindly ask those attending our events, participating in Tolkien Society discussion forums or the Smial community, or contacting the Society via email or letter to help us maintain a safe and enjoyable environment for all.

On its part, the Society maintains that it will:

  • Encourage equality, diversity and inclusion as they are good practice for the organisation and good academic sense in researching Tolkien
  • Take action to ensure that Society activities and events are open and welcoming
  • Always consider how to have more diverse representation amongst its members, attendees, speakers, volunteers and committee members
  • Actively welcome diverse ideas, experience and interpretations of Tolkien’s works
  • Be vigilant and take direct action against any discriminatory activity or harassment taking place at its events, Smials, or in online spaces
  • Promote equal access and equal opportunities to all interested in the life and works of J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Make all reasonable adjustments to ensure that its events and activities are accessible to all
  • Ensure that all volunteers read this policy, and undertake to comply with it
  • Provide training where necessary so volunteers understand their responsibilities under this policy
  • Hold itself and its members accountable for not abiding by this policy
  • Respond promptly and in a respectful fashion to all complaints brought to it


Opposing discrimination and harassment is a commendable action and will always be taken seriously by the Society. The Society encourages any member, volunteer, or user of the Society spaces, real or online, to bring complaints of any misconduct that occurred during a Tolkien Society event on the premises of that event when possible. The Society understands, however, that the effects of harassment and/or discrimination may sometimes make such action difficult. We acknowledge that a report may need to be filed after the event is over. Please try to provide information to the Society while it is still within an actionable timeframe if possible.

Harassment can be summarised as unwanted conduct related to a protected characteristic which has the purpose or effect of violating the dignity of an individual or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating, or offensive environment for the individual. Please note, that a complaint of harassment can be brought forward regardless of whether the harasser meant their behaviour to be aggravating or not.

Preferably, complaints should be directed to the chair (chair@tolkiensociety.org); however, all officers and society leadership members are available to facilitate the process of reporting any complaints or concerns. When investigating a complaint we will create a safe environment for the person to explain their experience to leadership. The Society will decide the action to take based on the principle of ensuring the continued inclusion and safety of any member who has experienced discrimination or harassment. Any action against any individual will be made in line with the rules as set out in the Society’s Constitution, subject to the decision of the Trustees of the Society.


This policy will be reviewed every two years.
Signed Shaun Gunner
Date 5 September 2020