Diversity and Inclusion
ScreenSkills funds mentoring for under-represented deaf & disabled talent
Providing over £130,000 to a variety of schemes to support under-represented groups – ScreenSkills (the UK’s industry‘s led skills body) will fund mentoring opportunities, supporting nearly 60 deaf and disabled mentees. The new initiatives include Beacon Film’s Future Vision; TripleC DANC’s mentoring programme for deaf, disabled and neuro-divergent writers and directors; and Media Trust & ScreenSkills Reframing Disability Mentoring Programme in partnership with BBC 50:50. All of the mentors on the programme with Media Trust will also be deaf and disabled to support and inspire the emerging talent’s career development.
BAFTA-winning screen writer Jack Thorne calls for change to disability treatment in TV
Jack Thorne, known for his credits in series such as His Dark Materials and This Is England, criticised U.K. TV at the Edinburgh TV Festival, for its negligence and poor treatment towards disabled people, both on and off screen. Delivering the prestigious MacTaggart Lecture, Thorne highlighted that while ‘‘gender, race, sexuality, all rightly get discussed at length. Disability gets regulated out’’, expressing how ‘‘TV has failed disabled people’’. Demonstrating the negligence of an accessible working environment for disabled workers in the industry, Thorne revealed a story about a disabled friend working in the industry “who had to crawl up the steps and along the floor to get to her desk, while her electric wheelchair was outside getting soaked by the rain.” Calling for change towards disability, Thorne was happy to announce the creation of his pressure group Underlying Health Condition. The group will create a cross-industry fund to make TV’s working environment more easily accessible, so that ‘’never again will people be crawling across the floor’’.
IABM introduces Diversity Action Group
Confirming its commitments towards enhancing diversity and inclusion in the broadcast, media and entertainment industry, IABMA have announced the launch of the Diversity Action Group. Following discussions on diversity at the Big Debate Session, the Diversity Action group will provide a forum for its members to share knowledge, experiences and best practices to drive change and equal opportunity for all. As mentioned by Lucinda Meek CFO and chair of Diversity Action, ‘‘announcing Diversity Action is just the first step’’. As following the introduction of the international forum, it likely that bigger initiatives are to come – as regular meetings of Diversity Action are already in the pipeline.
ScreenSkills High-end TV Skills Fund introduces ‘Leader of Tomorrow’
As part of their commitment to encourage diversity in leadership roles within the sector, ScreenSkills High-end TV Skills Fund (HETV) have developed the ‘Leaders of Tomorrow’ programme. HETV have unveiled 19 mid-level crew, who have been selected from more than 100 industry recommendations to be championed in a comprehensive programme of mentoring, masterclasses, bespoke training and paid on-the-job training over the next three years. With the aim to increase diversity in leadership roles within the industry, half of the talent pool come from Black, Asian or minority backgrounds, three-quarters are female and two-fifths are based in the nations and regions. Fifteen out of the nineteen places on the programme are being supported by the HETV, while Sky Studios and Netflix are to fund a place each, and BBC funding an additional two. The aim is to progress the chosen talent to head of department level, or decision making roles. To support their career pathways, the crew will also have access to three placements a year, across all three years - if required.
Netflix U.K. reveal ‘’show not tell’ approach towards diversity and disability goals
During the Edinburgh TV Festival, Netflix U.K. executives Anne Mensah, VP for original series and Fiona Lamptey, director of U.K. features, revealed their ‘’show not tell’’ approach towards boost the empowerment of diversity and disability. To encourage the representation of talent with disabilities, Netflix have highlighted that they are working with Disabled Artists Networking Community and Access All Areas. However, admitting that they are at the beginning of their journey, Director of U.K. features, Fiona Lamptey, expressed that their commitment towards their diversity and disability initiatives will show ‘’on screen in the next year, two years’’.