October 23, 2021


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There is no ‘formal accountability’ for the UK film and TV industry around nationalism

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The UK film and TV industry has promised to take the lead in diversity development in recent years, but two groundbreaking studies have found that the sector is declining dangerously in monitoring and evaluation of its own initiatives, and is losing an older generation of black Asians and minority ethnic (“BAME”) workers. Focuses too much on “fresh” talent.

The studies, conducted by London-headquartered Film and TV charity, examined racial diversity initiatives and anti-apartheid practices in UK industry, respectively. They suggest that “creative diversity” agendas have moved away from the widespread questioning of racism in this sector and, worst of all, that there is “no formal accountability” about racism in the industry.

“Many of the commitments made by major UK institutions point to ‘diversity schemes’. There is a strong and very mixed view on whether they are valuable or easy to operate,” said Sasha Salmon, a senior public policy adviser who specializes in anti-racism and equality. Support was given by TV Charity for anti-apartheid work.

In the last 20 years, in the examination of film and TV diversity initiatives, media scholar Dr. Clive Noonka and Professor Sarita Malik – who was commissioned by Salmon – saw the trajectory of Channel 4’s Filmfare Spirit Dance, the UK Film Council’s new co-programs, the Cinema Fund and the BFI Diversity Standard, Project Diamond and ViacomCBS’s “No Diversion”.

Their analysis reveals a “lack of knowledge” within the sector, leading to a failure to be transparent about their impact among diversity funding and institutions responsible for training. This has contributed to a “stagnation” of diversity initiatives over the last 20 years, as there is a lack of reliable information on how effective these programs have been historically.

The report highlights a “lost generation” of off-screen talent who are older than those supported by current training and development initiatives and who struggle to survive in this position. They fall into the cracks of the talent scheme, which renews itself by focusing on new groups of BAME talents instead of helping people move forward in their careers.

“There’s a strong connection between the notion of diversity being modern and something new – and it’s not,” says the owner Diversity.

“Culture and the Asian community have a long acy history and history, and when you look at training and skills, it focuses on the younger generation and acquires skills,” Malek said. “Emphasis is placed on training, when in fact there is a skill set that histor has not historically invested and pulled.”

Salmon, in a separate thought, conducted his own qualitative work, interviewing 55 people from different races and cultural backgrounds in various positions on film and TV about their views against racism in the industry. Most of his interviewees, at one stage, took part in a diversity project or received commissions through a diversity campaign.

“The emotional and verbal reactions to hearing just the word‘ scheme ’were significant,” Salmon writes. “Several had strong negative reactions, rejecting the schemes as ‘functional,’ ‘tokenistic,’ ‘non-effective,’ ’embarrassing and humiliating,’ a ‘photo opportunity’ and a ‘box-ticking exercise’.”

Salmon added that responses to his interviews pointed to a lack of accountability in tackling racism and discrimination in the UK film and TV industry.

“A commonly used phrase was that large organizations are‘ identifying their own homework, ’” Salmon writes. “Many claim that the work of diversification and inclusion is effective, designed to reduce PR risk and to ‘respond’ to complaints, organizations do what they need more than they think is effective.”

Many respondents point to the lack of meaningful organizations to account for their lack of progress, ask some questions where they go to report racism, and mention the challenge of reporting anonymously if you are one of the few in color in a production or in a company.

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Movies and TV Charity

The film sector is shrinking

The research by Naonka and Malik, which examines several film schemes in addition to television initiatives, points to a severe lack of accountability in the film sector, and over-reliance on inclusion policies and temporary changes in on-screen and off-screen ethnic composition. .

“There is a significant absence of an account, analysis or explanation from various institutions and organizations as to why such schemes and initiatives have stalled or in many cases produced responsive results for blacks and ethnic minorities in the film sector,” writes Nonka and Malik.

BFI’s diversity standards are particularly problematic, as they use the “loose and liquid” method, which currently allows a film production to easily pass the standards without significant mention of race / ethnicity. “It simply came to our notice then [the program’s] The mechanism and the way it has been raised by the industry, ”said Noonka, who allows the company to look at ways to make the terms of diversity“ a bit more rigorous and difficult to achieve for specific productions ”.

The television sector has worked even better, with a strong level of engagement across British broadcasters, setting internal targets for diversity across their workforce. Nevertheless, even on television there is still a lack of universally available diversity of information, which media regulator Ofcom, observation agency Diamond and industry body Screenskills are trying to remedy.

The next step for the industry

Alex Pumphrey, chief executive of the film and TV charity, said: “An important issue emerges from the work of Clive and Sarita on accountability, which is essential and not compromising for me.”

Pumpre said the lack of information about the progress of diversified initiatives has “hindered growing education”. “That’s what we should have done – we should have learned collectively about what works and what doesn’t. Lack of accountability means it never seemed like a ward upward path of progress; It felt like an up and down. “

Pamfrey notes that the UK should be a “massive headstart” compared to other sectors of the film and TV industry, given the programs have been running for 20 years. “But it doesn’t seem like it because we haven’t received that growing education.”

Juliet Gilks-Romero, a writer and trustee of the Film and TV Charity, has led most of the organization’s anti-apartheid work, along with co-trustee and filmmaker Joseph Adesunlay.

Gilcos-Romero notes: “The insights we’ve got show that there have been more than 100 diversity projects in the last 10 years and yet there is no public evaluation of their impact. I find this difficult. Why is it missing? How measurable, demonstrable change The industry clearly needs to establish an infrastructure where blacks, Asians and minority ethical professionals have access to jobs and training that the industry undoubtedly leads to industrial employment.This information needs to be formally tracked.

The Film and TV Charity has donated 0% of its future donations to Black, Asian and other ethnic minority workers. The organization has allocated million 1 million to support funded anti-apartheid community leaders and groups একটি an initiative that will be distributed over three years.

Elsewhere, Naonka and Malik have suggested a number of changes to the industry, including an independent external review of anti-apartheid policies and practices at BBC Films and Film Four টা the data has been made publicly available. They also call for more sophisticated and comprehensive data sets that provide more granular information, complemented by qualitative analysis and storytelling evidence of the sector.

Importantly, film and TV companies should be “visually evaluated” at least annually, the results of which are easily accessible. In addition, the industry must make an overall review of the skills and training program with more consideration for the age range of participants, among other things.

Elsewhere, the Department of Digital, Media, Culture and Sport (DCMS) is being advised to play a more dynamic role in the industry’s ethnic equality agenda. For example, they can ensure that publicly funded film companies are completely transparent with the data collected in their schemes and programs.

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