Public commendation, private neglect. A review of diversity data, activism and stagnant change in the UK's screen industries

Authors: Dent, T.

Start date: 18 June 2018

The paper draws from the speakers’ direct involvement with women’s activism in the UK film and television over a 10-year period starting with her involvement with the women’s film festival Birds Eye View in 2007 up until her partnership with grassroots campaigning network Raising Films. It offers a personal reflection on the situated position of women in the film and television industry who are synonymously employed within the sector therefore reliant on industry recognition for their creative work whilst simultaneously campaigning for a fairer and equal workforce. Looking historically at the data available on the employment of women in the industry, the different diversity initiatives that have been (unsuccessfully) led by the industry and the public recognition of the importance of a diverse workforce and public celebration of grassroots activism it asks the question, why doesn’t the industry directly fund diversity initiatives. The paper will draw from the late Dr. Reena Bhavnani’s report, funded by the UK Film Council (UKFC) and published in 2007 Barriers to Diversity in Film to ask why, despite over a decade of activism, evidence, and public commendation of a more diverse industry, this hasn’t translated into direct funding for grassroots activity and creative policy change.

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