The BFI has announced Clare Baines as their Disability Equality Lead, a newly created role to promote disability equality within the screen industries and internally at the BFI.
Baines will be responsible for driving forward the BFI’s strategic aims and objectives for people who identify as D/deaf, disabled and/or neurodiverse, including implementing sustainable interventions to prevent ableism in the screen industries.
Baines will also identify and champion authentic and diverse representation of disability on projects and activity presented by the BFI, as well as those supported through the funds it distributes, including National Lottery funding. She will also encourage, advise and advocate for equality of access for disabled people, both physical, as well as access to opportunities.
Reporting to the BFI’s Head of Inclusion, Melanie Hoyes, Baines will become a key member of the Inclusion Team which is led by Jennifer Smith, the BFI’s Director of Culture and Inclusion.
Melanie Hoyes, Head of Inclusion at the BFI, said: “We are delighted to welcome Clare to the team to lead our vital work with the disabled community, spanning audiences, the screen industry’s workforce as well as the disabled creatives producing film and television. This area of work has been a focus for some time, and with the support of our fantastic Disability Screen Advisory Group we’ve made good progress in highlighting the huge disparity of representation and access for disabled talent in front and behind the camera. I’m excited to work with Clare to build on that”
Clare Baines said: “I became blind at the age of 15 and, rather ironically, that is when my passion for film started. I quickly began to realise the importance of storytelling and how vital representation is to belonging when I couldn’t find myself represented in UK film. I am proud to now be part of the BFI where I’m excited to build on the success of existing projects such as Busting the Bias and Press Reset, as well as working with the BFI’s Disability Screen Advisory Group and colleagues across the organisation to seed real change, empower disabled voices, advocate for accessibility and build meaningful relationships and allyships.”
Andrew Miller MBE, Chair of the BFI Disability Screen Advisory Group, said: “I am thrilled to welcome Clare as the BFI’s first Disability Equality Lead. Her appointment represents an important moment for inclusion in film following the success of Coda and Troy Kotsur at the BAFTAs and Academy awards. Her role emerges from the pioneering work of the BFI’s Disability Screen Advisory Group and the world’s first film focused Representation & Visible Difference Panel. I feel confident Clare’s role will take disability inclusion in film to the next level and I can’t wait to work with her.”
Joining from Zebra Technologies, a leader in developing innovative digital solutions, where Baines was an Inclusion Leader. Her responsibilities included identifying and delivering activity, and forging the necessary partnerships, to incorporate positive diversity, equity, and inclusion practices, to empower disabled talent. With a degree in Biomedical Engineering, Baines has previously focused on how digital solutions and technology can better support disabled people, developing an expertise in how inclusive design can support powerful storytelling.
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