The Film and TV Charity will be launching its Impact Partnerships Programme early in 2022 which will funnel £1 million of investment over a period of three years into organisations and community groups led by people of colour, for people of colour. The programme is part of its Anti-Racism Action plan.
The charity has published two documents exploring anti-racism in the film and TV industry and is inviting industry leaders to participate in a series of roundtables, with the ambition of agreeing a new Anti-Racism Action Platform for UK Film & TV by Summer 2022.
Think Piece on Anti-Racism in the Film and TV Industry reports on experiences of racism in the industry and has been written by Sasha Salmon, a senior public policy advisor with expertise in anti-racism and equality. Her work followed an internal review of the charity’s own approach to anti-racism and led to her also commissioning Dr Clive Nwonka and Professor Sarita Malik to write the second piece, Racial Diversity Initiatives in UK Film and TV to survey and analyse the major racial diversity initiatives seen in the industry over the last two decades.
The Impact Partnership Programme responds to Salmon’s observation that for anti-racist interventions to be effective they should be adequately funded, long-term, and foreground the expertise of colleagues of colour. The programme will support the partner organisations to ensure their own sustainability while leading on innovative anti-racist projects that seek to make interventions at a structural level.
The charity is drawing inspiration from racial equality charters from other industries with the aim of embodying a long-term commitment in the film and TV industry, with progress subject to annual independent evaluation.
Juliet Gilkes-Romero (pictured), writer, broadcaster and one of The Film and TV Charity’s Trustees, says: “For me, a key aspect has always concerned the lack of formal accountability regarding racism in the industry. The insights we gained [in the publications] show that there have been over 100 diversity schemes in the last 10 years and yet there remains no robust public evaluation of their impact. I find this troubling. Why is this missing? How can there be measurable, demonstrable change without it?
“I would hate to see current good will go through the endless and repetitive cycles of well-meaning, encouraging, but ineffective actions, commitment and then amnesia as witnessed over the past thirty years…The Film and TV Charity is looking to collaborate with industry partners to bring sustainable commitment and change with integrity so that we’re not sitting on the wrong side of history but creating a far better and egalitarian industry future.”
“The relationship-based structure of the UK film and TV industry described throughout the review makes it particularly ripe for racism and bias,” says Salmon. “In completing this review, it was clear to me while many in film and TV speak about diversity, few people and leaders have really recognised and internalised what racism looks like in the industry for individuals, and the way that structures enable this.
“Racism is deeply entrenched in society and hard to escape. It should be widely accepted that all of us will have racial and social biases and, rather than claim defensively to ‘not be racist’, everyone should be working to honestly understand and dismantle racist structures and behaviours. We should all be seeking to be actively anti-racist. Understanding this and being honest about complicity is a vital step to inform anti racist action.
“Given the influence film and TV has on society at large, this has damaging effects. If this industry gets it right, there is a precious opportunity to illuminate and change perceptions around race and help dismantle racism.”
Discussing the publication of the two pieces, The Film and TV Charity’s CEO, Alex Pumfrey, added: “Our ultimate intention with both of these documents is to catalyse industry-led action. In the wake of the murder of George Floyd and the unequal impacts of the pandemic we heard the clear testimony of people of colour working in film and television – our beneficiaries – living with both interpersonal and structural racism in our industry. We heard how this was impacting not only their career progression but their wellbeing and their mental health. For some it ultimately affected whether or not they could stay within the industry.
“Many of the industry’s employers are pursuing reinvigorated diversity and inclusion strategies in response to the events of the last 18 months. We know from our recent conversations how desperately keen many are to deliver real progress and meaningful actions. We felt that a specific focus on racism, honestly recognising it as an entrenched structural and cultural dynamic of the industry, could complement and add to organisation-based DEI work, by unlocking for those who do not experience racism a deeper understanding of what racism in the industry is and how it operates.”
Share this story