Spotlight on anti-racism from Film & TV Charity
The Film and TV Charity has published two documents exploring anti-racism in the screen sector, and is inviting industry leaders to join an Anti-Racism Action Platform for UK Film and TV.
The first report, ‘Think Piece on Anti-Racism in the Film and TV Industry’, examines 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.
In reference to her own report, Salmon said: “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. 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. Understanding this and being honest about complicity is a vital step to inform anti racist action. The relationship-based structure of the UK film and TV industry described throughout the review makes it particularly ripe for racism and bias.
“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.”
The charity is in the process of sharing both pieces of work with the industry and is extending an invitation to 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 and is drawing inspiration from racial equality charters from other industries with the aim of embodying a long-term commitment, with progress subject to annual independent evaluation.
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…”
In parallel to the charity’s calls for the Anti-Racism Action Platform, it is also continuing to develop its own Anti-Racism Action plan and, in early 2022, will be launching its Impact Partnerships Programme 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 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.
You can read the reports and the charity's statment here:
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