Top studios in ‘milestone’ access training
Leading TV and film studios have kickstarted a new TV Access Project (TAP) training programme to eradicate barriers and improve working conditions for disabled talent, Broadcast can reveal.
TAP, an alliance of 10 broadcasters and streamers, said its inaugural training session last week, marked a “milestone moment” following more than a year of research and development.
The session took place at Sky Studios Elstree, the UK’s newest film and TV studio, and was attended by 3 Mills Studios, Ealing Studios, Stage Fifty, Warner Bros Leavesden, BBC Studio Works, Fifty Fifty Post and Envy Post.
The first of four sessions, led by Liam and Tracey Proudlock from disability consultancy Proudlock Associates, introduced the studios to the new TAP Production Buildings Audit Checklist, which ensures buildings are fit for inclusivity.
The checklist outlines best practice including adding dropped kerbs for wheelchair users, ensuring enough accessible parking spaces, ensuring a visual contrast on stairways, and the inclusion of a quiet areas or rooms on site.
Further training sessions will be touring the UK at the following times and places:
- 18 January 2024, Dock 10, Media City UK, Salford
- 21 February 2024, Wolf Studios Wales, Cardiff
- TBC March 2024, in Glasgow
Studios can sign up by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
The training comes months after TAP revealed that some 19 studios, locations and facilities, post-houses and outside broadcast units studios signed up to be ‘TAP Activators’, committing them to, among other things, prioritising disability training and appointing an access lead or champion.
TAP has renewed its call for all physical production spaces to become TAP Activators and support the industry-wide drive to full inclusion by 2030.
The dire state of accessibility at studios was first highlighted by Jack Thorne’s lobby group Underlying Health Condition two years ago, in December 2021. The group’s report Everyone Forgot About the Toilets prompted an open letter to studios and facilities demanding the development of industry standards for inclusivity in their workspaces.
Thorne, who is a founding member of TAP, said the TAP Production Buildings Audit Checklist is the “first step” towards changing the way production spaces work.
“These training courses will empower, educate and allow people across the industry to audit their own spaces and drive even more change,” he added.
Co-director of Deaf & Disabled People in TV and co-lead of TAP’s Production Spaces workstream, Bryony Arnold, added: “We’re looking for equitable, sustainable solutions that make an impact now and long into the future.
“Whilst to some they may seem like small changes, they will make a world of difference and help create opportunities for the incredible deaf, disabled, and neurodivergent talent in the TV and film industries.”
Sky Studios Elstree’s director of operations Tom Avison said the process has been “incredibly collaborative” but added: “We’ve got so much more we can and will do.”
The 10 TAP members are Amazon Prime Video, the BBC, BritBox, Channel 4, Disney, ITV, Paramount, Sky, STV, and UKTV.
At last week’s Women in Film and TV Awards, incumbent TAP co-leads Ally Castle and Tanya Motie were awarded The ITV Studios Achievement of the Year Award for their work on the project.
This article first appeared on our sister site, Broadcast.
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