The British Academy of Film and Television has unveiled new research which found that company structures, recruitment practices and mindsets – such as “class” issues — are among the barriers to creating a more diverse entertainment business.
In a report published on Tuesday, which was commissioned in partnership with Creative Skillset and the British Film Institute, the orgs spoke with a raft of professionals from under-represented groups including actors Riz Ahmed and Naomie Harris, employers, heads of departments and talent agents to examine the career success factors of film, television and games practitioners from under-represented groups.
The study, called “Succeeding in the film, television and games industries: Career progression and the keys to sustained employment for individuals from under-represented groups,” found that a number of factors played a part in enabling professionals from under-represented groups to sustain their career, regardless of their role. These include: ongoing learning and skills development; building relationships with potential champions and collaborators; and developing strategies to overcome negative experiences.
In the report, it said that despite people from under represented groups feeling they had to work harder, they preferred to let their work speak for them. “A common sentiment was that – despite personally feeling that they faced more barriers and had to work harder than their counterparts – they let their work, personality and behaviour speak for them,” it said.
It also pointed to the UK’s “class ceiling” as being one of the biggest obstacles in the business. “Employers indicated that a persistent challenge to progression was that, in UK society, “class” underpins and cuts across all areas of representation,” said the report. “It is less visible that certain other characteristics and can form a hidden barrier to progression.”
Based on the findings, BAFTA is developing a series of new initiatives, practices and policies and enhancing existing ones to address the points highlighted. In December, BAFTA announced that it was adding the BFI Diversity Standards to the eligibility criteria for Outstanding British Film and Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer categories of the Film Awards in 2019.
Additional programs include: BAFTA Elevate, a bespoke program to help individuals from under-represented progress to the next stage of their career; BFI Network x BAFTA Crew, a masterclass program connecting below-the-line talent with UK writers, directors and producers; Guru Labs at Guru Live, a live event offering talent a day of bespoke one-to-one meetings with top industry professionals; and BFI Network@Flare Mentorships in partnership with BAFTA, the second year of the membership program which aims to offer emerging Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender-identified filmmakers the opportunity to develop industry knowledge and professional connections.