UK training body ScreenSkills is actioning one of the key recommendations from Jack Thorne’s report into disability in TV by funding the training of Accessibility Co-ordinators.
Similar to Intimacy and Covid Co-ordinators, the role will support TV productions in hiring and working with disabled talent and crew and support disabled professionals to work well, safely and with dignity.
ScreenSkills, which is funding the measure through its High-end TV Skills Fund, has teamed with Jack Thorne’s new lobbying group Underlying Health Condition to push through the measure, along with Bridge06, the company set up by Sara Johnson, the former Creative Director of Vienna Blood indie Endor Productions, and The Office actress Julie Fernandez.
Fernandez and Johnson will deliver the training and have been working with Underlying Health Condition on the initiative. They said they have “already begun to research a combination of production practicalities and disability access requirements, which will lead to a gold standard course for our first cohort of trainees.”
Underlying Health Condition’s landmark report, Everyone Forgot About The Toilets, also called for the creation of industry funds to upgrade studios and facilities and support disabled freelancers. These conversations are ongoing.
“Intimacy and Covid coordinators have lit the path for positions like these to be recognized as essential,” said Thorne. “We must tell more disabled stories and we must empower more disabled people to tell them. The role of Accessibility Co-ordinator is vital, and will support both busy productions and the industry in making the changes needed.”
Thorne made disability in TV the focus of his blistering MacTaggart address last August, in which he blasted the sector for “totally and utterly” failing disabled people.
The ScreenSkills High-end TV Skills Fund has been increased to £10M ($13.1M) this year to account for a huge increase in productions.
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