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The Birmingham Publicity Association supports the media and creative industries in the region, while raising money for key charities that its members wish to support.

Addressing Inequalities in the Creative & Cultural Industries. Why is the BPA concerned?

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Addressing Inequalities in the Creative & Cultural Industries. Why is the BPA concerned?

The BPA

Briefing Blog for the Diversifying the Workforce Planning Lunch hosted by Mediacom 16-10-19

By Noel Dunne.

Creating and sharing content is at the heart of the creative and cultural industries. That content could be in the forms of advertisements, books, crafts, designs, exhibitions, films, games…. The list goes on.

The content is getting better at reflecting the diverse communities that reflect Britain today. What report after report tells us is that the organisations creating that content: from small digital marketing start-ups to internationally renowned theatre companies; are still struggling to create workforces that include people of diverse backgrounds, experiences and abilities.

Just three of the dozen or so reports produced over the last six years or so are quoted below. The story is:

  1. We’re not getting it right: we might think we’re a fair- and open-minded sector where talent and merit are rewarded but the statistics tell us otherwise. If you look, sound, think or behave differently from most of the workforce then you’ll struggle to get in, fit in and get on in the sector.

  2. These problems start with the entry level workforce. We have deeply ingrained recruitment mindsets and practices about the educational background, the acquisition of experience and the nature of paid work that excludes many young people from getting their foot in the door.

  3. This doesn’t make commercial sense. In a diverse society, the consumers of our content are more likely to do so if that content is produced by people and organisations who don’t look, sound, think and behave all the same.

This problem is not confined to one or two sub-sectors of the creative and cultural industries. It’s endemic. We all know we have a problem. We’re just not sure what we should do about it. Individual agencies and individual organisations have started to make a difference, but their experience is not yet having significant impact on changing the way we all think and act when it comes to diversifying our workforce.

That’s why the Birmingham Publicity Association, the membership body of the region’s creative, marketing and media sector, have reached out to region’s screen companies and arts and cultural organisations to explore what we can do together.

  • There is best practice and good mistakes we can learn from.

  • There are supportive challenges we can make to one another to shift our thinking.

  • There are joint activities we can do together to start to shift our practice.

This is the purpose of the planning lunch, generously hosted by Mediacom for senior leaders from these three different sub-sectors.  It’s to explore what a programme of events might look like to support talented young people from the region’s diverse communities and with diverse life experiences to get into and then get on in the creative and cultural sector.

Ideas suggested so far include:

  • Speed mentoring event

  • 1:2:1 mentoring programme

  • Careers education event for teachers and professionals who work with young people

  • Providing substantial and supported work experience placements

  • Careers fair with up and coming opportunities and supporting activities

  • HR Ideas Swap: what works when attracting, recruiting and retaining diverse talent

The plan is that by the end of the lunch we will have:

  • Shared insights into what we have seen work… and not work… in terms of increasing diversity in our work forces

  • One or two worked up ideas along with organisation commitment to have staff support those ideas

  • Timescale and broad action plan for the events

If this is something you and your organisation want to take an active part in then let me know. We’ll be reaching out to all those organisations who employ entry level talent to help us all work out how we best address inequalities in our workforce.

Noel Dunne, on behalf of the Council of the Birmingham Publicity Association.

E:         noel@creativealliance.org.uk

M:        07793 200701

T:         @noel_dunne

Selection of Quotes from various reports about Inequalities in the Creative & Cultural Industries.

We’re not getting it right: we might think we’re a fair- and open-minded sector where talent and merit are rewarded but the statistics tell us otherwise. If you look, sound, think or behave differently from most of the workforce then you’ll struggle to get in, fit in and get on in the sector.

Panic! Social Class, Taste and Inequalities in the Creative Industries

Lead authors: Dr Orian Brook, Dr David O’Brien, and Dr Mark Taylor. 2017

Inequalities and exclusions in the current workforce are demonstrated in findings from two academic papers analysing office for national statistics (ONS) data on the British workforce. … In figure 3 we highlight some key findings. we use ethnicity, gender and class as three demographic categories to show issues of inequality in the jobs producing culture in the UK.

Ethnicity

BAME workers in museums, galleries and libraries          2.7%

BAME workers in music, performing and visual arts        4.8%

BAME workers in film, tv and radio                                4.2%

Class

Working class origins in publishing                                 12.6%

Working class origins in music, performing & visual arts 18.2%

Working class origins in film, tv and radio                       12.4%

Gender

Female workers in film, tv, video, radio & photography   28.4%

Female workers in IT, software & computer services       14.3%

Female workers in museums, galleries & libraries           68.4%”

2. These problems start with the entry level workforce. We have deeply ingrained recruitment mindsets and practices about the educational background, the acquisition of experience and the nature of paid work that excludes many young people from getting their foot in the door.

Building a Creative Nation

Pauline Tambling: CEO Creative & Cultural Skills

“Though the creative sector is the fastest-growing part of the UK economy, contributing £84.1bn each year, it is harder than ever for young people to break into the sector. The practice of long-term unpaid internships shuts out those who cannot afford to subsidise their own placements. This narrows the pool of talent to those who can access entry-level jobs, leaving those young people with talent, but little experience of the creative industries, excluded from them. Beyond employment we know that many opportunities are for freelancers and start-up businesses: unless we support young people with first experiences of the job market they will not be able to make such opportunities for themselves.”

3. This doesn’t make commercial sense. In a diverse society, the consumers of our content are more likely to do so if that content is produced by people and organisations of who don’t look, sound, think and behave all the same.

Warwick Commission on the Future of Cultural Value

Vikki Heywood CBE, Chairman

“The key message from this report is that the government and the cultural and creative industries need to take a united and coherent approach that guarantees equal access for everyone to a rich cultural education and the opportunity to live a creative life. There are barriers and inequalities in Britain today that prevent this from being a universal human right. This is bad for business and bad for society.”