With the cost of living crisis severely impacting both people working in the film and TV industry and those who might be looking to join, the British Academy has set out a number of initiatives aimed at improving social mobility and tackling class inequality in the screen industries.
Announced Monday, the initiative has seen £277,000 ($336,000) awarded to 77 individuals, an expansion of BAFTA‘s bursaries and scholarships scheme, with grants ranging from funding towards specialist equipment and driving lessons to training courses, offering support that might otherwise lock aspiring creatives out of the industry or act as a barrier to progression.
In addition, BAFTA is producing a resource — due out later this year — to assist hirers such as broadcast commissioners, independent producers, film studio and games developer leads, to become what it describes as “more class aware” in their practices. The online resource will include interviews with creatives and practitioners — including names such as Danny Brocklehurst, Shane Meadows and Jack O’Connell — who will share their experiences of tackling financial and social barriers when it comes to accessing and working in the sector. The themes addressed include: authentic on-and-off-screen representation and storytelling; the practice of “code-switching” and why social inequality remains so hidden; ideas for improving human resources and recruitment practices.
“The cost-of-living crisis is exacerbating class inequality in the screen industries,” said BAFTA CEO Jane Millichip. “Many people working in film and TV are struggling to forge sustainable careers, whilst aspiring young creatives feel our sector is out of reach. At BAFTA we are redoubling our efforts to promote social mobility in the screen industries by expanding our bursaries and scholarships and creating resources to help industry to tackle social inequality.”
Alongside the new initiatives, BAFTA will publish annually the socio-economic background of its members. As of October, 19 percent of its 12,000-strong membership is considered as being from a “lower socio-economic background,” as defined by the U.K.’s Social Mobility Commission.
Added Millichip: “In recent years our sector has made significant progress to better represent the diversity of our society on and off screen, this work must continue through collective intervention from across the industry, and we must ensure that the impact of economic downturn does not erode opportunity for those from lower socio-economic backgrounds.”