BAFTAs Respond to Their Own #SoWhite Problem With New Diversity Study

Organization seeks to address issues that create a barrier to success for under-represented groups

Last Updated: February 7, 2017 @ 9:33 AM

In the wake of criticism leveled at the British Academy of Film and Television for a lack of diversity among this year’s nominees (Denzel Washington and “Moonlight” director Barry Jenkins were both snubbed), the organization released a 22-page report on Tuesday, aimed to help create a more diverse entertainment business.

The study found that company structures, recruitment practices and mindsets are things that prevent diversity in the entertainment industry. Titled “Succeeding in the film, television and Games industries,” and commissioned with the Creative Skillset and British Film Institute, the report highlights efforts which have enabled employment for a number of minority workers in the industry. It also outlines BAFTA practices and policies to help further progress.

Riz Ahmed, Ron Bailey, Amanda Foster, Des Gayle, Jinx Godfrey, Naomie Harris, Jordan Hogg, Jet Omoshebi, Caroline O’Reilly and Helana Santos are among the entertainment industry professionals who participated in the study.

“The main research involved anonymous in-depth interviews with professionals, all from one or more groups under-represented in their field – women, those from a BAME group, disabled people, or individuals from a lower socio-economic background – who have successfully maintained their careers in film, television or games,” reads to the report.

The study found that a number of factors play a part in enabling professionals from under-represented groups to sustain their career, regardless of their role. It lists ongoing learning and skills development, building relationships with potential champions and collaborators and developing strategies to overcome negative experiences as examples.

“We welcome the findings of this research which, in examining the factors that help individuals from under-represented groups succeed, also puts into sharp focus some of the issues that can create a barrier to success,” BAFTA director of learning and events Tim Hunter said. “Alongside our partners we are working to reduce and remove those barriers. BAFTA events and initiatives offer support for progression through all stages of an individual’s career. We encourage anyone with a talent and passion for film, television or games to apply to take part.”

Based on the findings, BAFTA will develop a series of initiatives to address the diversity issue, including a new bespoke program that aims to elevate individuals from under-represented groups to the next stage of their career.

Additionally, BAFTA is working with the BFI to enhance the BAFTA Crew professional network by connecting emerging talent from around the U.K. with writers, directors and producers on the way to making their first feature films.

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