Diversity – Equality – Inclusion – Representation – Our Mission
Like many, as a company and individually, we have spent the last few months reflecting, listening and having open and honest conversations on the subject of race in media and recruitment. We are eager to educate and better ourselves on how to become even more inclusive as an agency, focusing in particular on developing our values on representation, diversity and equality. We understand we have a role to play in fighting discrimination and the nepotistic environment within the media industry. We want to support our colleagues, clients, freelancers and industry peers in order to help move positively towards a more inclusive future, and creating fairer treatment within the media industry.
Whilst our company has a strong stance on fair employment practices, and already represents diverse talent, we acknowledge that there is more work for us to do on these important issues. We have been exploring ways in which we can become a better advocate for a more inclusive and diverse environment in our industry.
We have been talking with our freelancers, who have kindly opened up to us and spoken candidly on the subject of diversity in media, their personal experiences, and discussing what we can do to help create an encouraging and constructive impact moving forward. We have heard first-hand some of the systemic injustices our own freelancers have faced over their time in the media industry. Discovering that some freelancers almost left the industry because of how they have been treated has been deeply saddening, as well as hearing of fellow colleagues who have left the industry altogether due to discrimination, is simply heart breaking, and frankly unjust.
“Just having people of colour in the room is not enough,
the industry also needs to listen to us, to value our perspectives and our stories”
David Olusoga | James MacTaggart Lecture | Edinburgh TV Festival 2020
Watch the insightful lecture here
One of our freelancers recommended we watch David Olusoga’s lecture at the Edinburgh TV Festival 2020, and we are so glad we did! David articulates so many experiences that people of colour have unfortunately faced in the media, which is incredibly important for us to hear. Together, we need to be mindful of these experiences, and help prevent great talent from leaving the industry altogether. Please do give it a watch if you haven’t already!
We recently had some great discussions with Raw TV & Renegade Pictures, who are doing awesome work with their development and production teams to add more diverse talent to their roster throughout all crew and creative positions, to become much more fully inclusive. We chatted about how we can help create more opportunities and nurture talent, in order to create more diverse, meaningful content that will relate to a wider audience. We would love to talk to more clients about what they are doing to advocate for inclusivity in media, and will be doing our best to get more of these conversations going.
We have also been lucky enough over the years to develop a strong relationship with training programmes such as MAMA Youth, who have spent the last ten years training young people from under-represented backgrounds to help them succeed in the media industry. This year we have spent some time strengthening this relationship further, and have come up with more ways to work closely with them to create more opportunities for their freelancers.
Our Group Director of Operations, CJ Harrison, recently hosted a brilliant session for MAMA Youth’s trainees which gave really helpful insights on how to set up as a freelancer, different routes to take when it comes to employment status’, insurance, standing out as a freelancer and all things finance! Gold dust stuff, and something CJ will be doing regularly for their course.
As a team we have been taking part in online courses, attending webinars and reading reliable material. Here are a few recommendations of resources from us:
- Virtual Inclusion Awareness Workshop hosted by MAMA Youth
- LinkedIn Training on Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging for All (almost 5hrs worth of content!)
- Screenskills webinar – ‘TV and diversity – how to make 2020 the year of genuine change’
- Casual Films – One of our clients, Casual Films, worked with the GoDaddy team to put together this really interesting BLM roundtable, featuring a panel of guests to talk about Black entrepreneurship, culture, and history
- TED – How can you be a better ally in the fight for racial justice?
Due to the pandemic and the decrease in jobs we have seen this year, unfortunately we haven’t been able to take on new talent to join us. However, we are feeling positive about the future and from 2021 we want to start meeting great talent again, and are committed to making our books even more diverse. Whilst we are lucky enough to get brilliant applications come to us, we would also love to hear from you with recommendations! If you know of any skilled freelancers that you feel would benefit from being on our books, please do introduce us, or send through their details so we can chat about representation.
We know that these actions alone are not enough, and we are committed to the long-term goal of keeping diversity and inclusion a priority for our talent, our clients and our team. We are dedicated to supporting a positive change for the long haul! We are more than happy to take on suggestions from our freelancers and clients, and discuss any thoughts you might have on how we can commit to creating a positive change.
We are so proud to represent such incredible talent already, and many of our freelancers have worked on some powerful and insightful projects this year to highlight the injustices people of colour face. Here are just a few of the projects our freelancers have been working on either by themselves, with their own clients, or our clients, that have very important messages that we want to help share…
Meena Ayittey – Director/Motion Graphics Designer
Black Creative – Feature Documentary
What is it like to be Black in the UK advertising industry? You can watch Meena Ayittey’s first feature length documentary film ‘Black Creative’ here on shots!
A powerful segment from the film relating to recruiting and tokenism from Ete Davis – Chief Executive Officer of Engine…
“Avoiding tokenism in recruitment, it all starts to really understanding why you’re recruiting…be very clear about the strategy of what you’re trying to do with your business…if you’re trying to improve your creative and strategic diversity and firepower and difference in thought, but also you’re trying to add a new dynamic to the values of how your organisation operates. Then make sure that’s central to the brief, because then you’re systematically looking at how you design your organisation culturally and in terms of talent, and you’re not just trying to hit numbers….
Don’t get me wrong I think numbers and KPI’s are important, because they focus the leadership team and make sure someone’s accountable, but that has to be tied to a strategy that’s about delivering value or competitive advantage to the business not just putting bums on seats or brown faces in pictures”.
Rich Walker – Producer/Director
The South Stand (2020) | Football Short Film
Our talented Producer/Director, Rich Walker, wrote, directed and produced this powerful short film about racism in football, The South Stand – we recommend a watch! Shot, edited and produced brilliantly, with a strong message we all need to hear.
Ricky Diaghe – Motion Graphics Designer
Black Voices | ITV
We placed one of our very talented Motion Graphics Designer’s Ricky Diaghe on ITV’s Black Voices series, and we are so proud of his work!
Meera Mistry – Producer/Transcriber/Researcher
My God I’m Queer | Channel 4
Meera Mistry has recently produced a film called ‘My God I’m Queer’, working with her own client, Behind the Facade for Naz and Matt Foundation (Charity), Directed by Matt Mahmood-Ogston. Can you be Muslim and gay? A bereaved fiancé goes on a deeply personal journey to prevent the tragedy from ever happening again. It’s important work in tackling homophobia triggered by religion & culture, to help parents accept their children. Shortlisted for a selection of awards and screened internationally in Canada, USA, across the UK and India, this powerful Documentary is now free to stream in the UK via All4 (Channel 4 on Demand).
Link to information about this film: https://www.nazandmattfoundation.org/my-god-im-queer/
Jean-Marc Aka-Kadjo – Producer/Director
Is Britain Racist?
Jean-Marc Aka-Kadjo, one of our very talented Producer/Directors, single handedly created this powerful and informative documentary on the Windrush scandal called ‘Is Britain Racist?’ – He has created a website specifically for it, where you can watch the whole thing here.
We understand that prejudice in the industry is not just confined to race, and sadly, there are many other issues prevalent in media that are incredibly important to try to overcome together. We want to help create an industry where people can blossom and explore their creativity without the obstacles many people face, hindering their progress, to ensure a more nurturing working environment across the board.
If you would like to reach out, and have anything you would also like to share, please call us on 0208 525 4844 or you can contact our MD, Laura Davis on firstname.lastname@example.org