How Two Events in London Are Fighting Diversity Head On

Written for London360 in May 2016:

When it comes to Diversity in the Media, there has been a lot of work being done in front of the camera such as bringing presenters from Black, Asian & Mixed Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds. However, there have been calls from names such as Sir Lenny Henry at last year’s BAFTA Television Lecture and a speech from Actor Idris Elba to Parliament urging change especially behind the scenes in the industry to represent the UK Population.

The Royal Television Society (RTS) held a  BAME ‘Broadcast Hot Shots’ event to celebrate diversity and have a discussion what more is needed to be done. Chaired by Executive Producer of London360 Jasmine Dotiwala, the Hot Shots talked about how the struggles of being in the industry and how schemes such as Creative Access & Creative Skillset help those who want to get their feet in the door.

RTS Futures BAME ‘Broadcast Hot Shots.’

Whilst we talk about getting more people from BAME Backgrounds into Media, not a lot is being done with other minority groups especially when it comes to disability. According to Creative Skillset, only 1% of people who are disabled in the UK are employed in the creative industries. There has been recently a debate about the BBC in Parliament which was lead by MP for Tottenham David Lammy. This was about the Broadcaster’s Diversity figure and only 22 MPs attended the debate. Current staff levels from the BBC state that only 7.8% of those employed by the coorporation are disabled.

However, there was an event held in the capital to celebrate the winners of the National Diversity Awards (NDA) especially for those who had disabilities. There was one artist called Rachel Gadsden who told us about her work being celebrated all over the world especially at the Middle East’s first ever Arts & Disablities Festival. She also wanted to see change and give more hope to young people to achieve anything with more help from the government.

Rachel Gadsden speaking at the NDA Winners Event.

Despite these two events, more is needed to be done in both areas especially LGBT, Gender Equality and Mental Health. But we need to remember there is also a will to change and people out there willing to make a difference.


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