We can do better…
We have taken some time to consult with our Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic community before releasing this statement.
At Screen and Film School, we believe it is not enough to be a part of the conversation around the Black Lives Matter movement; we need to be a part of the action.
The current climate of change following on from the global protests has created within us reflection and determination to do better. During the development of the new filmmaking degree course, our key objective was to nurture a greater diversity within our student body and to ensure that our teaching materials, references, resources, and masterclasses represented the black members of our creative community.
Our data shows that the current Screen and Film School cohort of students that are from the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic community is 14%. Although this is greater than the demographic in the city we operate in, we have recognised that the profile of our Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic students could and will be increased. We are not complacent with the work we need to undertake and the attitudes we need to change.
We have started this journey and recognise that we have much more we can do to ensure we are genuinely inclusive at every level. We can do better.
In the spirit of this global movement, we want open conversations and dialogue between staff, students, industry partners, and other key stakeholders to work together to establish real and positive changes. We are setting up an Advisory Forum represented by our Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic staff, students, industry partners, patrons and other key persons, which would become a positive vehicle to effect change.
We intend to adopt a whole college approach, and within this, every department initiating positive change. We will set ourselves ambitious goals, and objectives to ensure our community is genuinely enhanced from a diverse culture with all the benefits and richness that brings.
We have a duty towards our students and the wider community to ensure that the work they produce celebrates and acknowledges diversity and is proactively planned in their storytelling.
We understand that this is not a quick fix and will take time. As an institute, we will make this a permanent part of our future, and at the heart of our strategic planning. Here is what we have started with:
Conversation: We will continue to have these vital conversations with our Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Staff, Students, Industry Partners, Patrons and critical stakeholders. We will listen to them, hear their voices and understand where we need to change to support them.
Support: We recognise that our Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic student body is underrepresented and may feel unheard – this will no longer be the case. We will establish a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic student society to ensure that voices are heard, actions taken, and changes are made.
Industry Engagement: We will build and extend our industry partnership programme to ensure it is even more representative of the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic community providing further industry placements, internships and job opportunities.
Outreach: Through our outreach programmes we will look to encourage student applicants from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds, using our Wider Participation Scheme, Fair Access Fund and our Emerging Talent Bursary to make training more accessible. We will also be appointing a dedicated Student Ambassador to support the outreach programme.
Education: We will revisit our current curriculum to ensure there is a diverse representation of references and resources. We will strive to find culturally diverse texts and include an educational history from a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic perspective related to the Film Industry.
Filmmaking: We will encourage students to create culturally diverse films and representative of all, challenging stereotype and prejudice in their storytelling, casting, and production.
We are educating ourselves and taking time to understand and appreciate the changes that need to happen to ensure that there are equity and opportunity for all. We recognise that we cannot do this alone and want to invite others to join us.
At Screen and Film School, we pledge to listen and be guided by the voices of experience. We will educate ourselves as a collective and in turn inform those around us with the help of our existing Patrons, Staff and Students from the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic community who have generously agreed to guide and mentor.