About the Forum
I created the Forum in November 2018 to promote the progression and retention of BAME employees in the creative industries.
The Forum works by working in partnership with organisations, operating in the arts and creative industries, to empower early to mid-career individuals from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnics to have a voice in their workplace.
We host discussion workshops where early-to-mid career individuals working in the arts and creative industries are invited to talk about various topics covering the working environments in the sector, including the culture of the workplace, training opportunities available to them and everything related to Diversity and Inclusion work-frame (basically, everything that gets to affect their employment experience as a person of colour and a minority).
How do we affect change?
By speaking directly to employees of the arts and creative organisations, we work to pinpoint and highlight possible issues being faced by individuals from Black, Asian, and minority ethnics in order to understand how to create safe, positive and progressive environment for everyone involved (by environment, I mean the physical presence of a workplace and the condition as well as values).
Speaking directly to employees from the arts and creative organisations means the Forum exists as an intermediary between individuals and organisations, whereby communication by all parties derives from a safe and protected place.
Our partnership with organisations ensures that we work together to create an environment in which individuals can feel empowered to share their experiences without the fear of detriments and where individuals can be themselves. Together, we implement changes and systems for evaluation and tracking the progress of our work.
The workshops and on-going communication between the Forum and the organisations ensures the Forum achieves its goals of not only promoting the progression and retention of early-to-mid career BAME individuals; but by so doing, our ultimate goal of creating a more inclusive work environments is achieved through empowering BAME individuals in the workplace.
Why only BAME and early-to-mid career individuals?
In 2012, creative skillset employment census recorded a decline of BAME representation in the Creative Industries where almost 2,000 persons of colour left the industry. Five years ago, Arts Council England published data on the diversity of arts organisations where it revealed some theatres had an entirely white workforce. In London, where 41% of the population is black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME), some theatres had a BAME workforce as low as 5% [The Guardian, 2018]
Other findings by Research for UK trade bodies in 2017 revealed 93% of people working in theatres were white.
However, there have been various schemes and organisations working to create employment opportunities for individuals from BAME background and those from under-represented groups. However, there is still remains considerable gap between entry-level and management, with the overall offstage workforce still under-representing the general public and where representation of workers from black, ethnic and minority background are still at a low rate and under-represented by nearly 25% at management levels (Offstage workplace report, 2017).
The Forum provide the means in which both organisations and individuals work together to ensure that those employed BAME individuals stay employed and progress in their area of work through various communication points and preserves the crucial works of those schemes and organisations by furthering the progression and retention of BAME individuals.
How will your contribution help?
Currently, I am working with five organisations and though I am operating as a pilot test during this first year, I have no doubt that the project will soon blossom and many more people and organisations will be able to benefit from the programme. I’m already getting inquiries from other organisations; however, as I am the one and only person currently running and leading the service, I would like to invest in human resources in the future, providing that the project proves successful! However, in order for the Forum to grow successfully in those early days, much would need to be spent on a fair amount of promotion online and prints to reach more people widely. I would also like to be able to expand the project to operate outside of London and possibly country-wide as I strongly believe there are a lot more individuals and organisations that can do with the support of the Forum to diversify not only their places of work but the entire sector!
Your support has the possibility to revolutionise the whole creative industries by helping us reach more people and organisations. This is a revolution which will bring with it a new way of working – a change that is much needed and sought after. Your support will help us empower change.