Directors UK's Head of Campaigning, Ali Bailey updates us following the latest Women Directors Campaign Open Meeting
Thanks to all the members who joined us at the recent Women Directors Open meeting, it was great to see lot of new faces and always a good sign to be scrabbling for more chairs. Chair Beryl Richards kicked things off with general introductions and provided a campaign update on the progress made since the last meeting. Ali Bailey, Head of Campaigning, gave an overview of broadcasters’ responses and Victoria Morris, Head of Communications, set out the training initiatives that Directors UK is currently developing. Real headway has being made with broadcasters following a series of meetings at the end of last year, each acknowledging the under-representation of women directors in television and recognising they have a distinct role to play in changing the status quo.
The campaign has called on broadcasters to make use of their unique position that enables them to drive the necessary change needed through the commissioning process, which in turn will be the catalyst for production companies, agents and others to respond to. Broadcasters have developed slightly different approaches to improving diversity and gender inequality including internal HR/recruitment processes, strategic priorities and plans, named responsibility, diversity targets linked to bonuses and a range of schemes, however as with all these things the campaign will be focusing on real, measurable change. So watch this space as we prepare for this year’s (second) report, the next steps being a series of meeting with the top production companies to share our findings and discuss how meaningful, long-term change will be achieved. Alongside our data analysis, hearing first hand about the experiences of our women directors is a vital part of our campaign and we appreciate everyone who contributed at the meeting, this really does help keep our campaigning work focused on the everyday realities.
Holly Tarquini, Bath Film Festival Producer spoke about the huge and overwhelming positive response the F-Rating scheme the festival introduced had received and a lot of members were keen to find out how they could get their work involved. Directors UK will be actively championing the F-Rating as a way of positively showcasing the work of women creatives and continuing to challenge the gender inequality it highlights, its the type of thing we really want the BFI and Creative England to think about. So there will be more to come on this one in the coming months. This took the meeting neatly onto film and discussion about the ground work that Directors UK and namely Chair Beryl Richards has been doing since the last Cannes film festival. The research we have carried out across UK television had drawn a great deal of attention and praise from the film community in Europe, and a natural next step is for Directors UK to build a firmer sense of the under-representation of women directors in UK film. However, research into the film industry does present some slightly more complex challenges than our research into television but we are already making good progress in scoping the project. Its really important that in such a crowded area of discussion Directors UK is able to say something new and insight that will specifically helped advance the issues facing women directors.
Finally, it is worth saying something about the open meeting itself. It was really inspiring to be part of a positive and collegiate meeting, with a good dose of candor and the overall sense of 'lets just get on and do this'. And we are...so thank you.
If you'd like to discuss anything about the campaign or just want to get in touch please do [email protected].
Ali is on Twitter at @alibaileyDUK.