Following our recent publication of our Employer’s Toolkit for building socio-economic inclusion in the creative industry – Farrah Storr, SMC Commissioner and Editor-in-Chief at ELLE UK – spoke with industry insiders to hear their experiences of the sector; what responsibility individuals and organisations have to think differently about socio-economic inclusion, and how they think the guidance within the toolkit can inform and inspire others to make lasting change.
Catch-up on the recording below and download the slides.
Farrah was joined by Jamie Gill, CEO ROKSANDA and Executive Board, British Fashion Council; Della Hill, Diversity and Inclusion Lead at Chwarae Teg and Emily Jones, Senior Producer at Sage Gateshead.
Each was kind enough to share their perspectives on the difficulties of breaking into the creative industries for people from low Socio-economic backgrounds:
For Della Hill, it was as if she was ‘standing on the edge of a forest’ and she couldn’t ‘work out how to make her way through it.’
Della talked openly about navigating a scarcity of opportunities that seemed to be on offer – something with which Jamie Gill agreed. He added “it felt like I needed more strings to my bow than someone who has come in through a more conventional route.”
Emily shared how Sage Gateshead ‘removed the word talent from their processes. We prefer to talk about potential’.
Priorities for creative sector employers
In an expansive discussion, the panel covered a range of challenges the sector faces in its efforts to improve socio-economic diversity and inclusion:
- How creative sector employers can refine their approach to recruitment and where to focus their efforts on reaching diverse talent
- What measures employers can take to ensure that everyone thrives and progresses in their chosen career within the industry
- The responsibility of leaders within the sector to drive socio-economic inclusion
- How data can help you understand your workforce and support your efforts to make change
- That positive action can support employers to level the playing field
Alongside the engaging and energetic debate, Heather Carey from the Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre (PEC) provided insight from their third paper in their ‘Class and the Creative Industries programme’ highlighting ‘Social mobility in the creative economy: rebuilding and levelling up’, making the case for sharpening the focus on socio-economic diversity, setting out the priorities for building a more socially inclusive creative economy and shaping an agenda for change.