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Rosie Crerar on why Screen Equalities Matter

Equality Matters

Today Creative Scotland publishes Equality Matters: A Review of Equalities, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) in Scotland’s Screen Sector, developed in consultation with Glasgow-based producer Rosie Crerar. Rosie started work on this Review in January 2016 when she worked at Creative Scotland as a Screen Officer and Screen Team lead on Equalities, Diversity and Inclusion.

In late summer 2016 Rosie established Barry Crerar Ltd, the Scottish recipients of a BFI Vision Award (2016-18), alongside fellow producer Ciara Barry. As a partnership they aim to produce contemporary, outward-looking and culturally relevant feature films from Scotland with a focus on stories from voices under-represented in mainstream cinema.

Rosie Crerar

Rosie is part of the BAFTA Scotland 2016-17 Committee, the Scotland Coordinator for Women in Film and TV UK, and the only UK participant in the EAVE (European Audiovisual Entrepreneurs) Producers Workshop 2017. Here Rosie explains what the Review could mean for Scotland’s Screen Sector...

Rosie Crerar: “Equality Matters is the first Review of its kind to focus on equalities, diversity and inclusion in the Scottish Screen Sector. It seeks to present an overview of the sector - exploring the challenges and barriers faced in the context of EDI, and make recommendations for next steps, set against a backdrop of UK and international research and policy.

“In the Review we chart a line from Pathways, to Practitioners and Audiences. These three areas emerged as an obvious framework as they represent a full view of the lifecycle of film.

“Open and accessible entry points determine the range of individuals working in the sector, and the breadth of stories on screen. We know there are systemic and structural factors that affect progression in the industry, and that talent doesn’t always necessarily rise to the top. Individuals can be held back by unconscious bias, economic limitations and their protected characteristics, for example in the case of gender, women often drop out of the sector at parenting age.

“The under-representation of women in key roles in Scotland’s Screen Sector mirrors findings from the rest of the UK and internationally. In the Review we highlight the experience of women practitioners as parents and carers, research recently supported by Creative Scotland through Raising Films.  

“Of course, certain issues emerge as unique to Scotland including the ramifications for practitioners based at a distance from London, still seen as the epicentre of film and TV industry.

“Beyond geography, we also consider the broader social context. In the Scottish education system the moving image is recognised as a language however there is no specific national qualification in film, which limits the numbers and diversity of young people transitioning to the next level.

“In Scotland 15% of people live in relative poverty, and across our research economic limitations were cited as the most significant barrier faced by all practitioners. Creative Scotland recognises socio-economic background as a protected characteristic, and further work to tackle under-representation will also include those from lower socio-economic groups.

“Scotland is an evolving population: whilst there is a 4% minority ethnic population across Scotland, in Edinburgh and Glasgow where the Scottish Screen Sector is predominately based this is 8% and 12% respectively. In our practitioner survey, 10% of respondents were from minority ethnic groups, and of these 40% cited ethnicity as a barrier to progression. Historically there has not been consistent tracking and monitoring of the diversity of practitioners, this is a key recommendation in Equality Matters. Without data there is no evidence-base and therefore no means to track the impact of EDI initiatives or challenge the under-representation of particular groups.

“Our survey also saw 24% of respondents identify as having a disability, compared to 20% of population, with mental health conditions most commonly cited. Calls were made for greater regulation of working conditions to create more sustainable working patterns.

"For our Screen sector to continue to evolve, it is vital we embrace and celebrate the diversity of our communities and in this way the diversity of creativity.”- Rosie Crerar

“So where do we go from here?  Whilst Creative Scotland is initiating this work, for change to be fully comprehensive, impactful and long-term there needs to be sector-wide engagement and commitment. In Equality Matters we recommend the formation of a transparent, self-elected and representative cross-sectoral Screen EDI Working Group.

“As the backdrop of social inequality underpins this work, the Group would benefit from representatives with expertise in the inequalities faced by under-represented groups in Scotland’s Screen Sector, particularly in the context of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation and disability.

“The ambition is that the Review, as an evidence-based piece of work, provides the Working Group and the Sector a reference point for further interrogation and the means to develop methods to address underrepresentation. As an overview, Equality Matters is restricted in its level of detail and recognises how vital that continued engagement with experts within the Sector will be to providing the practical knowledge and insight to determine next steps. The Working Group will manage the implementation of a Screen EDI Framework, and the process by which targets may be set. In the long term should targets prove unsuccessful, it is my opinion that quotas should be explored.

“The findings and consequential recommendations of this Review seek to provide the means to create a step-change across Scotland’s Screen Sector.

“The screen is so often cited as a mirror to society, however if it only reflects back one experience to one particular audience demographic, it minimises and misrepresents the intersectional nature of identity.  

“In an increasingly fragmented world the power of film, as the most accessible and popular cultural form, creates opportunities to bring us together. Through stories on screen we recognise the humanity in our neighbours near and far, we are able to explore our own and others identities, to review the past, and to imagine the potential of our futures. But if we are only engaging with one experience, we are severely limiting our potential, and we are perpetuating the marginalisation of women and minority voices. For our Screen sector to continue to evolve, it is vital we embrace and celebrate the diversity of our communities and in this way the diversity of creativity.”

Find out more about Equality Matters and read the full Review.

Find out more about Barry Crerar Ltd.