Media Release: New research into under-representation in Scotland’s screen sector


New research into under-representation in Scotland’s screen sector to inform positive future action

Survey opens today: 10.2.16

Deadline: 7.3.16

FROM today, Wednesday 10 February, 2016, Creative Scotland is calling on Scotland’s film and TV professionals to take part in a wide-ranging screen equalities survey, to inform our understanding of issues of under-representation.

The findings will help us to address these issues through positive action, going forward.

The survey, which is available here, will gather information on gender, age, ethnicity, disability, and sexual orientation – all defined ‘protected characteristics’ in The Equality Act 2010. Insights into the sector’s practitioners’ socio-economic background, education, occupation, employment status, income and career progression will also be collated.

Natalie Usher, director, Screen at Creative Scotland, said: “A vibrant, relevant screen culture is one which reflects and celebrates Scotland’s diversity.

“We are, however, acutely aware that barriers to access and progression exist within the sector, which need to be addressed.

“Across the UK and internationally, a number of initiatives have focused recently on tackling these issues of diversity and under-representation; Creative Scotland has a responsibility to ensure that it is also responding and that it remains connected to national and international developments in order to serve our Scottish-based constituents fully in this area.

“We need more robust evidence base to identify gaps and support our activities going forward.”

It is anticipated that findings from the survey will be published in April.

At the same time as the survey goes live today, activity tackling industry access and opportunities, on screen representation and audience development, are taking effect throughout Scotland:

Access and opportunities

Film maker, Hope Dickson Leach’s Raising Films  is identifying ways to enable filmmakers with families to keep working by addressing issues that prevent many female filmmakers from pursuing their careers.

Ahead of hosting the panel discussion, When Life Gets In The Way, Wednesday 24 February as part of Glasgow Film Festival’s Industry Focus events, Hope commented on the launch of today’s survey: “A more diverse film industry is better for everyone – not just filmmakers, but audiences who are hungry to see untold stories from a range of voices.

“Gathering data is the best place to start to understand where the inequalities lie, and so the EDI Screen Survey is a very welcome beginning to Creative Scotland’s endeavours to tackle the inequality that exists at so many levels in the film industry. I look forward to seeing what opportunities the results will present to Creative Scotland to further support a more inclusive industry in Scotland.”

On Friday 26 February, Women in Film & TV (UK) will be re-launching their programme of events in Scotland at a Drinks Networking event, supported by Creative Scotland.

This will be part of Glasgow Film Festival’s Industry Focus. Kate Kinninmont MBE, chief executive, will talk about WFTV’s plans for 2016 and will invite special guest, Natalie Usher, to talk about Creative Scotland’s commitment to Screen Equalities.

As well as running their prestigious annual awards, WFTV runs a programme of events and networkings all year round, provides mentoring, collaborates with industry bodies on research projects, and lobbies for women’s interests. Maggie Mutch will be welcomed as co-ordinator of WFTV’s events in Scotland.

Kate Kinninmont MBE, chief executive, WFTV, said: “WFTV has learned over the years that accurate information is the key to successful change.

“Without accurate data we cannot identify problems or evolve strategies to resolve them. I applaud this initiative and I’m sure the information gained will be an invaluable resource for all of us.”

On-screen representation

Scottish Documentary Institute’s (SDI) Bridging the Gap supports Scottish-based filmmakers between training/graduation and a first commission, by offering opportunities to make ten-minute documentaries.

For their 13th edition of Bridging the Gap, SDI has commissioned four short films inspired by the theme of women, from filmmakers Lindsay Brown, Natalia Kouneli, Lucie Rachel and Wilma Smith.

Filmmakers of all genders were invited to submit proposals to make visually innovative, character-led stories with women as a starting point. As well as a cash budget of up to 8K (plus in-kind production and distribution support) the four selected filmmakers will receive further training and mentoring over six months to create vibrant contemporary stories. The films are intended for distribution in cinemas and festivals and delivered by May 2016.

Scottish Film Talent Network’s Emerging Talent Shorts 2015 programme has recently supported the development of Glasgow based screenwriter and director, Raisah Ahmed, and producer, Karen O’Hare’s short film, Meet Me By The Water, about Amara Rahim, a young Scottish Asian woman living in Tarbert, torn between family and tradition and a life of independence in South America.

Ahmed and Rahim first collaborated at EIFF’s 2014 Talent Lab on two feature projects, one of which was shortlisted for the Sundance 2015 Writers Lab.

This project was closely followed by their work together on Raisah’s debut short film, MAGDA, nominated for Best Scottish Short Film at Glasgow Short Film Festival 2015. Raisah is also the co-founder of BAME Boost, a Scotland-based initiative aimed at boosting BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) representation in film, television and theatre. They aim to create an artist led approach to promoting a diversity sea change across stage and screen in Scotland.

Industry access and opportunities

Today, Film Industry Network and Diversity (FIND) is launching its search for 16-24 year-olds from under-represented groups to its training programme. With funding of £110,000 through Creative Scotland’s Screen Skills Fund, the programme works to remove barriers into commissioning and employment.

Throughout the year-long project, FIND will provide pathways into the industry by supporting participants through an intense programme of training, work placements, career guidance, mentorship, short film commissioning and paid internships. The initiative is led by Screen Education Edinburgh, Station House Media Unit Aberdeen, Glasgow Media Access Centre, and includes all members of the Film Access Network Scotland.

Audience development

The inaugural Scottish Queer International Film Festival took place in September 2015 with support from Creative Scotland’s Open Project Fund.  Promoting LGBTIQ viewing, SQIFF also took part in BFI LOVE in November and December 2015 with two programmes. Queer Women in Love featured films by and about lesbian, bisexual, and queer women alongside workshops, discussions, and events that took place across the UK.

Scotland’s annual African film festival, Africa In Motion (AiM) presented its 11th edition in 2015. Bringing African cinema to Scotland, AiM has screened over 500 African films to over 30,000 people in Scotland since the inauguration of the festival in 2006.

In March 2015, Glasgow Film Theatre launched Visible Cinema, a monthly film club for deaf and hard of hearing audiences. Developed in partnership with Film Hub Scotland and Solar Bear, and with funding from Creative Scotland, Visible Cinema is the first initiative of its kind in Scotland. The aim of Visible Cinema is both to bring awareness to cinema access, and to provide a relaxed and welcoming environment in which those who are deaf or hard of hearing can enjoy a range of films.

The launch of the EDI Screen Survey today is integral to Creative Scotland’s continuing work towards mainstreaming equalities, diversity and inclusion right across the arts, screen and creative industries.

For more information on Creative Scotland’s commitment to equalities please visit:

These developments also reflect work taking place throughout the UK and further afield, tackling issues of under-representation, specifically in the Screen sector.

The British Film Institute recently announced the £1m BFI Diversity Fund, and BFI Diversity Standards for all Film Fund Lottery funding schemes including film development, production, distribution and audience development.

Gender inequality in the screen sector is at the heart of work being undertaken by the Irish Film Board and at the end of 2015, Screen Australia announced a suite of initiatives to stimulate screen projects led by women.

UK broadcasters have signed up to Project Diamond, a new industry-wide diversity monitoring system created by broadcasters BBC, Channel 4, ITV and Sky, and supported by Pact and Creative Skillset, through the CDN. It will provide detailed, consistent and comprehensive monitoring and reporting of diversity…. Diamond will go live in the first half of 2016. Once it’s live, people working on or off screen on all UK-originated productions will be asked to enter information on their gender; gender identity; age; ethnicity; sexual orientation and disability into the Diamond monitoring system.


Notes to editors:

Scotland’s Film Strategy 2014-17: Scotland on Screen:

In 2015, we published an update on the work we’ve done in this 1st year:

Snapshot of screen equalities research initiatives:

2014 Creative Skillset Creative Media Workforce Survey:

2014 Geena Davis Institute:

2013 BFI report on female writers and directors of UK films:

European Audiovisual Women’s Network research:

Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here. We enable people and organisations to work in and experience the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland by helping others to develop great ideas and bring them to life. We distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and the National Lottery. For further information about Creative Scotland please visit Follow us @creativescots and

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