BAFTA Unveils Steering Group to Review Diversity Issues

BAFTA Award - Getty - H 2017
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The British Academy plans a "thorough review" after the diversity crisis that erupted following its film nominations in January.

The British Academy on Tuesday unveiled a steering group that will lead a review into issues of diversity, which became headline news again earlier this year when talent was snubbed from the BAFTA film awards' main acting categories, making them an all-white affair.

The group, which is set meet over video conference and phone consultations due to current conditions in the COVID-19 pandemic, will consider the processes and conditions that contributed to the situation in January while also reviewing the latest available research into systemic issues in the industry. Although BAFTA's film awards will be the primary focus, it is also set to take into account the television, television craft and games awards.

Chaired by BAFTA deputy chair Krishnendu Majumdar, the steering group includes TriStar Television's Kathryn Busby; filmmaker and actor Noel Clarke; Dr Sadia Habib, who co-founded the RizTest; Facebook Northern Europe's Anna Higgs; Film London exec Nahrein Kemp, who also runs the Equal Access Network; Freuds founder and partner Kate Lee; the Other Festival and WIE founder Dee Poku; ITV Commissioning's head of diversity Ade Rawcliffe; producer Marc Samuelson; Sony Interactive Entertainment's Tara Saunders; head of inclusion at the British Film Institute Jennifer Smith; and ThinkBIGGER talent manager Sam Tatlow.

The review, which was announced by the Academy in January following the media fallout after the BAFTA nominations, will cover the nominations and voting process, the role of distributors, the campaigning process, the makeup of BAFTA’s membership and, according to BAFTA, "ultimately how these processes and conditions might be improved with solutions can help drive positive change in the wider industry."

Among the key issues to be examined are diversity, under-represented groups, access, fairness and unconscious bias, voting processes, the campaigning process, the volume of and access to entered titles, and representation in BAFTA’s voting membership.

All the information gathered will reviewed by an independent expert, Doris Ruth Eikhof, who currently leads the Arts and Humanities Research Council project Everyday Diversity in the U.K. screen sector. Findings and recommendations are expected by summer 2020.