APPG for Creative Diversity announces partners and issues a call for evidence for research project into ‘what works’ 

April 16, 2020

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Creative Diversity today announces its partners and issues a call for evidence for a year-long research project into ‘what works’ to boost diversity and inclusion in the creative sector. 

The sector currently faces an unprecedented crisis. Supporting the creative industries in their efforts to be open and diverse will be crucial as businesses and organisations rebuild and recover. Knowing what the best strategies are - ‘what works’- is therefore more important than ever. 

The APPG is working with research partners King’s College London, University of Edinburgh and the Creative Industries Policy & Evidence Centre (led by Nesta) on a year-long project looking at ‘what works’. The project will detail the variety of ways that the industry can engage with a wide and diverse range of talent and construct sustainable, inclusive approaches to opportunities and access. Recommendations will be formulated for both the sector and government and the project is expected to culminate in summer 2021. 

The APPG will be supported over the course of the research project by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation – one of the UK’s foremost philanthropic foundations supporting the arts - and NBCUniversal – one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies. Creative Industries Federation will provide communications and digital support. 

As previously announced, the APPG will officially be co-chaired by Baroness Deborah Bull and Chi Onwurah MP – giving the group prominent voices in both the Commons and Lords. The group’s vice-chairs/officers bring a further wealth of both political and industry experience and include Baroness Floella Benjamin, Baroness Jane Bonham-Carter, Rupa Huq MP and Giles Watling MP. 

Alex Pleasants, formerly Ed Vaizey’s senior policy adviser, and Joanna Abeyie MBE, leading diversity consultant and CEO of Blue Moon, will continue to run the APPG as co-secretariats, with Dr. Dave O’Brien of the University of Edinburgh acting as the group’s research adviser. 

Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, roundtables will initially commence via Zoom, before resuming in Parliament at a later date. Evidence will also be gathered through a global literature review and an online submission process, which is now officially open. 

Please email your submissions of ‘what works’ – evidence-based approaches to embedding diversity and inclusion in creative businesses and organisations – to: diversityappg@gmail.com 

Co-chair Baroness Deborah Bull said: “The creative industries have become a UK success story, contributing significantly to the UK economy and to our reputation around the world. Arts and culture are playing a crucial role in bringing communities together in these challenging times and will play a part in our nation’s recovery. Creative careers will continue to have much to offer - not least because of their resistance to automation - and yet access to those careers remains uneven. This goes on to influence the work that gets produced, whose voices it represents and, ultimately, who makes up the audiences. This matters, because representation matters: if the workforce is skewed, then so is the message. In light of this current situation, which presents such a threat to our creative industries, we must double down on our efforts to identify ways to address this challenge. I look forward to working with colleagues across and beyond Parliament to level up opportunities so that everyone, whatever their background, has equal access to consider a creative career.” 

Co-chair Chi Onwurah MP said: “The Creative Industries are an critical part of our culture and economy. But they don’t represent our country. This work will help us identify what works best to change that.” 

Moira Sinclair, Chief Executive of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, said: “We have long argued that diversity in the cultural sector and creative industries is not a ‘nice to have’, but a business imperative and social justice issue. There is a danger that the current crisis could perpetuate inequalities, which makes this work all the more important. If we do not act, as we re-emerge, we run the risk of being irrelevant, of losing talent and of stagnating. There is good practice out there, and we hope Paul Hamlyn Foundation’s support for the APPG for Creative Diversity and the platform this provides will make it more visible, encouraging others to improve their own approaches to recruiting and retaining talent.” 

Craig Robinson, Executive Vice-President and Chief Diversity Officer at NBCUniversal said: “NBCUniversal is delighted to support the work of this cross-party group of Parliamentarians, with its aim of improving diversity and inclusion performance across the creative industries. The APPG is encouraging all of us in the industry to redouble our efforts to provide access and opportunities for people from all of the UK’s under-represented groups. NBCUniversal’s own work in this field is extensive, but we are never complacent - we look forward to both learning from others and sharing best practice from within our own company.” 

Caroline Norbury, Chief Executive of the Creative Industries Federation and Creative England said: "It is essential for our world-leading creative sector that we improve diversity in all its forms. The work of the APPG for Creative Diversity will help provide new insights into effective ways of engaging broadly and eliminating longstanding obstacles to inclusion. We are delighted to be supporting this important work." 

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The APPG for Creative Diversity is a cross-party group in Parliament co-chaired by Baroness Deborah Bull and Chi Onwurah MP which exists to identify and tackle obstacles to diversity and inclusion in the creative sector. 

Established by Alex Pleasants and Joanna Abeyie MBE in 2019, the group aims to establish effective practices in recruiting, retaining and developing diverse talent and provide recommendations for industry and government. 

The APPG is working with research partners King’s College London, University of Edinburgh and the Creative Industries Policy & Evidence Centre (led by Nesta) to produce a comprehensive research report into ‘what works’ to encourage and embed diversity in creative organisations. Through roundtable sessions, evidence submissions and a global literature review, we aim to detail the variety of ways that the industry can engage with all talent and construct sustainable, inclusive approaches to opportunities and access. Paul Hamlyn Foundation, NBCUniversal and Creative Industries Federation will support the APPG over the course of this project. 

For more information about the APPG for Creative Diversity, please contact Alex Pleasants (co-secretariat) on diversityappg@gmail.com or 07500 898388 

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