Lack of diversity took centre stage at this year’s Baftas and Oscars awards. Everybody is talking about the problem – but Bectu is leading the way with practical projects that work.
The union’s diversity officer, Janice Turner, worked with Bectu’s camera branch on an initiative that ran over two days on 31 January and 1 February.
The idea was to enable two very under-represented groups – women and BAME men and women – to make contacts, get advice, and develop a relationship with people who have the power to hire.
More than 100 women and BAME men and women who work in camera grades applied for meetings with about 30 directors of photography and focus pullers, and so 230 15-minute meetings were timetabled in advance.
The event was organised in partnership with Primetime and hosted by the company Digital Orchard during the camera sector’s major annual event BSC Expo.
Camera branch’s new equality and diversity officer Catherine Goldschmidt commented: “We recognise that, like much of film and television production, there is substantial under-representation of BAME and female talent in the camera department.
“Because so many breaks are down to who you know, we wanted to introduce women and minority ethnic people working in camera and related grades to those who hire crew members.”
Tim Bertani, secretary of Bectu’s camera branch, added: “This initiative is a great opportunity for talented professionals to widen their networks.”
Janice Turner said: “The branch had the inspired idea of running the meetings as part of the BSC Expo – the big annual exhibition and conference that camera people go to every year.
“That was genius because all the people we wanted in our line-up to do meetings were already going to the event, so it was far easier to arrange than doing a stand-alone event.
“We had people from trainees right up to directors of photography applying for meetings. Everyone is absolutely thrilled with the event and there are calls for it to happen every year.
“It is through practical initiatives like this that we can start to address under-representation.”