Inc Arts UK reveal survey into the experiences of ethnically diverse scriptwriters in film and more

Feb 4, 2022

A groundbreaking survey that will change how we understand the experiences of ethnically diverse scriptwriters in the UK has launched in collaboration with Inc Arts, WGGB and ALCS.

Taking evidence and testimony from UK scriptwriters across film, gaming, radio, television and theatre, Telling our Stories: A Survey develops unprecedented and urgent data on the experiences of scriptwriters from ethnically diverse backgrounds. The first of its kind in the UK, this survey offers a space for ethnically diverse scriptwriters to share their experiences and will form the next phase of WGGB’s Equality Writes campaign to effect change in the industry. Inc Arts Minds will be offering weekly online drop-in spaces to support anyone who feels that, following the survey, they would benefit from a safe space to discuss their experiences. 

The survey is written by ethnically diverse people, for ethnically diverse people. Intersectionality is at the heart of this new research, which shines a light on the multitude of experiences of scriptwriters from all ethnically diverse backgrounds. The survey follows on from the Gender Inequality and Screenwriters report commissioned by WGGB and will form the basis of the next phase of their long term Equality Writes campaign.  

Carol Russell, advocacy lead at Inc Arts UK  said: “This survey marks a shift in the industry, one that we have not seen before. It is the first time that a survey has centred the experiences of ethnically diverse screenwriters across multiple sectors within the UK. It not only provides a place for screenwriters from ethnically diverse backgrounds to tell of their experiences, but it will provide data that is cohesive, in-depth, and representative of the multitudes of voices that will be surveyed. As an organisation at the forefront of representing the rights of ethnically diverse arts and cultural workers, we witness first-hand the barriers and struggles faced by scriptwriters in the UK. It is fantastic to collaborate with WGGB and ALCS on this survey that will give us real, tangible data that will centre the experiences of ethnically diverse screenwriters and begin to develop equitable, long-term change.”

Anand Bhatt, chair of Inc Arts UK board and artistic director & CEO of Dance City said: “This ground-breaking survey puts the voices of creatives at the heart of discussions around equitable change. It is unprecedented in its scale, in its detail, and crucially it is written by ethnically diverse people for ethnically diverse people. It also comes with support from mental health experts that puts care at the forefront of work that needs to be done. A collaborative project between Inc Arts UK, WGGB and ALCS, this survey will encompass the scale necessary to get a full perspective of how ethnically diverse scriptwriters experience their careers and give the industry the groundwork to make an equitable, intersectional future. I urge any scriptwriter from an ethnically diverse background to contribute to this survey.”

“This ground-breaking survey, the first of its kind in the UK, marks the next step in our Equality Writes campaign. 

As a trade union with a long track record of championing equality and diversity, we know that there is much work to be done for all under-represented writers. 

“We also know, from the report we commissioned into the under-representation of women screenwriters, that it is the stories and lived experiences of writers themselves that are the true drivers of change, so we would urge all ethnically diverse writers in the UK to join us in this vital next step of our campaign.’ Added Ellie Peers, WGGB general secretary.

Ethnically diverse scriptwriters across the UK are severely under-represented – all the existing data points to this – and many of the stories played out on our screens, in our theatres, across the airwaves and in the gaming milieu therefore inevitably reflect an unacceptable inequality that must be challenged.  

“This survey is your chance to rewrite this flawed narrative. Please, tell us about your experiences as storytellers – the good, the bad and the ugly. Now is the time to raise your voices and be heard so we can campaign on your behalf and effect meaningful change.” Said Sumerah Srivastav and Sukey Fisher, Chairs of WGGB’s equality and diversity committee.

“We want all kinds of stories to be told from all kinds of people. We want to see those stories in books, in short stories, in poetry, and on stage and screens across the country. The data tells us that ethnically diverse scriptwriters are too few and that’s something we want to change. We ask writers to tell us their story and contribute to this narrative so that we can do just that.”  Concluded Barbara Hayes, ALCS deputy chief executive.

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