Racial Inequality in U.K. Film Industry to be Examined in $1.4 Million Study by BFI, University College London

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One of London’s leading universities has launched a £1 million ($1.4 million) research project into racial inequality and diversity in the U.K. film industry.

University College London, working closely with the British Film Institute, have launched a three-year research study titled “The Colour of Diversity: A Longitudinal Analysis of BFI Diversity Standards Data and Racial Inequality in the U.K. Film Industry.”

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It has been described as the “largest ever study of racial inequality in the U.K. film industry” and will include academic articles, books and films summing up its themes and key findings. It will also include an international conference as well as seminars, workshops and forums throughout the period of the study.

Led by Dr Clive Nwonka, incoming lecturer in Film Culture and Society at UCL’s Institute of Advanced Studies, and Professor Sarita Malik, professor of Media, Culture and Communications in the Department of Social and Political Sciences at Brunel University London, the study will “explore the true nature of the presence, representation and experiences of Black and minority ethnic identities within the U.K. film industry.”

It will be funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and aims to explore both above and below-the-line experiences, including those of actors, technicians, creatives, funders and audiences.

The study, which launches this year and will deliver its findings in 2024, will also consider protected characteristics such as sex, disability and sexual orientation as well as class and how these intersect with racial inequality.

The BFI will provide access to its Diversity Standards data as part of the study and researchers will engage in a “textual analysis” of films since 2016 that have adhered to those standards.

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