THE BLOG
21/02/2016 23:08 GMT | Updated 19/02/2017 10:12 GMT

Diversity: The Force Awakens

So, the force awakened, eh?

Outside the BAFTAS, many artists, predominantly from black and diverse backgrounds protested in reaction to the lack of inclusive representation at the awards.

There were some serious stalwarts of our industry and many came dressed in tuxedos and gala dresses, and to top it all off the wonderful Idris Elba was there...

This was over 10 years ago...

Over the years, there have been numerous protests which have gone mainly unreported and simply considered to be a dampener on an otherwise jolly wonderful evening.

This year, there has been a similar, more supported protest and BAFTA have made sure we all know how much better than the Oscars they are, but as Adam Crozier said recently about the state of the TV industry: 'This isn't a time to be complacent'.

What is a relatively new conversation publicly is far from that in the reality of our industry, but to be fair to BAFTA they have done a considerable amount to promote diversity behind the scenes including providing consistent support for the TriForce Short Film Festival, so fair play.

However the comment coming out of BAFTA that 'it's not our fault, it's the industry' simply passes the buck and fundamentally misses some of the sentiments held by those who represent diverse groups, as well as undermine the genuine conversation about member enrolment.

Awards have an immense impact on our industry, and in many cases are a catalyst. They dictate everything from who will be working over the next 12 months, which directors will be the hot picks, which actors we'll be seeing more of, to who gets funded.

In an industry where profile begets work begets profile begets... surely these award organisations have more of a responsibility for the role they play in shaping our industry?

We're only where we are because they haven't already...

I think it's incredibly telling that the one award that was open to the public was won by John Boyega and speaks of a desire from our audiences for more inclusive talent and content, and I pray with all my might it will go some way toward persuading our industry that diversity is not a financial risk - it's a commercial imperative.

It's clear our audiences want more inclusion. It's our industry, our voters' preferences, our routes of access that are holding everything up.

It will be interesting to see what measures BAFTA actually take after mining the data from their survey. I certainly don't envy them the task before them of actively changing their voting pool (currently capped at 6,500 and people only tend to leave when they're dead or dragged out). However, I do personally believe that it is the responsibility of these foundations to make - no, to insist, - on these changes.

My wise mum used to say 'If you're not part of the solution, then you're part of the problem'. Let's just hope the changes that BAFTA and the Academy are implementing will be a part of that solution.