Alphaville: Journal of Film and Screen Media. Issue 24: Fostering Diversity On and Off Screen

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    Alphaville Journal of Film and Screen Media Podcast. Episode 08, Issue 24, 'Fostering Diversity On and Off Screen'
    (Film and Screen Media, University College Cork, 2022) Dooley, Kath; McHugh, Margaret; Berry, Marsha
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    Recognising and addressing unconscious bias and structural inequalities: A case study within television idea development
    (Film and Screen Media, University College Cork, 2022) Brown, Lucy; Davies, Rosamund; Oyebanjo, Funke; Berry, Marsha; Dooley, Kath; McHugh, Margaret
    This article examines the idea development process within the UK television industry and raises the question of who has power and agency within it. Recently, there has been much discussion within the television industry about the commercial and social imperative for greater diversity, inclusion and risk taking in programme making, in order to both represent and appeal to contemporary audiences. However, our research suggests that there is at the same time a sense of disempowerment, a feeling that television culture itself is inhibiting this change and that individuals can do little to influence it. Building on existing research in the creative industries, this case study draws on observations, interviews and surveys carried out within the context of a talent development scheme and wider consultation with television development professionals. We will discuss the reasons for these contradictory currents of feeling, including the ways in which unconscious bias may operate to perpetuate inequalities and exclusions. Our article proposes that recognising and addressing unconscious bias within the idea development process is an important element in the wider process of tackling structural inequality in the television industry through collective action and institutional change.
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    White noise: Researching the absence of First Nations presence in commercial Australian television drama
    (Film and Screen Media, University College Cork, 2022) Nobes, Karen; Kerrigan, Susan; Berry, Marsha; Dooley, Kath; McHugh, Margaret
    First Nations content on commercial Australian television drama is rare and First Nations content makers rarely produce the content we see. Despite a lack of presence on commercial drama platforms there has been, and continues to be, a rich array of First Nations content on Australian public broadcast networks. Content analysis by Screen Australia, the Federal Government agency charged with supporting Australian screen development, production and promotion, aggregates information across the commercial and non-commercial (public broadcasting) platforms which dilutes the non-commercial output. The research presented in this article focused on the systemic processes of commercial Australian television drama production to provide a detailed analysis of the disparity of First Nations content between commercial and non-commercial television. The study engaged with First Nations and non-Indigenous Australian writers, directors, producers, casting agents, casting directors, heads of production, executive producers, broadcast journalists, former channel managers and independent production company executive directors—all exemplars in their fields—to interrogate production processes, script to screen, contributing to inclusion or exclusion of First Nations content in commercial television drama. Our engagement with industry revealed barriers to the inclusion of First Nations stories, and First Nations storytelling, occurring across multiple stages of commercial Australian television drama production.
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    Scotland’s for Me? The (gendered) salience of parental status and geographical location to experiences of working in film and television
    (Film and Screen Media, University College Cork, 2022) Berridge, Susan; Berry, Marsha; Dooley, Kath; McHugh, Margaret
    In recent years, international scholarship and industry reports have exposed the inherent incompatibilities between the media sector’s working cultures and caring responsibilities, focusing particularly on women who remain disproportionately responsible for childcare. The ideal media worker—characterised by geographical mobility, autonomy, adaptability and total commitment to work—is highly at odds with the material realities of parents and carers. However, despite recognition of the salience of mobility to wider (gendered) patterns of exclusion of parents, there is little scholarship that critically scrutinises the significance of geographical location on their experiences of work. This article addresses this lack, contributing to wider debates around the need to promote equity, diversity and inclusion in the film and television workforce, which, in turn, is viewed as crucial to facilitating diverse representations, voices and perspectives on-screen. Using the Scottish screen sector as a case study, the article draws on a series of one-to-one interviews with parents – both men and women – who work, or have previously worked, in the film and television industries to explore the complex ways in which gender inequalities are mediated by both geographical location and caring responsibilities.
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    Imagining diversity: An Irish case study of graduates’ perceptions of inequality in media work
    (Film and Screen Media, University College Cork, 2022) Arnold, Sarah; O'Brien, Anne; Berry, Marsha; Dooley, Kath; McHugh, Margaret
    Recent international challenges to the hegemonic structures in the media industries—particularly regarding gender, sex and class—have resulted in a range of institutional-level responses. In Ireland, state bodies such as Screen Ireland and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland have developed gender action plans. Funding incentives in screen production are now tied to increasing women’s participation. The national broadcaster, RTÉ and various independent companies have published diversity and inclusion strategies. The Irish media workforce today, it seems, should be open and inclusive to all. However, contemporary scholarship on media work suggests that structural barriers remain (O’Brien and Kerrigan; French). Media work is still a site of privilege, with working conditions and cultures reproducing class and gender hierarchies. (O’Brien et al., “Are”; Malik; Banks and Oakley). Our article proposes to add to this body of knowledge by prioritising the relatively neglected point of view of aspirant new entrants to industry. Generation Z graduate entrants articulate how graduates conceive of diversity and equality in the workplace, whether they believe they will experience structural or cultural exclusions, and how they interpret organisational efforts to achieve change.