Recognising and addressing unconscious bias and structural inequalities: A case study within television idea development

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Brown, Lucy
Davies, Rosamund
Oyebanjo, Funke
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Film and Screen Media, University College Cork
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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.
Television industry , Diversity and inclusion , Unconscious bias , Ideas development
Brown, L., Davies, R. and Oyebanjo, F. (2022) 'Recognising and addressing unconscious bias and structural inequalities: A case study within television idea development', Alphaville: Journal of Film and Screen Media, 24, pp. 97-117.