Creative Majority: An APPG for Creative Diversity report on ‘What Works’ to support, encourage and improve equity, diversity and inclusion in the creative sector.
The Creative Majority report is the culmination of a collaborative research project, commissioned by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Creative Diversity. It represents a partnership between the APPG Creative Diversity chaired by Baroness Deborah Bull and Labour MP Chi Onwurah with King’s College London and The University of Edinburgh, alongside support from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and NBCUniversal. The partners have worked together to address the question of workforce equity in the creative and cultural sector. Much has been written about inequality in this workforce, with extensive evidence already demonstrating the barriers to employment and leadership opportunities across the industry. The Creative Majority report addresses this issue through a ‘What Works’ approach. It aimed to understand what has worked to improve equity in the creative and cultural sectors, and what can be learned from other sectors to transform the creative labour forces of the future.
The report draws from evidence submissions and roundtable consultations, as well as a review of the academic literature. The literature review is at the centre of the report, and is the basis of many of its recommendations. It examined ‘What Works’ to improve diversity and inclusion in the workplace, from fields as diverse as medicine, science, technology, engineering, maths, education, and management studies. The review offers the evidence of practices to support diversity that work.
The review of the specific and sometimes limited academic literature is brought into dialogue with lived experiences and examples of effective action within the creative and cultural sectors. This evidence was gathered through an open call for evidence and a series of online round tables chaired by the APPG and attended by participants and representatives from across the creative and cultural sectors.
For too long the UK’s creative industries have been dominated by a narrow subset of the UK population – a subset that does not represent our country as a whole. The pandemic has only deepened this issue, with fewer creative organisations, fewer job opportunities and fewer openings for diverse talent. Without action, we risk exacerbating inequalities further in the creative industries and an entire generation of talent – the future of the sector – could be lost. Creative Majority shows how we can plot a positive course out of this crisis. It is the culmination of 18 months of research by the APPG for Creative Diversity and its partners into what works – and what doesn’t – when it comes to boosting diversity and inclusion in the creative sector. The result is a comprehensive report that provides actionable, practical steps for creative businesses and organisations, as well as achievable recommendations for government.
Chi Onwurah MP, Co-Chair, APPG for Creative Diversity
The APPG for Creative Diversity was formed in May 2019 by Ed Vaizey MP (now Lord Vaizey) with the support of Alex Pleasants, formerly Ed Vaizey’s senior policy adviser, and Joanna Abeyie MBE, leading diversity consultant and CEO of Blue Moon. Its aim is to engage with industry and government to identify and tackle obstacles to equality, diversity and inclusion in the creative sector. Baroness Deborah Bull and Chi Onwurah MP are now co-chairs, giving the group prominent voices in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. The group’s vice-chairs and officers bring a further wealth of both political and industry experience and include Baroness Floella Benjamin, Baroness Jane Bonham-Carter, Lord Ed Vaizey and Rupa Huq MP. Alex Pleasants and Joanna Abeyie MBE provide the secretariat for the group.
APPG Creative Diversity: Co-Chair Chi Onwurah MP (Labour); Co-Chair Baroness Deborah Bull (Crossbench); Vice Chair Baroness Floella Benjamin (Liberal Democrat); Vice Chair Baroness Jane Bonham Carter (Liberal Democrat); Vice Chair Lord Ed Vaizey (Conservative); Vice Chair Rupa Huq MP (Labour); Vice Chair Helen Grant MP (Conservative); Kim Johnson MP (Labour); Officer Marsha De Cordova MP (Labour); Officer Giles Watling MP (Conservative). Tracy Brabin (Labour) was a Former Vice Chair.
Dr Dave O'Brien from the Department of History of Art, University of Edinburgh and the Arts and Humanities Research Council Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre (AHRC PEC), Dr Natalie Wreyford and Dr Tamsyn Dent from the Department of Culture, Media & Creative Industries, Faculty of Arts & Humanities, King’s College London, constituted the Creative Majority research team. It was supported by the APPG secretariat, Alex Pleasants and Joanna Abeyie MBE with additional support from Jenny Butterfield, at the Department of History of Art, University of Edinburgh.
The research team were further assisted by a scientific committee that included: Professor Sarah Atkinson; Dr Roberta Comunian; Dr Virginia Crisp; Dr Joanne Entwistle; Dr Jonathan Gross and Dr Wing-Fai Leung from the Department of Culture, Media & Creative Industries and Dr Ruvani Ranasinha from the Department of English, Faculty of Arts & Humanities, King's College London; Beatrice Pembroke, Executive Director, Culture, King’s College London, and Hilary Carty, Director of Clore Leadership.
The Five As
A single report cannot solve all of the inequalities that exist within our cultural and creative industries. Relying on one report and assuming that will be all that is needed is to miss the point of the research literature, current effective practice, and the voices of campaigners. The report must be read in that context, as a contribution and continuation of change for creative diversity, rather than a conclusion.
The report is organised around five headline guiding principles that provide a framework for current effective practices in recruiting, developing and retaining a diverse creative sector. These five As should act as benchmarks for anyone wanting to see results in equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI).
Ambition reflects the need for EDI to be addressed by everyone, at every level, and put at the heart of business, funding and commissioning plans.
Allyship provides the conditions for EDI to flourish and ensures all voices are heard.
Accessibility provokes questions about who is not able to participate and why.
Adaptability provides practical tools for the application of effective practices.
Accountability promotes ways to ensure change happens, lessons are learned and shared, and actions are adapted accordingly.
The five As are complemented by 26 policy recommendations. These recommendations offer methods to transform the creative industries into a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive sector of our economy and society. The policy recommendations also offer a challenge, to businesses, policymakers, the creative sector, and to society, to work together in leading creative diversity in the creative economy.
The report calls for greater ambition, allyship, accessibility, adaptability and accountability: five As that, taken together, provide a framework for good and effective practice and benchmark standards against which businesses can measure progress. The first of these As is the sine qua non. Change will only happen if equality, diversity and inclusion are not left to any one individual or team but are understood as the responsibility of everyone, at every level of every creative organisation: firmly rooted at the heart of business, funding, engagement and commissioning plans. Change at this scale will require bold and visionary leadership across government, at sector level and within organisations and businesses: leadership that is willing to step up to meet the challenge this report sets out. It won’t be easy, but the rewards will be great: a creative workforce and audiences that include, represent and benefit from the talents of the full and glorious diversity of the UK population.
Baroness Deborah Bull, Vice President (Communities & National Engagement) and Senior Advisory Fellow for Culture, King’s College London, Co-Chair, APPG for Creative Diversity