The Department of Film Studies makes a priority of discussion, debate, and improvements with regards to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (ED&I). In recent times, incidents of race-related violence have been all-too prominent and the problem of racism is matched by equally troubling and long-standing problems of systemic discrimination and violence against women and LGBTQ people.
These problems make it incumbent on us to do more to create a fair and egalitarian society. We feel this responsibility especially because the issues cinema and related media have often been deeply implicated in the inequalities concerned.
Like King’s as a whole, in the Department of Film Studies, we are committed to ensuring that people of all backgrounds have the opportunity to study with us and feel welcome, safe, and supported when they do. (Read the Principal’s statement).
As a department, we are committed to:
- Listening to student and staff opinions on the equality, diversity, and inclusiveness of our curriculum, including the variety of modules we teach, their content, methodology, reading lists, and filmographies;
- Periodically reviewing our curriculum to improve it with regard to ED&I, based on feedback from students and staff and developments in the discipline;
- Ensuring that all modules provide substantial opportunities for reflection on, and discussion of questions of ED&I;
- Making ED&I a prominent standing item on the agendas of all Department of Film Studies meetings;
- Ensuring that Film Studies research events, including our Research Seminars, fully consider ED&I issues in their planning and their range of topics and guest speakers;
- Ensuring that all staff receive unconscious bias training and implement its principles in their work;
- Ensuring that all students are equally supported, and feel equally supported, in their academic studies and attainment, regardless of race, gender, sexuality, socio-economic background, nationality, ethnicity, or religion;
- Providing support and assistance to students with mental health difficulties or mental illness, destigmatising those problems and referring students for specialist advice where necessary;
- Devising plans to increase the diversity and inclusiveness of our staff and student body.
Since 2017, the Department of Film Studies has implemented its own policy on ‘Diversity and Inclusion in the Film Studies Curriculum’ and in 2020 we implemented a ‘Film Screenings and Content Notes Protocol’ as well. These documents are available for staff and students to view in the Film Studies sections of our online learning hub known as KEATS.
We know that many people have been outraged and distressed by recent events in which inequalities of race, gender, and sexuality have been plain to see. We are committed to learning from these in order to make things better. To any student who has been a target of hate due to racism — or because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, ethnicity, age, religion or beliefs — we stand with you. For more information, read the College guidance on reporting bullying and harassment.
In 2020–21, the Department of Film Studies is running a series of six special meetings on ED&I to listen to and discuss the views and concerns of students and staff on these issues. These meetings are open to all Film Studies students and staff. The outcomes of the meetings will be reported on a regular basis to Department meetings, the Staff-Student Liaison Committee, and to the ED&I Committee of the Faculty of Arts & Humanities. These outcomes will include concrete steps to be taken to improve equality, diversity and inclusion in the Department.
We hope to facilitate open-minded listening and honest conversation with a view to transforming our beliefs into action, learning from adversity and making improvements as a result.
Professor Mark Shiel
Head of the Department of Film Studies
King’s College London
*This statement will be updated periodically