This update covers unconscious bias training undertaken by the ICO, the development of our programming charter, trustee recruitment and Screening Days results and adaptations.
Unconscious Bias training
In May-July 2021 we undertook comprehensive unconscious bias training with Talawa Theatre company, which all staff and board members took part in.
The training experience was split into three separate sessions to allow thought and discussion in between. For one of the sessions staff and board members identifying as Black, Asian or ethnically diverse took part in a separate meeting to allow a more frank discussion and sharing of experiences.
We are currently considering how to embed some of the findings and recommendations from the training into our everyday working practices. For instance, we have ensured all staff now have access to the direct contact details for board members in case they need to raise concerns involving the ICO’s senior management team.
ICO Programming Charter
The Programming Charter aims to increase the amount of films shown by Black, Asian and ethnically diverse filmmakers in our client venues, as well as growing audience engagement for these titles. We are hoping to roll out a pilot scheme of this project in 2022, in which we’ll work closely with four-five venues for one year.
During this time, we’ll encourage them to show a selection of films every quarter made by Black, Asian and ethnically diverse directors. We also want to engage distributors at an early stage to identify potential titles for the project, with an aim to work together to support these films and to give them the best opportunity possible to succeed at the pilot venues.
In line with our commitments to diversify our board and bring a wider range of perspectives to our organisation, we embarked on a new approach to trustee recruitment. First, we spoke to a number of different organisations who had undertaken the same kind of commitment successfully; had conversations with organisations who specialise in the recruitment, retention and support of young Trustees and undertook a Clore course on governance in this area with speakers ranging from CEOs to trustees and consultants.
We then re-wrote our board recruitment pack, changing our policy to enable potential candidates to apply via a short video as well as via our application form. We held three open Zoom meetings at which prospective candidates could meet the Director of the ICO and current ICO Trustees and ask questions. We interrogated where we should advertise and how we could communicate the opportunity most widely.
At the same time, we looked again at our board induction policies and revised those, ensuring that prospective Trustees will have a ‘buddy’ both on the board and within ICO staff, and will be supported properly with training and one-to-one support.
We proceeded with recruitment and achieved a 325% increase in applications from a much wider range of people in terms of age, geography, lived experience, ethnicity and disability. Applications were shortlisted by two Trustees and the Director and we interviewed 14 candidates by Zoom.
Working alongside our Screening Days advisory group, we have implemented a more rigorous project review process with direct feedback on the points they have raised.
We continued our EDI commitments in film programmes for the events, with 50% of films screened at Young Audiences and ID (Inclusion and Diversity) Screening Days made by Black, Asian and ethnically diverse directors and 42% of films at November Screening Days.
After discussion and debate internally and with our advisory group, ICO retained the ID (Inclusion and Diversity) Screening Days event, relaunched as a hybrid event over three days. Attendance doubled from our 2019 event. Three sessions (of nine total) were selected from our open call to external curators, with four other sessions devoted to open discussion and collaboration between peers.
Our Screening Days open calls have received increasing numbers of submissions that attest to the incredible talent that we can access via collaboration. Responding to this, we have doubled the number of open call selections for our Archive Screening Days event in December 2021.
We have reviewed our Code of Conduct policy and are undertaking training to be able to be active bystanders at events.