Advisory Group Members – ICO Screening Days

Independent Cinema Office


Salary: £2,250 fee

The Independent Cinema Office is looking for members for a paid advisory group for its Screening Days programme.

ICO Screening Days is the largest events programme for the UK cinema sector (read more). Part of our recognition of the importance of Screening Days in shaping UK cinemas (both as they are and as they could be) is that we could be doing more to share this influence beyond our staff, and to incorporate a wider range of knowledge, expertise and ideas to change our sector for the better. We are in an ongoing process of challenging our own biases and breaking down assumptions, in order to produce more original and compelling work that our audiences will love.

In recognition of the fact that we don’t have all the answers, we are looking for three new people to take part in our advisory group who can help shape the strategy for Screening Days. This is the second year we will be running the advisory group; during the first year, we benefited greatly from both specific suggestions (e.g. film programmes, session ideas) as well as broader considerations about how we run the event. We’ve put some practical examples of how changes were implemented below.

Information sessions

We will be running two information sessions about the opportunity so you can understand more about what’s involved:

What will the group advise on?

We currently run three specialised events focused on inclusion and diversity; archives; and young audiences. This is where the primary focus of the advisory group will lie. This is a small sample of the kind of areas we need guidance on (we hope the group itself can help expand this further as it develops):

  • Concrete ideas on issues in the sector (including the barriers to creating change and access for a wider group of people)
  • Areas of best practice that the wider sector should adopt
  • Expanding our network of speakers and thinkers
  • Developing the format of events to best support demonstrable change
  • Reaching those who are currently excluded or marginal from independent cinemas audiences (and from Screening Days as an event itself)
What kinds of people are we looking for?

We are not necessarily looking for formal qualifications, a CV as long as your arm or an impressive sounding job title. You don’t need to be familiar with the ICO’s work or have attended Screening Days before. We can imagine that those outside our traditional audience perhaps have the best ideas how the events could change. You do not need to work in film, but you should have a keen sense of the challenges that arts organisations are facing and the issues they have as institutions. It will also be an opportunity to learn about event production and enlarge your professional network.

The key qualities we are looking for:

  • Have knowledge of areas in which UK cinemas could be doing better, either drawn from within or outside the sector
  • Understanding and experience of connecting with audiences (this could be outside film exhibition in the wider film, arts or cultural landscape)
  • Passionate about film exhibition (cinemas, film festivals, community screens, film clubs)
  • Committed to the possibility of change and innovation in UK cinemas
  • Excited by collaboration
  • Have deep insights into the lived experience of those who are currently excluded from the UK’s independent screens (people of colour, working class people and disabled people especially)
What’s involved in taking part?

We envisage spending the equivalent of nine days across the financial year 2022/23, with a mix of research and meetings taking up this time. It is possible to do this work remotely and join meetings online (though you are welcome to join us in the office if you prefer and feel safe). You’ll liaise with Duncan Carson, Projects and Business Manager for ICO (who manages the Screening Days programme) as well as key members of the team where appropriate. You’ll be part of the team shaping the logistical methods, film and session programmes, as well as assessing the open calls we receive for our programmes. You’ll need to be available for around three days of work in the lead up to our Young Audiences event in June, three days ahead of our Inclusion and Diversity event in September and three days ahead of our Archive event in December.

You don’t need to do the work itself. The ultimate responsibility for the events and their delivery lies with ICO staff – this is an opportunity to influence and advise. You will be credited for your guidance of the programme and there will be opportunities to deliver portions of the event including workshops, discussions and film programmes. These will be paid for in addition to general advisory work, if undertaken. We can be flexible around meeting times (including evenings and weekends) to fit your schedules. You are not expected to be the ‘representative’ of a community and your suggestions can be outside of your lived experience. 

We will also be seeking individual session proposals for our three specialist events on young audiences, archives and inclusion and diversity. The call for proposals focused on young audiences will launch soon.  You are welcome to submit an open call proposal and to submit an application to join the advisory group as well.

What are some practical changes that were shaped by last year’s advisory group?

We don’t want the advisory group to be a talking shop. Here’s just a few of the practical outcomes of the collaboration between ICO’s Screening Days team and the advisory group last year:

  • Increase in accessible captioning across our events
  • Introduction of Easy Read formats for our open calls
  • Five+ programmes either led by or suggested by members of the advisory group
  • Implementation of no strings attached bursaries for caring costs and Wi-Fi
What is the fee?

£2,250, which is invoiced in three tranches of £750, one for each specialised Screening Day.

How to apply

Please send an email – either as a written submission or as an audio/video piece – with:

  • A short paragraph on an issue in cinemas, film festivals or community exhibition you think needs improvement, potentially including your approach to changing it or how ICO could use its influence to change it (300 words maximum)
  • A short paragraph on what experience (which need not be professional film industry experience) you would bring to the group that would help us in our work (300 words maximum).

Be direct and concise. Do not be afraid to mention an issue that ICO participates in. Please send these in the body of an email with the subject line ‘Screening Days Advisory Group’ to Duncan Carson:

If you’d like to discuss the role and get a better sense of the work involved, please feel free to email Duncan directly too.

The closing date for this position is 16/03/2022 at 10:00

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