Open Call for Guest Curation
– Inclusion & Diversity Screening Days

Independent Cinema Office


Salary: £500 fee


If you’d like to view an Easy Read version of the Open Call you can find this here:

You can also watch a captioned video about the Open Call in the window below.

The ICO is looking for paid guest curators to provide session ideas for our next Inclusion and Diversity Screening Days event. We need the best ideas for how independent cinemas make a lasting difference to who is included in their audience and workforce. The event is scheduled to take place online on 26 September and in-person at Storyhouse Chester on 28 September.

We want to hear from people inside and outside the film exhibition sector who want to develop curated sessions or film programme ideas. You’ll provide the concept and pull together speakers to help illustrate the thinking behind it.

We are looking for presentations, film programmes that can tour to indie cinemas, panels, case studies, provocations, discussions, workshops, debates, Q&As and more. These should be aimed at increasing the number of people from underrepresented groups who engage with British independent and world cinema in independent venues across the UK, or encouraging a wider group of people to join and contribute to the independent cinema workforce. While not an exhaustive list, the groups we are most conscious of being not proportionally represented are members of the global majority, working class people, disabled people and LGBT+ people (or anyone at the intersection of these aspects of identity).

Does this sound like something you could help us with? Good! Then read on.

To find out more you can either read the longer guidance below or attend one of our information sessions.

Session 1: 2:30pm, Tuesday 18 July – Register here
Session 2: 7pm, Wednesday 26 July – Register here

This is the best way to get up to speed on what we’re looking for from this open call, and you can put questions directly to our team. Even if you can’t attend during the time slot, if you register, you’ll receive the recording afterwards. You do not need to have your camera on to attend this session, and you can ask questions either on camera or via the chat function. Our sessions are captioned (live and on the recording) for those who use them.

If you want to ask a question about the open call, you can email or

What is ID Screening Days?

ID Screening Days comprises preview screenings and curated sessions designed to make a lasting difference to who is included in the audience and workforce of UK film.

We are seeking contributions to both sessions and film programme to reach out beyond the networks and areas of expertise within the ICO.

What kinds of ideas are we looking for?

If your idea will help expand who regularly attends independent cinemas or who takes part in the exhibition workforce – wherever the context – we want to hear it. We would like session ideas to be ambitious, inspiring and engaging, as useful as possible for cinemas to apply, and to focus on specific topics rather than general concepts. There must be a practical outcome for cinemas to be able to apply in their own setting or a proposal that they can show in their own screens (with context as to how to grow audiences).

Possible formats are panel discussions, case studies, provocations, discussion groups, workshops and more. We also are keen to have ideas for film programmes that are an opportunity to speak about the film itself, and the context of how you screened it if that helped diversify the audience.

A few areas your session could cover:

  • Programming: screening a film and then speaking about the way you programmed it as an example of how it went beyond the established cinema audience. This could also serve as an opportunity to find partners for more screenings.
  • Marketing (e.g. how to reach a wider group of people)
  • Embedding more diversity into your venue (e.g. as members of staff, as board members)
  • Outreach and engagement programmes

Take a look at the most recent editions of ID Screening Days to get an idea of what kind of sessions we’ve hosted (but remember that expanding our frame of reference is why we’re hosting an open call):

A few examples of sessions we have hosted from our open call for this event:

Black joy is real: Why it’s time for cinemas to steer away from trauma: In this session, journalist Whelan Barzey and a panel of experts unpicked the industry’s inherent bias towards Black trauma-led stories, how independent cinemas can create a safe space for Black audiences to feel joyful and how to build an ecosystem where these films can thrive economically.

Tokenism or inclusion: Authentically building Southwest Asian and North African audiences: In this session, researcher Alaa Nouasri provided case studies of authentic inclusion with SWANA audiences, which helped attendees understand the complexities and commonalities of this group, guiding towards long-term community-led or venue-led inclusion of these audiences.

Is there a fee available?

If your idea is taken forward we can pay a fee of £500 for organising/administering the session, as well as travel and accommodation budget to travel to the event and a pass to attend the event. There will also be an additional budget to cover speaker fees or other costs to deliver the event. If you plan to lead the session yourself, you are also eligible to receive a speaker fee in addition to your curator fee. Your contribution will be acknowledged in the Screening Days info pack and on social media (if you would appreciate that). You may like to work with a partner or a group in which case the available fee will be split accordingly.

Who can make a proposal?

You do not need to work in film or a cinema to propose a session. If you have practical experience of working with young people, then we want to hear from you. You do not need to deliver the session yourself; as long as you are able to develop it and have the direct connections for it to take place we want to hear from you. You are also welcome to deliver it yourself (for which additional payment is applicable). We welcome international submissions for this open call. You can present online or in person. Unfortunately, we are unable to pay for international travel, so international applicants must deliver as part of our online day.

What are we trying to achieve?

We want to influence people who work in cinemas and other exhibition spaces to be more ambitious around how they engage a wider group of people in their audiences. We are looking for innovative topics and speaker suggestions to make these events as impactful and inspiring as possible. We want to draw on experiences wider than those who currently work at ICO. You can read here about our current staff demographics, but we are especially looking for contributions that focus on ethnically diverse audiences, working class audiences and disabled audiences. We think that people from these groups are also most likely to have ideas on how to improve results with these audiences.

Who are the sessions aimed at? Who attends Screening Days?

Screening Days are attended by people who work for cinemas, mixed-art venues, film societies, film festivals and community cinemas as well as staff of public funders and other agencies working to support film culture in the UK. They will probably work in film programming, marketing and audience development roles. They will likely have small budgets and limited staff time so it’s important that the events give them both inspiration and practical takeaways.

What support is available?

The ICO team are happy to work with you on organising and developing sessions if you’d like, or we can try and pair you with other curators who might like to partner with you. We can provide travel, accommodation, digital costs (e.g. mobile top up) and caring costs (budget permitting) for anyone who is working with you on the session.

How and when should ideas be submitted?

The closing date for submissions is Wednesday 2 August at 5pm. If you’re interested in taking part please send your session idea(s) to Duncan Carson, Projects and Business Manager at the ICO:

Your session idea should be no longer than one page and should include:

  • Session title
  • Session description (no more than 500 words)
  • Why you think this idea will help more diverse audiences engage with independent venues and independent cinema or help a wider diversity of people work in film exhibition
  • Suggested speakers (if applicable)

You are also welcome to send an audio or video recording of no more than 8 minutes describing your idea. We are judging only on content (don’t spend any time on fancy editing or cinematography!). Send a WeTransfer or private YouTube link to

All ideas are reviewed by the ICO internal team and the Screening Days Advisory Group. Once successful ideas have been selected to be taken forward, you will be given more guidance about session design and inviting speakers. We are happy to receive more than one suggestion if you have it.

We will let you know if your idea has been accepted or not by 14 August, offering you around six weeks to prepare the programme if successful. We are happy to offer feedback on all submissions if requested, and we let all applicants know the outcome of their submission.

The closing date for this position is 02/08/2023 at 17:00

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