Open Call for Guest Curation – Inclusion and Diversity Screening Days

Independent Cinema Office

Salary: £500 fee

The ICO is looking for paid guest curator contributions to Inclusion and Diversity Screening Days. The event is scheduled for the week of 27 September. We want to hear from people inside and outside the film exhibition sector who want to develop contextualised film programmes and/or curated sessions (presentations, panels, case studies, provocations, discussions, workshops, debates, Q&As and more). These should be aimed at increasing the diversity – across all intersectional areas of underrepresentation in film – of both the audiences and workforce of film.


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. If you require the Open Call in another format please let us know.

Open Call video

What is Inclusion and Diversity Screening Days?

Inclusion and Diversity Screening Days offers preview screenings of independent, world and arthouse films, empowering exhibitors to make informed choices for their programming so they can reach a wider group of audience members. Combined with these preview screenings will be capacity-building sessions (presentations, panel discussions, case studies) on audience development and best practice programming and cinema marketing. We are seeking contributions to both parts of the programme to reach out beyond the networks and areas of expertise within the ICO.

What kind of ideas are we looking for?

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. Possible formats are panel discussions, case studies, provocations, discussion groups, workshops, debates 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. If your idea will help bring diverse audiences into cinemas, we want to hear it.

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. ways to reach diverse or excluded groups, adaptations to current marketing channels)
  • Outreach and engagement programmes
  • Online audience development
  • Improving the working lives of people excluded or marginalised in the sector
  • Expanding the canon of cinema history 
  • Development of diverse audiences in rural settings
  • Cinema operational adaptations to increase diversity

Please note that we are planning to deliver this event in a hybrid format incorporating both in-venue and virtual screenings and sessions. We recommend that more didactic, presentation-based sessions are planned as in-venue events (which will also be livestreamed to attendees watching remotely) while more interactive, Q&A-based sessions are planned as virtual events (to ensure an equality of experience between attendees).

What do we mean by diversity?

Over the last year, the ICO has been thinking a lot about and researching the areas where there are gaps in representation both in audiences and workforce. Some key areas where change is needed are:

  • Racial and ethnic diversity
  • Disability, D/deaf and neurodivergence
  • Sexuality
  • Trans and gender non-conforming people
  • Class privilege and access to opportunity

Is there a fee available?

If your idea is taken forward we can pay a fee of £500 for organising/administering the session and a pass to attend the event. There will also be an additional budget to cover speaker fees, including if you plan to lead the session yourself. 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 in diversity development work to propose a session. If you have practical experience of developing diverse audiences or supporting workforce diversity from other sectors that is applicable to the film sector, 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).

What are we trying to achieve?

We want to influence people who work in cinemas and other exhibition spaces to be more ambitious and try new ways of engaging diverse audiences. We also want the sector to be more hospitable to people from all backgrounds and to make a diverse workforce the means by which we are successful. We are looking for innovative topics and speaker suggestions to make these events as impactful and inspiring as possible.

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 are also able to provide accommodations for access that you – or anyone who you might engage for the session– might need.

How and when should ideas be submitted?

The closing date for submissions is Monday 23 August at 10am. 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 build diverse audiences or help diversify who works in film exhibition
  • Suggested speakers (if applicable)

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 25 August, offering you around four weeks to prepare the programme if successful. We are happy to offer feedback on all submissions if desired.

The closing date for this position is 23/08/2021 at 10:00

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