The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) has unveiled a new steering group to lead a major review to help improve representation in its film awards, after widespread criticism for their lack of diversity earlier this year.
BAFTA’s film awards in February were overshadowed by a major diversity debate after no actors of color were included in any of the major acting categories, and no women were nominated in the best director category.
Seeking to tackle the issue head on, BAFTA said on Tuesday that the new steering group will “lead the review of the processes and conditions which contributed to a lack of diversity in some of the categories in this year’s British Academy Film Awards.”
The review will cover the nominations and voting process, the role of distributors, the campaigning process, the makeup of BAFTA’s membership and, ultimately, “how these processes and conditions might be improved with solutions that can help drive positive change in the wider industry.”
Initial findings and recommendations are expected by the end of the summer.
The steering group is made up of BAFTA board and committee members, BAFTA staff, external industry figures, independent advisors, and diversity advocates and academics.
The group will be chaired by BAFTA deputy chair Krishnendu Majumdar. Other members include: Kathryn Busby, executive vice president of TriStar Television; actor, writer, director and producer Noel Clarke; Dr Sadia Habib, an academic and co-founder of RizTest; Anna Higgs, head of entertainment media partnership, Northern Europe, at Facebook; Nahrein Kemp, film and TV executive, Film London, who runs Equal Access Network; Kate Lee, founder and partner at Freuds; Dee Poku, founder and CEO of WIE, and founder of The Other Festival; Ade Rawcliffe, head of diversity at ITV Commissioning; producer Marc Samuelson; Tara Saunders, director of studio operations at Sony Interactive Entertainment; Jennifer Smith, head of inclusion at the BFI; and Sam Tatlow, ThinkBIGGER talent manager.
BAFTA said the steering group will lead an “extensive industry consultation” that will underpin their review process, and that they would also review the latest research into systemic issues in the industry.
It will focus on BAFTA’s Film Awards, but will also take into account the BAFTA Television, Television Craft and Games Awards.
Key issues to be examined include: diversity, under-represented groups, access, fairness and unconscious bias, voting processes, campaigning process, volume of and access to entered titles, and representation in BAFTA’s voting membership.
All the information gathered and the steering group recommendations will be reviewed by an independent expert: Professor Doris Ruth Eikhof, University of Glasgow, who currently leads the AHRC project Everyday Diversity in the U.K. screen sector.
For now, because of coronavirus restrictions, meetings will be carried out via video conference and phone consultations, with a range of industry bodies, organizations, industry professionals and advocacy groups having already been invited to participate, as well as the current BAFTA membership themselves.