We’re shouting out to the shining stars of the creative industries doing more than just filling a diversity quota – they’re actively paving the way for more inclusivity in the UK’s arts & media landscape.
Journalism should be representative of the diverse voices of the UK audience, however 94% of British journalists are white and 55% of them male. Enter gal-dem, the new British media publication that curates high-quality journalism written by women and non-binary people of colour.
Founded by Liv Little in 2015, gal-dem has grown from a small voluntary team to trailblazers in the UK media scene; covering news, art, politics, pop culture and more. With a lauded V&A late event, a takeover of The Guardian’s Weekend magazine and a pop-up bookshop in honour of Michelle Obama’s memoir under their belt, it’s impossible not to recognise their phenomenal progress.
Earlier this year, gal-dem announced the launch of a brand-new paid internship scheme to nurture the career paths of young talented womxn of colour hoping to break into the industry. The young media company sets an excellent example for the journalism industry, and creative landscape as a whole. We can’t wait to see them flourish even more.
Founded in 2001 by Cassa Pancho MBE, Ballet Black was formed to showcase the talents of black and Asian dancers from around the world. Their ethos is all about ‘celebrating diversity in ballet’ and 18 years later this message is still going strong. They continue to carve out a platform to showcase and encourage talent beyond the white ballet world which has dominated the ballet scene for many years.
Despite small budgets and limited resources, Ballet Black have cultivated a reputation for exciting new work with stripped back set design and fresh choreography. Favouring discipline, creativity and tailor-made programming over the theatrical bells and whistles associated with the classical (and dominating) leg of the dance form, they’ve provided the UK dance scene with a refreshing challenge to tradition that’s been responsible for making ballet more accessible to new, younger and more diverse audiences.
To add to their string of achievements, Ballet Black made history with their collaboration with dance shoe company Freed, producing the UK’s first ever pointe shoes in colours to match darker skin tones.
Set in motion by their large-scale refurbishment in 2016, Bush Theatre made it their mission to have diversity at the core of their existence. Artistic Director at the time, Madani Younis announced that 50% of their programme would be created by black, Asian, minority ethnic and refugee writers, committing to reflect London’s multi-culturalism.
Younis said “Our aim is to use this to help us better reflect the diversity and vibrancy of work of our city. It’s refreshing that this season of six plays includes emerging and established artists from a variety of backgrounds and cultures.”
Three years on and with new artistic director Lynette Linton, the Bush Theatre is still setting a fierce example for London theatres. Their programme is varied and modern. It’s clear that diversity isn’t just a quota or marketing ploy – it’s in their bones. And it filters through to every cog of the theatre, including the audience.