Diversity conference 2020: action not words – building a diverse workforce

How to build a diverse workforce including the experience of recruiting locally and changes to the production landscape in the North from Channel 4’s move to Leeds were addressed in this discussion at the 2020 ScreenSkills’ diversity conference.. Chaired by Lisa Holdsworth (RTS) the session featured Babita Bahal (Channel 4), Sanjiv Buttoo (BBC), Jane Hudson (executive producer, Emmerdale) and Carol McKenzie (True North).

You can watch more videos from this conference here.

About the speakers

Lisa Holdsworth has written for many shows including Fat Friends, Emmerdale, Robin Hood, Midsomer Murders, Ackley Bridge, Call The Midwife, and Discovery of Witches. She is the chair of the Writers Guild of Great Britain.

Babita Bahal is Head of Creative Diversity at Channel 4. She has delivered growth and improved performance for large TV and media brands for more than 20 years. Prior to joining Channel 4, she was a diversity and inclusion specialist at the BBC.

Sanjiv Buttoo, Managing Editor of BBC Radio Leeds, starting his radio career 30 years ago as a programme presenter and producer. In 2000, BBC’s Asian Network appointed him as a reporter in the North of England reporter and then South Asia. Returning to the UK in 2012, he worked for Radio York before moving to Radio Leeds.

Jane Hudson’s career has crossed some of the most popular dramas of the past 20 years before returning her to ITV as executive producer for Emmerdale.

Carol McKenzie is Head of Production and Facilities at True North,a rapidly-expanding production company based in Manchester and Leeds  with its own post-production facilities. Her remit includes budgeting and staffing across all projects, training, and talent development as well as liaising with broadcasters and trade bodies.

About the event

The UK screen industries need to be more inclusive. People such as women and people from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds are under-represented across the sector. People from disadvantaged backgrounds also often struggle to break in.

ScreenSkills organised a half-day conference in Leeds on 11 March about the practical ways in which the industry can improve diversity and inclusion in screen. The conference was supported by the BFI, awarding National Lottery funds as part of its Future Film Skills strategy.