Online unconscious bias training soon available for screen professionals

Judy © David Hindley, Pathé UK 

New opportunities to undergo training to understand unconscious bias are being made available online. The programme - developed by ScreenSkills and the British Independent Film Awards (BIFA) - is designed to help screen professionals recognise and challenge subliminal assumptions – their unconscious bias – in everything from voting decisions in awards to recruitment.

The training will run until February 2021, using National Lottery funds awarded to ScreenSkills by the BFI as part of the Future Film Skills strategy. The programme was originally piloted with BIFA voters in 2018 to create a fair, inclusive and diligent voting process.

It has since also been rolled out to other organisations in the film and television industries, including Bafta. The training is designed to help build a better, more inclusive industry by supporting the workforce to improve leadership, judgement, and decision-making skills.

The updated online training programme will enable professionals to explore whether unconscious bias in areas including gender and ethnicity are affectnig their choices, both in individual decisions and in group deliberations.

Training will be held online, using Zoom, roughly once a month and will be limited to 25 participants per session. The training will be facilitated by Challenge Consultancy who have developed and delivered the training on behalf of BIFA and ScreenSkills for the past two years.

Gareth Ellis-Unwin, ScreenSkills head of film and animation, said “We know that this is a desperately worrying time for people in the industry when so much work has ceased because of lockdown. One of the things we are able to do, however, is offer training and insight for those that choose to use this period to learn in a way they might find difficult to find time for in busier times. We hope that by doing this we keep the workforce resilient, connected and ready for when the return-to-work comes.”

Amy Gustin and Deena Wallace, co-directors of BIFA said: “We’re delighted to be able to continue to offer this vital training. We’ve had excellent feedback from voters, who have found the sessions to be valuable not just for their awards viewing and voting but in many wider applications in their working life: commissioning, casting and hiring decisions and so on. We’re really grateful for ScreenSkills’ continued support of this pioneering programme, which we, and they, believe is an important step to keep developing our industry’s skills and reputation through this time of uncertainty.” 

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