A new campaign is urging creative businesses to make a commitment to diversity and inclusion during recovery from the pandemic, as new data reveals the effect of Covid-19 on arts workers from under-represented communities.
Social enterprise Creative Access is behind the campaign, called #MoreThanWords.
Creative Access works with creative organisations, including the National Theatre, Almeida and Donmar Warehouse to tackle under-representation, in particular working with people from black, Asian and minority ethnic or lower socio-economic backgrounds.
The campaign calls on organisations to make a pledge to hire candidates from a diverse range of backgrounds, to champion the progression of staff from under-represented groups and to help create an inclusive workplace.
It follows a poll of 252 people from under-represented communities which Creative Access is working with, 89% of which were from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds and 19% of which identified as having a disability.
The poll found:
• 85% of current trainees are either not being kept on or are unsure if they will be kept on after their internship. This compares with a pre-Covid-19 rate of more than 90% of trainees moving on to full-time work at the end of their internships.
• More than 40% of respondents had been furloughed, made redundant or had work cancelled or postponed.
• 80% said their priority is to find a new job or freelance work.
• 40% of black, Asian and minority ethnic respondents said they have run out of money or are about to do so.
• 67% of respondents said their mental health is suffering due to Covid-19.
Josie Dobrin, chief executive and co-founder of Creative Access, said: “Creative Access is a community based on the shared values of equity and creativity.
"Our mission is to help under-represented communities, not just enter the creative industries but to thrive when they get in, because only then will the industry truly reflect and engage broader society.
"We are deeply troubled by our survey findings, which show how disproportionately our community has been impacted by recent events; more likely to be furloughed, have work cancelled or postponed; to be affected by the Covid-19 virus itself; and to be impacted by the longstanding structural inequality within the creative industries."