Screen Ireland announces new Pathways scheme to ensure diversity
- Minister of Culture Catherine Martin has also launched phase III of the Speak Up initiative; both efforts will require a total public investment of €700,000
As of 20 October, the Irish creative industries are benefiting from two important initiatives to ensure better working conditions. The first of these two commitments was announced by Screen Ireland. The country’s film agency has launched the new Pathways funding scheme along with a call for applications open until 31 December. The effort aims to develop and grow the crew base in Ireland, which is underpinned by a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).
In detail, the Pathways fund will invest €500,000 in driving wider representation and access to the creative screen industry. The fund is open to outfits to support work placements and above-the-line shadowing on production for crew from diverse and under-represented backgrounds and those where access to the film industry would be limited. These placements will be open to crew of all grades. The creation of Pathways comes after the implementation of Passport to Production, which saw 71 new entrants receive essential training from industry professionals. To date, 55 participants have already undertaken work placements, and the remaining ones are expected to be placed on upcoming productions. Skills manager Gareth Lee expressed his positive take on the birth of Pathways: “The growth of the Irish production sector is a major success story for the industry, and has created significant employment opportunities and ongoing skills gaps. The recently announced Pathways fund represents an investment in addressing skills needs for below-the-line production crew across all departments, while ensuring that access to and participation in the exciting range of crew roles is open to a diverse range of talent from all backgrounds.”
Meanwhile, Minister for Culture and the Arts Catherine Martin commented on the results of Speak Up: A Call For Change, a report commissioned by the Irish Theatre Institute as part of its Speak Up initiative.
The report was ordered following the events and revelations of abuses of power in 2017 and 2018, and saw the participation of 1,345 respondents, thanks to whom, Martin added, “we now have a firmer grasp on and understanding of the real extent of individuals’ experiences of seven damaging behaviours – bullying, humiliation, harassment, sexual harassment, victimisation, sexual assault and assault – and the fact that they occur right across the arts sector”.
Respondents were asked what actions they felt would promote dignity at work in the arts. A total of 46% identified sectoral leadership as important, 21% felt that raising awareness and education was paramount, 18% suggested policies and toolkits, and 16% saw training as important. During the upcoming phase III of the initiative, the Irish Theatre Institute will be funded to continue its work, and the ministry will provide €200,000 to support the implementation of the report’s recommendations. These include the creation of a dedicated Code of Behaviour (accessible online along with a register that organisations and individuals can formally sign); the launch of a Dignity in the Workplace Toolkit for arts organisations and professionals that will contain comprehensive information on support and resources for independent workers; the expansion of existing resources including access to counselling, HR, mediation and legal consultation services, free of charge; and the development of arrangements for the confidential reporting of harmful behaviours without fear of reprisal as well as enhanced cross-sectoral support and further research activities. The ministry will also co-operate with the country’s funding agencies – the Arts Council and Screen Ireland – to require them to commit to the Code of Behaviour as a condition for funding.
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