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First Screen Industries Census launched in Yorkshire

Kate lead on project

The Screen Industries Growth Network (SIGN) launches the first ever Screen Industries wide employer and freelancer census for Yorkshire and Humber today. SIGN, based within the University of York, is leading the project to understand more about the make-up of the industry. The research will be shared with industry bodies, broadcasters, employers and production companies to help inform policies designed to address inequality of opportunity within the workforce.

The Screen Industries have undoubtedly been one of the UK’s greatest success stories, growing at double the rate of the wider economy in recent years. They are innovative and export-orientated, and a key source of competitive advantage and soft power. The industry has powered back following the pandemic, with more people watching more content than ever before. And this is having an impact on growth in our region which is already known as a hub for TV, Film and Games production.

But during these challenging years, and for some time before that, the industry has acknowledged and debated the fact that the benefits of growth are not being felt equally.

The opportunities created in this vibrant part of the economy are ‘out of reach’ for many and as a consequence, we lose the richness of different voices, stories and input.


Key industry bodies, broadcasters, employers and production companies across film, TV and games have been addressing the lack of diversity in the workforce and have introduced many initiatives to tackle this. But is this working? Do we understand the systemic causes of inequality? And what is the picture at a regional level?

Kate O’Connor, Industry Partnerships Co-Director, SIGN comments: “As a first step, we need to obtain a picture of the current size and shape and profile of the industry – how many people are working and in what areas. This is not research for research sake, it’s absolutely fundamental to find out exactly what the industry looks like at a regional level.
The first ever screen industry wide census will launch on 14th March, and is an opportunity for employers, employees and freelancers within the screen industries to shape the future of their sector.

“So, we are asking everyone involved in the industry to spare just a couple of minutes of their time to help us build an accurate picture of the screen industries here in Yorkshire.”

O’Connor continues: “the overall aim of the project is to find ways to build and grow the Yorkshire and Humber screen industries in an inclusive way.”

Working with The Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre (PEC), the BFI at a national level, and regional partners Screen Yorkshire and Game Republic, the ambitious research programme has been developed to uncover the current landscape and inequalities within the creative industries. The research team will then work collaboratively to deliver the solutions.

Kate explains: “There has been so much happening at regional level, from Channel 4 setting up its headquarters in the region, to the increase in film and TV production and the development of strong games, animation and immersive content companies. But we don’t know enough about our companies or our workforce and until we do, we can’t possibly know what we need to do to correct the lack of diversity and access to the industry. These short surveys will give us the foundation knowledge we need.

Caroline Cooper Charles, Chief Executive at Screen Yorkshire says “The film and TV industry is often asked for information and data but participation in this census is vital if we are to really address the longstanding diversity issues in our sector. We need to better understand where problems and challenges exist and collectively take responsibility for a process of recognition and change. We know our regional screen community is committed to a more inclusive industry and hope that everybody will take a small amount of time to contribute to this important piece of research.”

Jamie Sefton, Managing Director, Game Republic comments, “We hope that everyone who works in games in Yorkshire and Humber will get involved in this research. Knowing more about our games industry workforce will be incredibly useful and mean that we can better support the people and companies who work in our region.”

SIGN researchers are seeking responses from: broadcasters, industry bodies, production companies, freelancers and screen content creators working within film, TV, games & digital, including, immersive media, animation, corporate video and video advertising.
Two surveys, one aimed at employers and the other the workforce.

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