Empowering Big Debate on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Action

MPA Big Debate DEI&A Panel

An empowering big debate collaboration between the MPA, Wavemaker and The Ideas Foundation took place last night, paving the way for a more inclusive future for the next generation of creatives entering the creative workforce. Significant initiatives and insights were explored amongst the gathering, including the Ideas Foundation’s very own Mentorship Scheme.

The most recent findings from the MPA’s survey were shared, examining how attitudes and insights, towards diversity within the creative industries, have progressed since the 2019 survey release.

Emma Slater – Chair
Managing Director, Wavemaker North

Lisa Thompson
Strategy Lead, Wavemaker North
Lisa is also the Co-founder of the group Common People, which focuses on increasing representation within the creative industries. Named on the IPA iList 2022, in 2023 she became an IPA fellow and served as the Bloom North President.

Christina Thakor-Rankin
Co-founder, All-In Diversity Project.
Christina is a thought-leader and expert in the racing, gambling, betting, and gaming industry, a traditionally male-dominated sector. The technical author of the BSI standard PAS 1948:2023 Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the workplace, her contributions to the industry have earned her recognition and numerous awards.

Paul Reid
Director of Innovation, The Ideas Foundation
Paul joined the Ideas Foundation in November 2023, bringing a rich background in youth and community work, local democracy, community-led regeneration, and the arts. Paul continues to guide diversity and Inclusion efforts in the creative sector.

Charles Reid
Client MD, Carat UK (Manchester)
With 30 years of experience in the Media Industry, Charles leads the Manchester Carat team and co-chairs dentsu’s LGBTQ+ ERG, PROUD. Dentsu is recognised as a top 100 employer by Stonewall’s UK workplace Equality Index.

The Big Debate IF Mentoring Scheme

The Ideas Foundation Mentoring Scheme is a pillar to our commitment in fostering diversity and inclusion in the creative industries. Mentoring with The Ideas Foundation is more than advice and guidance, it’s about bridging the gap between young creatives and the industries they aspire to work in, regardless of background.

Mentoring plays a crucial role in breaking down internal and societal barriers, enabling young creatives to get the holistic support that they require to succeed. The process of mentoring is beneficial to both the mentor and the mentee, further upholding our commitment of equity within the industry.

Generous, positive but challenging insights.

Heather MacRae

Why does mentoring matter?

  1. Skill development and confidence building
  2. Leadership and communication enhancement
  3. Network building
  4. Enhances Wellbeing

The Big Debate Key Takeaways

  • Action over perfection: We often tell young people to not be afraid of making mistakes, so we need to model this. The fear of language barriers and making mistakes often prevents from action being taken. Genuine intent is more important when driving change.
  • Safe, authentic workplaces: Employees who feel like they can bring their whole selves to work, rather than a compartmentalised version of themselves, feel happier, produce better work, and are likely to stay longer.
  • Complex barriers to entry: Understanding that different groups experience different barriers to entering the industry is key. Mentoring is essential to champion diverse entrants.
  • Cultural Influence: Projects with a large following and cultural influence have the power to drive change by changing social perceptions, like with Bridgeton and the work of Lenny Henry.
  • Organisational Support: Support at all levels of an organisation is crucial for lasting change. This is more impactful than token gestures as sustained action is key. Your target audience and employees know when a poster/advert is disingenuous.

The Big Debate Reflection

Last night, Wavemaker hosted the MPA-organised Big Debate on IDE&A. Despite travel disruptions, The Ideas Foundation’s Paul Reid and Heather MacRae attended in support of the MPA team. The panel spoke with a library of experience and expertise on the creative industries with their discussions offering “generous, positive but challenging insights” and laid a roadmap for a continued journey towards fostering diversity and inclusion for the New Creative Class.

Stressing the importance of genuine intent and sustained action, we can continue to build a more inclusive future through a collaborative effort.

By Marisol Holme

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