Social and Cultural Inequalities

Researchers from The University of Manchester’s Centre on Dynamics of Ethnicity are exploring the robustness of moves towards diversity within the cultural sector during a time of crisis. This is being done via data collection and the experience evaluation of those who have entered the cultural industries via work placements and training schemes, examining the impact of the pandemic on diversity policies.

In March 2022, the research project published the report, ‘The impact of Covid-19 and BLM on Black, Asian and ethnically diverse creatives and cultural workers’. This saw experts, including Dr Roaa Ali, partnering with Creative Access to gather data on the experiences of ethnically diverse workers – and those aspiring to work – in the industries. The report found that the pandemic had worsened pre-existing inequalities in the creative and cultural industries by causing job insecurity and financial instability among ethnically diverse people employed in the sector.

For example, 70% of all respondents were worried about their job security, and a staggering 89% of workers with over 10 years of experience said the pandemic had made their job less secure. Additionally, 58% of respondents said that their primary source of income had changed and, alarmingly, 30% of these said they had left the creative and cultural industries for another sector. This suggests a risk that, as the industry recovers from the aftermath of the pandemic, it may be even less diverse than before.

Following this report, the authors have called for several changes from creative and cultural organisations, including the adoption of employment targets, guidelines for recruitment practices, and financial incentives for organisations which develop targeted schemes for graduates from ethnically diverse backgrounds who have lost out as a result of the pandemic.