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Statement in Support of Black Lives Matter

The killing of George Floyd and the worldwide Black Lives Matter movement has stimulated Glasgow Film to engage in deeper discussions about our own institutional racism and the barriers to greater diversity within our own organisation.

Glasgow Film must belong to and reflect our whole community. We want our engagement to extend to everyone and to reflect both our city and our wider society, in a way that makes no-one feel excluded, marginalised or discriminated against. In taking a deeper look at our organisation we recognise that there are institutional barriers and a diversity shortfall in staffing, audience, programming and training within Glasgow Film and industry-wide. We are aware that institutional racism excludes and silences people and through discrimination people unjustly experience society differently. We recognise that these deficits are a loss to all of us.

We have a long-standing commitment to diversity and equality at Glasgow Film. Our inclusion campaigns have focused on low/no income and access programmes around autism, D/deaf audiences and those with early onset dementia, and we have seen the impact on our communities when we engage our focus in a pro-active way. This is why we address this as a springboard to move forward in a positive and constructive way, and build on the work we have done previously to make sure everyone feels welcome at Glasgow Film. It is an urgent movement and an organisational priority for Glasgow Film as we need to do better. We understand that racism and prejudice against Black people and people of colour is something that the community faces in many areas of life and it has to stop.

Glasgow Film exists to bring people together through the moving image. The power of film offers us escapism and provocation, a way in which to reflect on who we are as a society, and the opportunity to imagine the future we want realised. Glasgow Film has a duty to reflect diverse narratives which includes amplifying Black voices through its programmes and organisational structures. We understand that we cannot just be anti-racist in words and we will take action internally and externally - lobbying within the screen sector, programming decisions, evolving staffing practices and training, in governance, and with our audiences and collaborators. We are committed to address racism and racial inequality at Glasgow Film and across our industry where we have influence.

In section three of this document we lay out four commitments, each designed to address a specific issue, each measurable and each on a different area of deficit. We recognise that in working to fulfil these commitments, there will always be more work to do. To this end we will establish a Diversity Commitment Committee comprised of Board of Trustees members and staff members to begin this process of reflection and to remain engaged with this issue. Our aim is not only to address institutional racism within our organisation, but also to build on and use our influence and resources to be an advocate for change, and amplify other voices in the broader community.

Addressing institutional racism calls for active effort and these conversations demand humility, courage and, above all, the capacity to listen. Being well-intentioned is no longer enough. Passive opposition to racism is not enough 

This statement marks the beginning of a new approach to the challenge of institutional racism and will build to a time when everyone in Glasgow has the sense of ownership, belonging and participation in Glasgow Film.


GFT has a long history of screening a wide range of films from across the world and we will continue our work in showcasing film talent from around the globe.

Whilst we have made some in-roads working with colleagues from across the UK in supporting a variety of initiatives around creating routes into employment, we acknowledge that there is still work to be undertaken.

We have participated in/initiated:

  • The Independent Cinema Office’s FEDS scheme, offering 10-month paid traineeships in the film exhibition sector for Black people, people of colour and people who consider themselves to have a disability. GFT has employed two trainees who have both gone on to secure jobs in the exhibition sector.
  • Film Hub Scotland’s New Promoters scheme which aims to increase the number of marginalised people working for cinemas, festivals and venues within Scotland, offering six-month placements paid at the Living Wage. Glasgow Film Festival was one of the first organisations to host a New Promoter.
  • Glasgow Film Festival’s mentorship programme is designed to nurture Scottish film talent from under-represented groups. The successful applicants have now been matched with paid Mentors. Each of the successful mentees will receive practical support and training over a period of six months.


We acknowledge that we have a long road to travel and to that end we have marked the four areas below as the start of our journey towards being a proactive anti-racist organisation.

What we will achieve by March 2022 - the four aims and how they are measurable:

  • Agent for Change: Work with an Agent for Change to look in-depth at our organisation, work across and with our different departments (including our Board) to identify areas for improvement and change.

The Agent for Change will help us set up new working practices and ensure that the actions we take to meet our anti-racist commitments are shaped by Black people and people of colour, and are appropriate, and lead to long-term institutional change.

Change must, and will, be shaped with the input of Black people and people of colour. We commit to hold open conversations with Black people and people of colour stakeholders at all levels within current structures: those existing and new to us; those visible and hidden; those vocal and disempowered. We want these voices to be a part of, and influence, our work.

Agent for Change employed by April 2021.

  • Staffing: We acknowledge that we must be more pro-active in recruiting Black people and people of colour to create a diverse and inclusive set of staff, Board and volunteers, and we see the consequences of this less diverse workforce on our work and our audiences. We will ensure that the diversity of the city and the people that we serve is reflected across the Board, staff and volunteer teams.

We are committed to review our recruitment processes to understand our failure to reach, attract and recruit Black people and people of colour and address this for future vacancies.

We will increase the diversity of our Board membership by actively recruiting Black people and people of colour to fill our two available positions at our AGM in November 2020. These new Board members will bring identified skills and expertise to fill existing gaps on our Board.

We will actively seek employees/volunteers/Board members from under-represented groups and put in place support structures to achieve and sustain racial diversity in the workplace. We aim to reflect Scotland’s diversity by 2022 and Glasgow’s diversity by 2024.

We will publish the demographics of our Board, staff and volunteer teams and how they compare to the demographics of Glasgow on an annual basis at our year end (March 2021/March 2022).

  • Training: Ensure that Equalities, Diversity and Inclusion training, including anti-racism and Unconscious Bias training, is offered to all senior staff and rolled out across the organisation to all current staff and volunteers, and then as part of the induction process to all new staff and volunteers.

The training should take place by summer 2021 and then incorporated into the Induction Training by late Autumn 2021. 

  • Programme: We will actively seek to collaborate with Black people and people of colour led organisations to ensure our programmes are authentically driven, curated and that we amplify the voices excluded or marginalised by institutional racism. We will add a Black Lives Matter element to our ongoing programming (from January 2021 or sooner depending on cinema restrictions changing). Each month we will invite a Black person or person of colour to curate a screening with a talk or Q&A, and present it as part of GFT’s programme. We will continue to screen films which reflect and represent the diversity of local and global cultures. 

We will schedule regular updates as part of our half-year and yearly reports to staff/volunteers and Board.

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