Image for Update on Black Lives Matter (May 2021)

Update on Black Lives Matter (May 2021)

Read our latest update on this work (May 2022) here.

In August 2020 we acknowledged that we have a long road to travel towards becoming an organisation that is proactively anti-racist. We also made commitments across four areas of activity and action. Updates on our progress so far is detailed below.

Agent For Change

Original commitment has not been met

  • Agent For Change employed by April 2021.

Updated commitments

  • Appoint external consultant by July 2021.
  • Publish plans for Agent for Change role Autumn/Winter 2021.

We want to understand if institutional racism affects our organisation. We also want to understand which systemic barriers are hampering change. We also need to better understand the success and failures of our previous and current diversity initiatives. Therefore, following initial consultation and further consideration, we have decided to delay the appointment of the Agent For Change until Autumn/Winter 2021. The reason for this is that we feel that it is essential to carry out further internal robust analysis before embarking on more audience facing, participatory activity. We really want to make sure that any new actions we take are meaningful and have long lasting impact.

Instead we intend to appoint an external anti-racism consultant or organisation to complete an Audit and Health Check which aims to:

  • identify if institutional racism affects our organisation
  • provide rigorous analysis of previous and current diversity initiatives
  • inform our long-term strategic priorities and help shape radical new approaches

The consultancy will:

  • assess our internal processes, policies and organisational culture
  • review existing evidence including evaluation reports from previous initiatives and audience data
  • consult with staff, stakeholders and partners
  • deliver an initial programme of anti-racism training for staff, volunteers and trustees.

This Audit will then inform what areas of our work the Agent for Change role should focus on (for example film programme, industry schemes, or schools and young people), what activities we should prioritise and where we can really make an appropriate and lasting difference.


Original commitments are on track

  • Review 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).

Recruitment processes and support structures will be reviewed as part of our Audit alongside all other policies and internal processes.

Our recent board recruitment was delayed due to Covid-19 but will be finalised in August 2021. We tried to reach as wide an audience as possible and encourage applications from a diverse range of applicant. Our recruitment drive resulted in applications from 31 people. The anonymised summary of the demographics shows that:

  • 3% of applicants identified as Asian or Asian British
  • 6% of applicants identified as Mixed Race
  • 90% of applicants identified as White

Analysis of the anonymised demographics of our 20/21 Staff, Volunteers and Trustee cohorts are shown below.

We have also established our new Diversity Committee and the group will meet for the first time in mid-June once GFT reopens to the public. The group will work alongside our external consultant, the future Agent for Change and will also be empowered and supported to act as anti-racism and equalities champions within and for Glasgow Film.


Original commitments are on mostly track

  • 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.

The external consultant will advise on, and deliver the first round of training and also shape a new annual programme to be included in our induction process.


Original commitments are mostly on track

  • 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).

Since August 2020, programme actions include:

  • Welcome To’, a programme of films and events that took place during Glasgow Film Festival 2021, with a focus on Black Scottish films, filmmakers and history. Welcome To was programmed by Tomiwa Folorunso and Natasha Ruwona.
  • Welcome To offered free Industry Delegate Passes to Black filmmaking talent in the UK, and held events at the Industry Focus, including the panel discussion 'Where Are All the Black Scottish Feature Films?' and a pitching workshop with live pitch session for black filmmakers.
  • We also used our Twitter chats as an opportunity to collaborate with Black people and people of colour, inviting layla-roxanne hill and Tomiwa Folorunso to host chats for Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods and Chinonye Chukwu’s Clemency respectively.
  • We hosted the U.K. premiere of Steve McQueen’s Mangrove as part of London Film Festival. Tickets were free and we allocated 2/3 of available tickets to Black and POC organisations in Glasgow.
  • We screened The Stuart Hall Project on October 18 to mark Black History Month, with all tickets priced at £6.50. We worked with Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Black Union, who helped promote the screening and organised a follow-up discussion around the film.

We have rethought the proposed ‘Black Lives Matter’ element to our programming. Rather than a specific monthly screening strand that could appear tokenistic or could inadvertently sideline these screenings, our commitment is to continue to regularly create space in GFT’s general programme for contributions from Black curators and programmers of colour.

We will continue to screen films which reflect and represent the diversity of local and global cultures.

For our original statement on Black Lives Matter click here.

Below is our staff demographic for 2020/2021.

Description of image
2020/2021 staff demographic
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