Encouraging storytelling to make change real
By Jonny Persey
05 June 2020
On Tuesday this week, in common with many of you, and other organisations around the world, we posted a black tile on all our Instagram channels. Here’s why: We live in a world surrounded by injustice. There are remarkable and passionate people throughout the world doing incredible work to shine a light on such injustices and to effect change, be that related to racism against black people or others, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, disability or a host of other indiscriminate and nonsensical tensions. Last week’s events in the USA remind us that the work is not done.
The film and screen industries have a role to play in challenging injustices, both in the choices we make about the stories we tell and how we tell them, and in the development of voices and talent from across our diverse world. As an educator, we also have a responsibility to encourage our community to tell stories that turn the spotlight on to the inequalities and injustices around us.
That is why we are so immensely proud of the diverse storytelling of our students and graduates exemplified by projects like I Coolie and The Good Son, why we consistently choose to tell stories like Wondrous Oblivion, The School in the Cloud and The Reason I Jump, and why we have been supporting Sierra Leonian filmmaker Tyson Conteh to make a series of video diaries for BBC Africa about the impact of the coronavirus outbreak in his home town, Makeni. An example of one of the episodes is here.
That is why our new Voices that Matter Scholarship programme, which will launch in July, alongside our existing programme, will be specifically supporting voices and talent from a diverse background.
That is why Academic Board today made the decision to formalise the work being done over the last few months by our (student and staff) Diversity Working Group by asking that group to form a formal Diversity and Inclusion Committee reporting directly to Academic Board.
And it is why the School made the decision today to solidify the work of our Student Senate by funding a Diversity and Inclusion Officer for the Student Senate in its next voting round this summer.
We are always open to reflecting and improving, and we are fortunate to have staff, tutors, students and alumni who are championing change. Please tell us when you think we can do things better, we value all your views. We also know that the images circulating on social media are distressing and want to ensure that staff and students feel supported at this time. So, if you have insight or would like support, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be in touch.
Director, MetFilm School