Screen Australia has announced it will be publishing a follow-up to the 2016 report Seeing Ourselves: Reflections on Diversity in TV Drama. When the report was first published in 2016, it was regarded as the most significant study of diversity on Australian screens since television began in 1956. This new report once again aims to shed light on inclusivity and representation within the industry.
In a continuing commitment to adopting and adapting to best practices in creating an inclusive workplace environment, Screen Australia also announced the appointment of Jackie Leewai as inclusion strategy and engagement manager.
The follow-up Seeing Ourselves report, which will be published in early 2022, will examine the representation of people and communities who have historically been under-represented in Australian screen content. The report will be capturing and analysing the main characters in Australian scripted serial drama and narrative comedy from 2016 to 2020 that was first released on television, as well as now including Australian broadcaster or agency funded streaming and online content, an expansion from the previous report. The report will also consider how the Australian screen sector can continue to create more diverse and inclusive stories.
Screen Australia’s chief executive officer Graeme Mason said, “When we first released Seeing Ourselves in 2016, it was a milestone study that reflected the increasingly urgent conversation around the globe about the importance of representation on screen. It provided the Australian industry with vital data and a baseline for where we were at, in the hopes of encouraging real and genuine change. Screen Australia is committed to continuing the development of a representative screen sector and we believe by delivering an update on Seeing Ourselves in 2022, we will provide a key tool for the entire sector to support them in their efforts to foster a more inclusive industry.”
Consultation is now underway with the industry, with the report capturing data via survey and interviews with actors, key creatives, agents, and broadcasters who are working towards inclusive story-telling in Australian screen content. The report will look to examine success stories and insights on what has changed within the screen industry since the 2016 report and how the Australian screen sector can continue to foster and improve diversity and inclusive practices throughout the development and production process, and on our screens. The report will also include an overview of international reports to achieve an understanding of how the Australian screen industry compares to our peers overseas, who are also working to improve representation, diversity and inclusive practices behind the scenes and on their screens.
“Stories that reflect the world around them make cultural and commercial sense, because we know stories and characters that resonate and connect with audiences succeed, both here in Australia and on a world stage. We look forward to seeing the results of this upcoming report, and empowering the industry with clear data and insights into our Australian stories. We thank those who have engaged with us so far and look forward to releasing this report early next year,” Mason continued.
In the newly created role as inclusion strategy and engagement manager, Leewai will be responsible for developing, implementing and monitoring Screen Australia’s Equity and Inclusion strategy. Working in collaboration with the internal Inclusion steering committee, this role will ensure strategy alignment and integration, adopt best practice and foster a culture of inclusion and engagement for Screen Australia.
Leewai joins Screen Australia from SBS, where she held various roles since 2013, most recently as community engagement and partnerships manager. In this role, she lead the implementation of the organisation’s culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) community engagement function, as part of SBS’s Engagement and Corporate Social Responsibility team and Inspired Communities strategic pillar.
“Screen Australia is dedicated to creating an inclusive and representative industry, and we recognise we must lead by example. We have created this role to ensure we are continuing our efforts towards creating an equitable sector and fostering an inclusive environment internally. We look forward to Jackie joining us here at Screen Australia and having her lead our new strategy,” Mason said.
Leewai will commence with Screen Australia on 14 June, 2021.