BSO initiates national consultation

In partnership with Telefilm Canada and with assistance from the Bell Fund, 'Being Seen' will determine how underrepresented communities want to be seen, represented and provide a set of directives for the industry.

headshot joan jenkinson 03-21 (3)The Black Screen Office is focusing its efforts on the representation of Black, people of colour, LGBTQ2+ and persons with disabilities in screen-based sectors with the launch of its national consultation Being Seen: A Directive for Authentic and Inclusive Content.

Launched in partnership with Telefilm Canada and with the assistance of the Bell Fund, the consultation, which will take place from this month until September 2021, will engage underrepresented communities to determine how they want to be seen and represented as well as providing a set of directives for creators, producers, broadcasters and funders.

Notably, Being Seen will advise on how they can work with communities other than their own, work with culturally sensitive content, identify when a story is theirs to tell and create content that avoids stereotypes, according to a press release.

Findings and these directives are expected to be shared in February 2022.

“The goal is to galvanize the screen industry so that all creators can feel supported to do their best work and audiences can see themselves reflected and hear their stories told,” BSO executive director Joan Jenkinson (pictured) said in a statement.

Held virtually with focus groups and one-on-one interviews with industry representatives and members of the public from these target communities, the consultation will be conducted in French and English and also consider intersectionality as well as regional representation.

The work on these directives is led by lead researcher Kelly Lynne Ashton and a team of researchers and interns, which will work with an editorial committee. As well, both teams have been staffed with representation from these targeted communities, with a focus on intersectionality.

The Indigenous community is not part of this consultation because of the creation of the On-Screen Protocols & Pathways media production guide.

“Telefilm Canada is firmly committed to the development of an equitable and representative screen sector,” Telefilm Canada executive director and CEO Christa Dickenson said in a statement. “We believe that ‘Being Seen’ will be an essential tool towards achieving that goal. The industry is ready to see these stories told, and to support them with respect and openness.”