Where is the diversity?
Recently I raised the issue of the lack of diversity found within the creative industry, I was welcomed with amazing feedback and genuine conversations about this topic.
Thanks to my questioning, I was introduced to others in the industry who are doing great things for diversity and growing communities of diverse creatives. Through this article I will dive deeper into my own personal experience with diversity and highlight some great organisations helping others in the creative space.
Being from an Indian background, I was raised by my mother in a very typical Indian way. Go to school, get good grades, go to university and get a degree in finance, medicine or law etc..
I instead, did the opposite, I got expelled from various schools, made a mess of my grades and ended up in young offenders. I only really exceeded in sports – not exactly what my mother would consider an accomplishment. These choices, although wrong, lead me to the best decision I’ve ever made.
I instead had to look for alternative careers and skills, where I would be able to support myself and my family. I started researching into the digital space and realised the industry is booming, and there was potential for me to make a better life for myself.
Taking my background into consideration, I can see why Indian kids who didn’t mess up in school chose a career their parents preferred and steered away from creative. I can also see why some, who have faced the money struggles focus on other routes that make the money, because they may not be aware of the potential within the creative industry.
Thinking back, I realised my school didn’t actively promote or push creative minds to be more creative; children instead where taught to do well in the three “main: subjects (English, Maths & Science). If you come from an Asian/ multicultural home like mine, your family would be thrilled that schools are pushing you to do well in subjects that will lead you into a career in finance, law or medicine.
I didn’t immediately recognise the issue of the industry lacking diversity, it wasn’t until I began freelancing and working within a variety of different agencies that the issue became apparent. I’ve been a part of a wide variety of teams, a number which I’ve ended up being the only brown guy within the creative team or in some cases the entire office. It didn’t make sense to me why my life outside work was ethnically diverse, but within my career, lacking.
I feel like schools and parents need to come together to help kids/young adults explore their creative abilities and make the most of their strengths and capabilities regardless of their backgrounds. I believe there is work still needed within the creative industry to work on finding a way to hire or train more diverse staff.
Here are some organisations who are working to improve working environments and offer a more diverse team.
http://wearestripes.org.uk/ – These guys are actively helping to raise the number of people from minority backgrounds in the creative industry across all positions
http://creativehustle.org/ – Creative hustle is a networking event created by Alex Fefegha for creatives from ethic minority backgrounds to network with each other.
I hope to see more diversity in the industry in the next future, but until then let’s keep pushing, more colour in the most colourful industry!
Adapted from: http://www.hardywho.com/
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