Introducing…Screen Census 2020

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Photo Credit: Jon Pountney

This Clwstwr census is being carried out by University of South Wales research fellow, Faye Hannah. 

Faye Hannah is Research Fellow at University of South Wales leading on delivery of ‘Screen Census 2020’. Faye has a career working across the creative sector with expertise in Screen sector skills, training, and education. She is a PhD candidate at University of South Wales researching workforce, policy and access in Wales and UK screen industries.

Time to be counted.

Today, we launch The Screen Census 2020 - A Clwstwr research project lead by the University of South Wales and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. The Screen Industry Census 2020 is our response to the call from industry, training providers and policymakers for better data and clearer mapping of skills needs to drive future investment and strategy for growth.

If you work within the screen sector as an organisation or individual, you likely share our interest in the sector’s capacity to be sustainable, to develop new high-skill jobs and to flourish for the benefit of Wales culture and economy.

In fact, many organisations, and individuals from across the screen sector have argued for a further investment and focus on workforce and skills development as part of the National Assembly Inquiry into Film and High-End Television in Wales.

None of us can be clear on is what the future will look like or what a post-Covid19 sector might experience as the ‘new normal’.  But that does not mean we cannot act now.

Why now and why don’t we already have this data?

Now really is the time to engage and be counted as part of the Screen Census in 2020. If you are an organisation, freelancer or training provider in Film, TV, Games, VFX, Animation, Post-Production, we ask you to engage with us and give us your time in completing our surveys. 

As researchers investigating the contemporary screen workforce, we can play our part by providing academic commentary and asking questions about what data exists, but importantly what does not. Alarmingly, up to date figures on the demographics and needs of industry and workforce in the South Wales Screen sector do not currently exist.

UK led research focussing on screen sector workforce and figures are rarely fully representative of this thriving hub of creative activity in South East Wales. 

There are many reasons why this data has not been produced previously. A highly mobile, flexible workforce can be challenging to measure, while increased convergence has seen unparalleled change in screen sector production across the last ten years. How we currently measure sector skills shortages has little science behind it. However, robust evidence is vital to drive government policy for this fast-paced sector.

We are clear that this work is urgent.  The risk if we do not gather this evidence, is that policy will not evolve to support the screen sector at a time when it is needed most. 

We have heard from industry and training providers that there is a lack of coherence around screen industries workforce education and training. This can lead to a disconnect between industry needs and existing provision. This lack of coherence often presents a confusing picture as to who owns and drives skills and workforce development in South East Wales for Screen Industries and training providers alike.

Training and education provision for those in industry is critical to growth. So, for the first time we will be in a position to provide a full mapping of screen industries training provision in South East Wales with our training provider survey.

Why is it important?

What has been abundantly evident across this period is that some policymakers and governments struggle to grasp the mechanics and fragility of screen industry structures. The challenges for creative labour pre-date coronavirus but the pandemic has made them much more apparent.

In this moment we see the value of quantifying and exemplifying who we are and what we contribute. During and in the aftermath of a crisis – you need your facts to hand; What do we need? What must be developed? How will we grow? This research will assist us in better explaining to those in power what the sector’s needs and challenges are.

The COVID-19 global pandemic has forced organisations and industry practitioners at all levels to change and evolve their everyday practice. New skill requirements for the workforce are emerging daily. We would argue that this alone is reason to benchmark who we are and what we do.

Many of these challenges here have been at the heart of the research design for ‘Screen Census 2020’. The aim of the research team and research advisory group in Tom Ware, Pauline Burt, Allison Dowzell and Ann Beynon has been to produce findings that can help make a case for investment, growth, innovation, and job sustainability in the screen sector in South East Wales.

Research and the data and evidence produced will only ever be as good as those who participate. There is only one opportunity to be counted as part of this research for the Screen Sector in South East Wales and that opportunity is now. 

Faye Hannah and the advisory board will be delivering a webinar to share information regarding Screen Census 2020 with the sector on 08th June 2020.

Follow us on Twitter @ScreenCensus

Participate in the Screen Industry Census 2020

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