Peter Bazalgette: the creative industry needs to work together on diversity

Sir Peter Bazalgette, the chair of Arts Council England and former chairman of Endemol, has called on the creative industries to work together to improve diversity.

Sir Peter Bazalgette: chair, Arts Council (picture credit: Steven Peskett)
Sir Peter Bazalgette: chair, Arts Council (picture credit: Steven Peskett)

Speaking as part of a panel at the Advertising Association’s Lead conference he said the creative industries are not "really working together and sharing best practice".

He said: "Let’s think of creative industries as a whole and talk."

He noted the UK's creative industry has grown at ten times the rate of the wider economy since 2010. The companies that operate in the space define "our culture, our identity and define our brand abroad" and so need to work better together, he continued.

Bazalgette said: "Diversity in creative industries does not reflect the whole country. We don’t bring in people from the whole community. That’s wrong on a fairness basis but it doesn’t make commercial sense."

The session was chaired by Cilla Snowball, the chair of the AA and group chairman at Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, and also involved Stella Creasy, the Labour MP, and Patrick Barwise, the chairman of Which?

Creasy, who was chosen as Labour’s candidate in Walthamstow on an all women shortlist, made the cutting observation that if a room is 20 per cent women, men think it’s 50/50 and if a room is 33 per cent women then men think it's mainly women.

She said she was told as a young blonde woman joining Parliament, "You better use your title Dr Stella Creasy if you want to be taken seriously". She warned: "If you want to judge someone by their hair colour you’ll only do it once."

Yesterday the AA published a report that found advertising contributes £187 to each UK household in terms of culture, media and sport.

Snowball said: "Advertising's making huge contributions to the things that we love to do in culture, media and sport and, if taken away, the things we take for granted would be severely impacted by lack of funds.

"Those three [Advertising Pays] papers are starting to make the business case. That’s a brilliant place to start but ultimately this summit is about whether there’s time for change."

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