Majority Of Disabled People Working In Animation Feel Discriminated Against, Says Bleak ScreenSkills Report

Nearly three-quarters of disabled people working in UK animation believe that the sector is discriminating against them, according to a first-of-its-kind report from industry training body ScreenSkills.

The Accessibility in Animation report, which paints a “bleak picture,” also found the majority of disabled people (56%) disagree with the notion that the animation sector is “good” for disabled people to work in, while 60% felt that disability cannot be openly discussed within the sector and 46% said they do not disclose to their employees.

These headline findings reveal that animation is not immune from an issue that currently sits firmly atop the UK TV and film diversity agenda.

The data “highlights in black and white how much we have to do,” according to Tom Box, Chair of the ScreenSkills Animation Skills Council and Co-founder and Managing Director of Blue Zoo Animation Studio.

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“Many of the conclusions seem to stem from visibility of the matter, either from the workforce being uncomfortable with disclosing information, or employers not being aware the impact of their apparent lack of support or awareness,” he added. “It is too easy for studios to assume they are doing enough but these stark statistics show those assumptions are false.”

The research also showed how non-disabled people’s perceptions differ, with only 52% thinking the sector discriminates against disabled people and 30% saying animation is not a “good” industry for disabled people to work in.

The report made six recommendations, including that large organizations bring in more training programs, especially tailored to people in senior roles, after the majority (72%) of both disabled and non-disabled respondents said they are not provided with proper training on how to create an inclusive workplace for disabled people.

Other recommendations included “encouraging and supporting disability disclosure,” “scrutinizing working practices” and stressing that “reasonable adjustments are a legal responsibility and moral imperative.”

The report comes with disability representation in focus in UK TV and film following His Dark Materials writer Jack Thorne’s blistering August MacTaggart address, in which he lambasted the industry for “utterly and totally failing” disabled people.

He has since launched a lobbying group and commissioned landmark research.

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