Bradford hosts Channel 4’s Diverse Festival ahead of the broadcaster’s HQ move to the region
Channel 4’s annual DIVERSE Festival will be hosted in Bradford on Monday 17 June, the first time the event has taken place outside of London, and will focus on authentic portrayal on television.
Hosted at the University of Bradford by Anita Rani, the industry event features senior executives from the BBC, Channel 4, ITV, Netflix, Channel 5 and guest speaker Hip Hop artist and writer Akala.
In addition to senior industry executives giving their insight into authenticity in broadcast media, the festival will give independent production companies the opportunity to have one to one pitching sessions with broadcasters’ commissioners. In addition to this, the festival will also hold a work shop on how to get into television aimed specifically at young people in the region.
Bradford UNESCO City of Film collaborated with Channel 4 to bring the DIVERSE Festival to the city.
Ian Katz, Director of Programmes, Channel 4, said: "Our annual DIVERSE Festival provides a fantastic opportunity for the industry to come together and share experiences on delivering inclusion and diversity on and off-screen.
"We’re extremely excited to be holding the DIVERSE festival in Bradford this year, as we look forward to establishing our National HQ in nearby Leeds."
Each year the DIVERSE festival brings together broadcasters, production companies, talent, commissioners, and wider creative industry stakeholders to celebrate diversity and inclusion, share best practice and find collaborative solutions to diversity related challenges in broadcast media. This year, the festival will focus on authenticity and the pivotal role it plays within meaningful representation both on and off-screen.
Ian Katz’s session, "Did We Get It Right?" will examine three Channel 4 shows and invite the audience to judge their authenticity. In a discussion with BBC talent, the BBC’s Director of Content Charlotte Moore will explore untold authored stories.
Professor Shirley Congdon, Deputy Vice Chancellor and Vice Chancellor Elect of the University of Bradford, said: "This is the first time Channel 4 have held this event outside of London and we are honoured that they have chosen to hold it here in Bradford and at the University.
"The university is committed in its pursuit of academic excellence to equality of opportunity and to a proactive and inclusive approach to equality, which supports and encourages all under-represented groups, promotes an inclusive culture, and values diversity. Our strapline ‘Confronting Inequality: Celebrating Diversity’ reflects this commitment to ensure that equality and diversity are at the heart of all aspects of university activities involving our diverse student and staff body."
David Wilson, Director of Bradford UNESCO City of Film, said: "We're delighted to be working with Channel 4 and the University of Bradford in hosting the DIVERSE Festival in Bradford. As a UNESCO creative city with one of the youngest and most diverse populations in the UK, we are committed to bringing events like DIVERSE to Bradford to open up new pathways and opportunities for TV and film production in the region."
Roger Marsh OBE, Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and the NP11, said: "I’m delighted to welcome Channel 4’s annual Diverse Festival to Bradford. It’s a great event to find collaboration opportunities within the TV and film industry to increase on and off screen diversity."
The festival will hear from Netflix’s Vice President of Content, Anne Mensah, on her experience of authenticity in the media and Ben Frow, Director of Programmes at Channel 5, who will deliver a keynote session on the importance of reflecting Modern Britain in an authentic way across all genres of programming. Saskia Schuster, Controller of Comedy at ITV, will feature in a panel discussion on ‘Why employing more women writers in comedy matters’.
The DIVERSE festival is an annual flagship event hosted by Channel 4 for the media industry and its partners. This year, Channel 4 will also be encouraging conversation on Twitter throughout the day using the hashtag #DIVERSETV.