The BFI has named its first Disability Equality Lead. Clare Baines will take the post to further promotion of disability equality within the screen industries and internally at the organization.
Baines, who became blind aged 15, will push driving forward the BFI’s strategic aims and objectives for people who identify as D/deaf, disabled and/or neurodiverse. This will include “implementing sustainable interventions” that prevent ableism in the screen industries.
She’ll work with BFI colleagues to identify and champion diverse representation in the group’s projects and activities and those supported through the funds it distributes, such as the National Lottery. She will also advocate for equality of access for disabled people, both physical, as well in terms of access to opportunities.
She joins from joins from Zebra Technologies, and will report to the BFI’s Head of Inclusion Melanie Hoyes as a key member of the Inclusion Team, which is led by Jennifer Smith, the BFI’s Director of Culture and Inclusion.
Hoyes said: “This area of work has been a focus for some time, and with the support of our fantastic Disability Screen Advisory Group we’ve made good progress in highlighting the huge disparity of representation and access for disabled talent in front and behind the camera. I’m excited to work with Clare to build on that.”
Baines said: “I became blind at the age of 15 and, rather ironically, that is when my passion for film started. I quickly began to realise the importance of storytelling and how vital representation is to belonging when I couldn’t find myself represented in UK film.
I am proud to now be part of the BFI where I’m excited to build on the success of existing projects such as Busting the Bias and Press Reset, as well as working with the BFI’s Disability Screen Advisory Group and colleagues across the organisation to seed real change, empower disabled voices, advocate for accessibility and build meaningful relationships and allyships.”