Creating safe spaces in the entertainment industry

University of Leicester essay explores Equity’s Agenda for Change

Ahead of this weekend’s Oscars ceremony, the University of Leicester’s Research Institute for Cultural and Media Economies (CAMEo), has published the latest edition of its CAMEo Cuts essay series. ‘Creating safe spaces’: and Equity’s Agenda for Change is written by Maureen Beattie, President of Equity, the trade union for performers and creative practitioners in the entertainment industries. 

In the wake of high-profile scandals that have unfolded in recent years and inspired campaigns such as the #metoo and #timesup movements, Equity, with its Agenda for Change and Safe Spaces campaign, is seeking to radically change the atmosphere in the entertainment industry so perpetrators of sexual harassment and bullying cannot find a platform within it.

The CAMEo Cuts paper outlines key points from Equity’s Agenda for Change and presents extracts from a public lecture entitled ‘Creating Safe Spaces’ given by Maureen Beattie at the CAMEo Conference ‘Care in the Media and Cultural Industries’ in September 2018.

In 2018, Maureen Beattie became Equity's second ever female President. She has been working as an actor and director since 1974. She joined the Council of Equity in 2014 and in 2017 led the Union's working party on sexual harassment which produced the Agenda for Change and the Creating Safe Spaces campaign. Just this week, Equity hosted an event to examine the progress they have made in the year following the publication of its Agenda for Change report in 2018.

Maureen Beattie said: “No one should be made to feel unsafe in the workplace and members of the entertainment industry deserve the same respect as workers in any other sectors. The campaign seeks to give members the confidence to challenge and report inappropriate behaviour, knowing the union is always behind them.”

CAMEo's Director, Professor Mark Banks, says: “We are thrilled to be working with Maureen and Equity on promotion and discussion of the Agenda for Change; the issue of security, safety and respect in the entertainment industries, and ensuring workplaces are made free from harassment and discrimination, is central to CAMEo’s research interests in how to develop more socially-just creative workplaces.”

CAMEo is an interdisciplinary platform for culture and media academics, practitioners and policymakers. CAMEo provides new understandings of the cultural industries, the ‘creative economy’, arts, media and cultural policy, consumer culture dynamics, and the mediation and representation of cultural and economic life. 

CAMEo’s work foregrounds issues of participation, sustainability and social justice in cultural and media economies. 

CAMEo Cuts is an occasional paper series that showcases reflections on cultural and media economies, written by CAMEo researchers, partners, policymakers and cultural and media practitioners. The full range of Cuts are available to download for free on the CAMEo website.