Diversity in the creative industry
A few weeks ago I raised the point of the creative industry lacking in diversity and I received an amazing response from Linkedin which in return exposed me to some of the great things individuals are doing to tackle this issue. I thought it would be great to follow up on that statement I made by going in a little deeper into my own experiences as a asian creative and also share some of those great things others are doing so here it goes…
Being from a Indian background, I was raised by my mother in a very average Indian way. Go to school, get good grades, go to university and get a degree in finance, medicine or law etc.. Luckily for my life I fucked it up at the first stage, I got expelled from various schools, made a mess of my grades and ended up in young offenders. Only really excelling at sports, I didn’t have much going for me in my mothers eye, but in turn this worked out in my favour. I had to look for alternative routes in life to support myself and my family, after months of doing pretty much nothing but stressing, I looked into the digital space and realised shit this industry is booming and there is money to made within it and the rest is history(a story for another blog post).
Now being from this background I can see why those Indian kids who didn’t mess up in school ended up on their parents preferred route and away from creative. I also see why some who have faced the money struggle focus on other routes that make the money because they may not be aware of how much money could be made in the creative industry and money is their number one thing on their mind in order to survive, so they end up staying away from attempting to start a creative career all together.
Maybe looking back at it the schools I went to never pushed for the creative minds to be more creative; instead all kids were pushed to do well in the three “main” subjects (English, Maths & Science). Now if you have the asian/black parents pushing their children to have careers in finance, medicine or law and at school you have teachers pushing them to do well in subjects that will get them into that, what you do think will happen? They will fall into those paths.
I never really saw the problem of diversity lacking within the industry until I began freelancing and going to loads of different agencies and companies, being apart of so many different teams. One thing started sticking out to me, I was the only brown guy in the design team most places I went and all of the teams where mostly white (its a lot worse higher up in senior positions), whilst in my school/local area a majority of people were of asian/black backgrounds. It don’t make sense how my life can be so ethnically diverse and my professional career be so un-diverse.
I feel like schools and parents need to come together to help kids/young adults and push those with creative abilities of all backgrounds onto a path that will make the most of their strengths and capabilities. I also think that the persona of the creative industry not being a booming money industry needs to change (this may not be the fact for some but from where I’m from its myth to earn this freelance money in design).
I’ve talked a lot about getting individuals into the industry but one question remains, what about those who are in the industry from minority backgrounds that can’t make it up the ladder? This is a matter that I think is being washed out as the old dogs are pushed out and younger creative directors/seniors are put in charge.
Having been reached out by many amazing people doing great things in order to help diversity in the industry, I feel like it would only be right to include them and their organisations along with this blog post.
Firstly http://wearestripes.org.uk/ – These guys are actively helping to raise the number of people from minority backgrounds in the creative industry across all positions (defiantly worth heading over to their site and checking out some of their figure, bit worrying)
http://creativehustle.org/ – Creative hustle is a networking event created by Alex Fefegha for creatives from ethic minority backgrounds to network with each other.
I hope to see more diversity in the industry in the next five years, but till then lets keep pushing, more colour in the most colourful industry!