May 18, 2021

University students highlights importance of inclusion in BBC film

A Lanarkshire student has helped to create a thought-provoking short film about disability and inclusion that has been produced for the BBC.

Four undergraduate students from the University of the West of Scotland produced the feature for the 50:50 Equality Project, aimed at increasing diversity within the BBC.

BA Filmmaking and Screenwriting student, Keir Jarvie from Thorntonhall, joined BA Broadcast Production TV and Radio students Liska Pleines, Jamie Leckie and Rachel Watson, and had their idea commissioned after pitching to a BBC panel, beating other ideas from across the country.

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The film looks at the work undertaken by the BBC 50:50 project and explores how it has increased the representation of disabled people across the organisation.

It also examines hidden disabilities, such as autism.

Broadcast Production lecturer Kate Cotter, who guided the students through the pitching process, told Lanarkshire Live: “Working with the BBC’s 50:50 project is a fantastic opportunity, both for us as an institution, and, more importantly, for our students.

“It really encourages our students to consider the importance of diversity in their work. We hope this experience helps them develop skills which will stay with them for the rest of their career.”

Kate was very impressed by the students’ work, adding: “I am genuinely delighted by the quality of their film. It is incredibly thoughtful and, and powerfully communicates the 50:50 message.”

The quartet, who did not all know one another before starting work on their pitch, said they were proud of what they had achieved.

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Broadcast Production student Liska Pleines, who directed the film, said: “This was a brilliant opportunity, and I am so grateful to have had the chance to highlight the work done as part of this important initiative.

“The 50:50 project has done so much to include people with disabilities in the conversation surrounding inclusivity in the industry.

“We all learned a lot from working on this project, not only from the perspective of pitching and skills, but also from the perspective of how impactful representation is, and continues to be.”

The students were supervised by BBC News Correspondent and 50:50 team member Sean Dilley.

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