A new collection titled A Future For Public Service Television, edited by Des Freedman and Vana Goblot has been published by Goldsmiths Press. The collection examines not only the unexpected resilience of TV as cultural pastime and aesthetic practice but also the prospects for public service television in a digital, multichannel ecology (http://futureoftv.org.uk/news/).
Sarita Malik, who contributed a newly commissioned chapter on Diversity to the book, mounts a critique of current diversity policy in public service television. At the launch event at the British Academy on 18 April, Sarita spoke about the disconnect between ‘in real life’ diversity and institutional diversity.
In her talk, she also spoke about recent representations of Black youth and criminality, and of Windrush citizens. Sarita asked, why is Windrush only now being explained to wider publics when this is the lived experience of our citizens? The issue of impartiality was also addressed. Sarita argues that there is an urgent need to consider where the axis of impartiality needs to sit in a media environment that also wants to be inclusive and in order to challenge an otherwise largely hostile climate when it comes to living with difference.
She calls for a radical overhaul of institutionalised approaches to diversity in order to better recognise the political potential of diversity as a form of cultural democracy. This involves moving away from the fiscal emphasis underpinned by recent ‘creative diversity’ policies to an emphasis on social and political value of diversifying opportunity, engagement and representation.
The launch event was chaired by Lord David Puttnam, the Oscar winning film producer, and attended by media organisations, campaigning groups and academics.