Com­mu­nity News

The new ini­tia­tive for pro­mot­ing bet­ter in­clu­sion and di­ver­sity was held across some of the big­gest VFX stu­dios and coolest venues in the heart of Lon­don

3D Artist - - CONTENTS -

3D Artist wraps up the first week-long event from AC­CESS: VFX

AC­CESS: VFX kicked off on mon­day 25 septem­ber 2017 for the first time ever, bring­ing to­gether in­dus­try lead­ers across the mill, Dou­ble neg­a­tive, MPC, Frame­store, UK Screen Al­liance, Es­cape Stu­dios, Blue Zoo, ILM and more.

With a com­mit­ment to en­cour­age and cham­pion di­ver­sity in the VFX in­dus­try, the move­ment is led by the mill’s head of learn­ing and de­vel­op­ment, si­mon Dev­ereux, and cel­e­brates dif­fer­ent perspectives, cul­ture, ideas, back­grounds and peo­ple.

“For the first time in our his­tory the VFX com­mu­nity has joined forces to cre­ate AC­CESS: VFX, an in­dus­try move­ment with one com­mon goal: to in­crease di­ver­sity and pro­mote bet­ter in­clu­sion within the cre­ative sec­tor,” says si­mon Dev­ereux. “That’s eight world-renowned VFX stu­dios, seven in­dus­try in­sti­tu­tions and two govern­ment bod­ies. As a col­lec­tive we have recog­nised that to cre­ate real change we need to stop act­ing as in­di­vid­ual stu­dios and come to­gether as one voice so that the in­clu­sion pri­or­ity can­not be ig­nored.”

This year, the event was held dur­ing na­tional in­clu­sion week with the theme of ‘Con­nect for in­clu­sion’ across venues and stu­dios in­clud­ing the mill, Frame­store, BFI, Zero one, MPC and more, and 3D Artist was there to ex­pe­ri­ence the week first­hand.

An en­gag­ing men­tal health work­shop brought an ac­tive start to the mon­day, fol­lowed by an in­ter­est­ing talk on in­clu­siv­ity from a male per­spec­tive and short film show­ings. Tues­day, mean­while, saw a panel dis­cus­sion led by Badass Women’s Hour fo­cussing on women in VFX, fol­lowed by a dis­abil­ity equal­ity work­shop that taught dif­fer­ent ways of think­ing in a team.

Wed­nes­day be­gan with a ca­reers fair at­tended by an in­cred­i­ble 150 stu­dents from un­der­rep­re­sented schools look­ing to break into the world of CG. Each stu­dent was paired with a men­tor from the in­dus­try to help guide and ad­vise upon their fu­ture prospects. At the same time, a talk about the ex­pe­ri­ences of tran­si­tion­ing from male to fe­male by Elle trans­gen­der colum­nist Rhyan­non styles took place at the mill, fol­lowed by a screen­ing and dis­cus­sion on the mak­ing of Black Boys Don’t Cry, a film

For the first time in our his­tory the VFX com­mu­nity has joined forces to cre­ate Ac­cess: VFX, an in­dus­try move­ment with one com­mon goal: to in­crease di­ver­sity and pro­mote bet­ter in­clu­sion within the cre­ative sec­tor

Si­mon Dev­ereux, Head of learn­ing and de­vel­op­ment, The Mill

by IGGYLDN, which ex­plores the roles of mas­culin­ity in the 21st cen­tury. Then, an in­ter­est­ing talk was held about dig­i­tal film­mak­ing col­lec­tive Peo­ple of Colours, from founder nadira Am­rani, as well as a thought-pro­vok­ing men­tal health aware­ness panel to fin­ish off the evening.

Other events at ACESS: VFX in­volved look­ing in­wards at the an­i­ma­tion and VFX in­dus­try them­selves. iso­bel sten­house, pro­duc­tion su­per­vi­sor, fea­ture an­i­ma­tion at Dou­ble neg­a­tive, dis­cussed the work­ing con­di­tions and sub­se­quent men­tal health im­pact in the two in­dus­tries, and high­lighted some ac­tion plans and pos­i­tive steps that man­agers can un­der­take for their team. An­i­mated women uk ended the week with a panel called ‘meet the Par­ents’, which ex­plored the chal­lenges fac­ing par­ents work­ing in VFX and how em­ploy­ers can be more en­cour­ag­ing for work­ing par­ents. Hosted by An­i­mated women uk VFX Chair Louise Hussey, you can hear more about the panel and read our in­ter­view with Hussey in the next is­sue of 3D Artist.

For a first event, Acess: VFX suc­cess­fully il­lus­trated the power of soho when it comes to open­ing up con­ver­sa­tions for equal­ity and di­ver­sity. “AC­CESS: VFX is about tak­ing ac­tion, chal­leng­ing and call­ing out both our cre­ative com­mu­nity and ed­u­ca­tional es­tab­lish­ments,” says si­mon Dev­ereux. “We firmly be­lieve that work­ing as a col­lec­tive whole is the miss­ing link to creat­ing real change. We proved that in just five days of events and in­spir­ing talks we can en­gage an en­tire in­dus­try. It’s easy to talk about ‘get­ting into schools’ – we did that in a day and are al­ready plan­ning ac­tiv­ity with school ca­reers ad­vi­sors and work­ing to con­nect as­pir­ing cre­atives to in­dus­try men­tors.

“Since the event, feed­back has been re­fresh­ing and we have be­gun to change the per­cep­tion of di­ver­sity and in­clu­sion from be­ing a fluffy, nice-to-have wor­thy cause to an ab­so­lute, to­tal and ut­ter im­per­a­tive if we are to suc­ceed both cre­atively and com­mer­cially.”

Look­ing to the fu­ture, Dev­ereux re­veals that more ac­tiv­i­ties are in the pipe­line, “we’re now be­gin­ning the process of grow­ing AC­CESS: VFX as an in­dus­try body rather than a work­ing group formed to put on an an­nual event. With monthly ac­tiv­ity al­ready sched­uled with both a fo­cus on outreach and stu­dio en­gage­ment, i can safely say that AC­CESS: VFX isn’t go­ing anywhere.”

Keep up to date with the or­gan­i­sa­tion at ac­cessvfx.org.

Peo­ple of Colours founder Nadira Am­rani speaks at The Mill

This panel on men­tal health aimed to raise aware­ness and un­der­stand­ing

Iso­bel Sten­house from Dou­ble Neg­a­tive dis­cussed im­prov­ing work­ing con­di­tions

Ra­dio show The Badass Women’s Hour held a panel dis­cus­sion at The Mill

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