The BBC’s Creative Diversity Unit, led by June Sarpong, has launched the Creative Allies Initiative, uniting organisations inside and outside the creative industry to promote the concept of allyship.
Tim Davie, Director-General of the BBC joins global leaders from sectors including business, media, fashion and the arts, who have all signed up as Creative Ally Champions.
Among these Champions are leaders and influencers from Bonnier Books UK, British Fashion Council, Burberry, The Business of Fashion, Clear Channel, Creative Industries Federation, Havas UK, LinkedIn UK, Sony Music, TikTok and Universal Music. All have pledged to develop the next generation of creative leaders from backgrounds that are currently underrepresented in their organisations.
They have pledged to demonstrating this commitment to inclusion through the promotion of allyship, which is where people – at any level in an organisation – can support colleagues who may have had fewer advantages than them in life. The ambition is that many more leaders within the creative industry and beyond will also sign up as allies.
To support the Creative Ally Champions the BBC Academy, in association with the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, led by Dr Stacy L. Smith, has created The Ally Track – a free online education tool, which organisations and the public can use via the BBC Creative Diversity website. All of the Creative Ally Champions have committed to the use of the tool within their organisations.
The Ally Tool helps the user think about their own background and how different experiences can lead to advantages and disadvantages in the workplace. It can also be used to identify an individual’s strengths and suggest how they might display allyship at their work. Based on Karen Catlin’s ‘Better Allies- process, the tool sets out seven types of ally – sponsor, champion, advocate, amplifier, scholar, upstander and confident. Users are invited to choose which type of ally they would like to be personally. Over a month the tool will then give practical exercises, tips and best practice on how to be that ally.
The campaign launches with a nationwide out of home campaign which takes inspiration from iconic BBC test cards, created for free by Havas, with media locations, including the Storm Chiswick Towers, donated by Clear Channel. Both organisations have committed to becoming Creative Allies Champions.