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ITV updates Cultural Advisory Council

January 29, 2024

ITV has announced further updates to its Cultural Advisory Council. For its second term, the broadcaster recently updated the membership to include Prof Jason Arday – Professor of Sociology of Education, University of Cambridge; Jenny Lay-Flurrie – Chief Accessibility Officer, Microsoft; and Sara Wajid MBE – Co-CEO, Birmingham Museums Trust.

Professor Arday, Lay-Flurrie and Wajid join ITV’s inaugural Cultural Advisory Council members Sinéad Burke – Founder and CEO, Tilting the Lens; Dr Halima Begum – CEO, ActionAid UK; Priscilla Baffour – Global Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Strategy Director, Unilever; Prof Sam Friedman – Professor of Sociology, London School of Economics; and Dr Shani Dhanda – Disability Inclusion & Accessibility Strategist and Consultant. The Cultural Advisory Council is chaired by Sinéad Burke.

The purpose of ITV’s Cultural Advisory Council is to provide independent external advice from a range of industries to challenge and provide feedback to ITV. This helps support the delivery of ITV’s Diversity Acceleration Plan and global Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) strategy – to create and showcase content by, with and for everyone, connecting and reflecting modern audiences focusing efforts on mainstream content, creating opportunities, inclusive culture, and accessibility and disability equity.

Meeting quarterly with ITV’s Chief Executive, Carolyn McCall and Group Director of Diversity & Inclusion, Ade Rawcliffe alongside other senior members of ITV, to date, the Cultural Advisory Council has supported ITV on the introduction of a working class target; by reviewing and adapting our strategy; inclusive language guide; inclusion and access guidelines for events; embedding disability equity in commissioning and production; and advising ITV’s five colleague networks.

Arday is a Professor of Sociology of Education at the University of Cambridge. Before this, he was a Professor of Sociology of Education at the University of Glasgow and Associate Professor in Sociology and Deputy Executive Dean for People and Culture in the Faculty of Social Science and Health at Durham University. He is a Trustee of the Runnymede Trust and the British Sociological Association. Arday’s research focuses on race, education and social justice having worked extensively with the Parliaments of England, Scotland and Wales, and other policy organisations. Arday was recognised in the Top 10 of the Disability Power 100 list in 2023.

As Chief Accessibility Officer of Microsoft Corporation, Lay-Flurrie champions inclusion, equity, and views accessibility as a fundamental right. She has spearheaded Microsoft’s comprehensive approach to accessibility since 2016, driving accountability, technology and innovation while fostering a disability inclusive culture. Lay-Flurrie identifies as deaf and disabled. She is on the board of directors of Disability:IN and Team Gleason.

Wajid is Co-CEO of Birmingham Museums Trust. She is the first British Asian Director of a major museum in the UK. Alongside working as an editor of artists’ books and as a literary journalist, she previously taught Contemporary African at the School for Oriental and has an honorary doctorate from the University of York. She is a recipient of the Arts Council Changemakers award for under-represented leaders in the sector. In 2014 she founded the Museum Detox network for People of Colour to promote anti-racism and equality in museums. Wajid identifies as bi-sexual, and is a campaigner for race and gender equality in museums.

Arday said: “It is a privilege to be part of the ITV Cultural Advisory Council, and I am honoured to have the opportunity with my esteemed colleagues to work towards how we collectively improve and sustain diversity outcomes for the organisation.”

Lay-Flurrie commented: “It’s an honour to join, contribute and learn from ITV and fellow members of the board. I love building inclusive and accessible environments, and know the importance of representation, especially on TV screens! Excited to dig in and explore how we can advance the journey together.”

Wajid said: “I’m honoured to join the Cultural Advisory Council because, as a Museum Director, I’m passionate about brilliant storytelling and about equal rights. I work in Birmingham and am a huge fan of the show DI Ray, which is set in Birmingham and stars Parminder Nagra in the lead role. I’m looking forward to working with my colleagues on the council and learning from them.”

Rawcliffe added: “We’re delighted to welcome Professor Jason Arday, Jenny Lay-Flurrie and Sara Wajid MBE to ITV’s Cultural Advisory Council and honoured that they will be working with us at ITV. As experts in their field, their experience will bolster our existing members and we look forward to collaborating with the Council to continue to drive improvements at ITV and within the wider industry.”

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