ICO: Where to Begin with Relaxed Screenings

Everyone deserves access to life-changing cinema, but for those with learning disabilities or neurological conditions, cinema environments can often be inaccessible. In this blog, Rosemary Richings draws on personal experience to discuss the value of relaxed screenings, and speaks to Jonathan Gleneadie (Barbican, London) and Robert Barham (Hyde Park Picture House, Leeds) about the sorts of practical considerations exhibitors should keep … More

Podcasting a live event can be a great way to make your valuable event reach more people though the power of audio. It can help showcase the work and document the event for future listening.

This guide has been created by Adam Zmith, Co-founder of Aunt Nell, Producer of The Log Books and The Film We Can’t See.

It is a guide for film programmers / event managers / tech people working in cinemas who want to make a podcast out of their live events. It has been created for our T.L.C (aka Tender Loving Care for Trans-Led / Trans-Loved Cinema) series of events and podcasts. The is aimed at people who would like to create a podcast and are running live events in cinemas where there will be a PA/sound system and assistance from a tech person.

This guide intends to give you broad headings for everything you need to think about, some answers for how to make it all happen, and links out to further information.

Download the How To Podcast Your Live Event guide

What this resource is

Black text on a yellow background says: Working Class Inclusion: Audiences, colleagues and programming

Inclusive Cinema’s podcast series, Working Class Inclusion: Audiences, Colleagues & Programming, provides information and guidance to support exhibitors in improving cinema experiences for working-class people and those in poverty.

The resource comprises a series of six podcast episodes that cover a range of areas, from sliding-scale ticketing and equitable employment practices, to the films that are programmed and how they are presented.

There is also an access and inclusion checklist to support venues, festivals, industry initiatives and event organisers with strategic and operational measures to welcome working-class audiences and colleagues.

The series is presented by Dr. Leanne Dawson, senior lecturer in Film and Diversity and Inclusion Consultant. 

Who this is for

The resources are intended as a practical guide to support cinemas, festivals and film exhibitors to welcome working class people as audiences and staff to their venues and increase access to independent cinema for all.

What can be achieved with the guides

Working through these 6 short podcasts we hope you can find ideas and understanding of barriers for working class people, with a view to increasing access in cinemas, and offer a chance to reflect on where your venue is currently at.

The Podcasts

Click on each link to listen to all 6 podcasts

You can download the transcript for each episode from the downloads section.

EPISODE 1: What does ‘working class’ mean and how are working class people excluded?

This introductory episode explores some issues with working class inclusion such as how we define class and that the term ‘working-class’  groups many different experiences together. 

EPISODE 2: Improving working class inclusion for free

What to reflect on your organisation and how it can take small, cost-free measures to improve it’s welcome to working class people.

EPISODE 3: Broader measures: for those who can dedicate some money to welcoming working class people

What to reflect on whilst working on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion EDI) in your organisation.

EPISODE 4: Welcoming working class audiences

Consider the barriers you create that prevent people entering and/or enjoying your space or event.

EPISODE 5: Inclusive working class programming

How to include a spectrum of working class representation onscreen.

EPISODE 6: Welcoming and retaining working class colleagues

How to ensure you have working class employees at all levels of the organisation.

You can listen to all six podcast episodes of Working Class Inclusion: Audiences, Colleagues & Programming here:



Coming soon to:



Working Class Inclusion Checklist

We have provided a checklist of measures as suggested in the podcasts to provide your staff and venue with an easy point of reference when considering inclusion of working-class people in your work.

You can find this in the downloads section on this page. 

Working Class Programming Suggestions and Film List

We have provided a list of film suggestions which can be used for ideas and inspiration for film programmers when considering working-class representation in cinema. We’ll be updating this with distributor/access materials information as this comes in (until the end of March 2023).

You can find this in the downloads section on this page. 

Working Class Inclusion: Audiences, Colleagues & Programming - Introduction to Podcast

What this toolkit is

This toolkit is, foremostly, a practical guide for improving the experiences of POC (people of colour) audiences, staff and filmmakers – and other intersections including gender, sexuality, disability, income and class. Whilst the harm and discrimination POC face in the arts both as workers and audiences is firmly rooted within institutional and systemic injustice, preventing immediate harm is the key priority – and that begins with immediate, though not as radical, reform. This goes beyond representation, and towards creating a space built for all people rather than for primarily white audiences. Whether your cinema is in a rural part of the UK, or in a densely populated city, ethnically diverse audiences are there and it is your cinema’s role to serve them. 

The second function of this toolkit is to create lasting change for future generations, and sustain your organisation in a meaningful way (one which is framed around serving communities and not merely securing funding). To do this, you must play your role in preventing harm on an institutional and systemic level. In addition to immediately actionable tools, this toolkit will encourage inner, reflective and dialogue-based work towards undoing systemic injustice. This work will be longer term, and may at times feel personal, however confronting these uncomfortable spaces from positions of privilege is fundamental to creating wider change. Treat the provocations as actionable on a personal level within your roles and workplaces, because the results will be structural change that will not allow harm to exist within your organisations. 

Who this is for

It is important that this toolkit is offered to all staff members in your cinema or film organisation; from trustees and managers to programmers and front-of-house staff. Whilst some will find responsibility placed on them to action certain aspects, others will be empowered by the conversations around equity this toolkit may enable. We implore you to talk widely within your organisation about the implications of this toolkit, in an environment in which hierarchies are cut away. Pay all staff equally to feed into this dialogue, and you will see what emerges on this new ground.  

Whilst this toolkit has been written in the locale of South Wales, it is aimed towards independent cinemas, festivals, film-based organisations and digital film spaces across the UK – responding to regional differences in audiences, access to funding, rurality and lived experience. 

What can be achieved with this toolkit

We hope that once this toolkit is worked through, you will come away with an understanding that increasing diversity and access is not a means of sustaining your organisation, but of sustaining and resourcing the communities that cinema serves. This document further hopes to provide an opportunity to reflect on your organisation’s intentions, and how to realign those back to serving all audiences and filmmakers. 

Immediate implications will be a reimagining and dismantling of old ways of working, and implementing new models of equity within your organisation and for those who enter your space (whether physical or digital). This is necessary work as a cultural space. It is always possible if there is the will to change, from staff make-up to programming practices, organisational hierarchies to an equalisation of pay; but if there isn’t a will to change, there must be a divestment of power and transference of funding to the communities your organisation is failing to serve. This toolkit will help you confront these different potentials for change. 

This is difficult work because it calls for challenging your positionality, your personal and emotional responses, your attachment to a workplace, your unconscious and conscious biases, your own stability, your lived experiences, and the harmful structures you may benefit from. Then, it calls for a letting go. Inequity is not any one person’s fault but it is our collective responsibility to understand and undo it. And finally, it calls for a real commitment to doing the work.

Download the toolkit.

Download the plain text version.


In April 2021, Sadia spoke with BoxOffice Podcast about the toolkit. Listen here and check at the link for a full transcript of the interview.

This Way Up 2020 - Dismantling Structural Inequalities in Your Cinema

September is World Alzheimer’s Month, with a focus on World Alzheimer’s day on 21st September. It can highlight the importance of taking the time to talk and helping to break the silence around dementia.

The month is a global opportunity to raise awareness around dementia, one of the biggest challenges we face, with nearly 50 million people living with dementia worldwide. it is important for everyone to understand how it impacts the daily lives of people affected by the condition and challenge the stigma that surrounds it. People and organisations have a chance to demonstrate how we can overcome these issues and help people live well with dementia. Find out more about how to get involved in the UK from Alzheimer’s Society.

We can help by working together, collaborating and sharing best practice with one another. We have included some resources below to help get you started. You may want to join the Dementia Friends movement, or help by sharing information with friends, family and colleagues.

Dementia and cinema

Cinema and film can be an inspiring and powerful tool for representation and developing awareness projects. Find some inspiration on this page for further research and planning ideas. There is also some information about setting up online film clubs and resources to help plan in this difficult time due to coronavirus.

Dementia-friendly cinema screenings create a slice of normal life for people living with dementia, a chance to experience film in a relaxed and supported environment. The screenings have adaptations to make the space more comfortable and accessible for people living with dementia to enjoy film, as individuals or with their families. Organisations such as the UK Cinema Association, Alzheimers Society and FAN have worked with cinemas to support them in welcoming audiences living with dementia.

During coronavirus, there were restrictions on dementia-friendly screenings as public events could be a higher risk activity for some audiences living with dementia, or for people who are living in care homes. Make sure to follow current advice on dementia friendly cinema from the Alzheimers Society.

We believe we should be constantly striving to improve access to film and cinema for all audiences and have provided some training resources and information on this page to help you host Dementia Friendly Screenings in your venue.

These resources may also assist and inspire you towards creating a more accessible and inclusive experience for your events more generally, for example increasing staff and audience awareness, introducing a more relaxed policy to your screenings, providing quiet spaces or improving signage.

Online and at home ideas for arts, heritage and cultural organisations

Cinema’s can offer much needed support. The Alzheimer’s Society need organisations to take action and support people affected by dementia to keep them connected to their culture and their community in new and creative ways. Here are some of the key actions they suggest you can do to make a difference to people’s lives:

  • Distribute printed reminiscence packs to allow people to enjoy activities at home.
  • Advertise any virtual tours of places, museums or lend out gift DVD’s
  • Host online screenings or showings.
  • Live stream or televise your planned activities so people can stay active and engaged at home.
  • Reach out to volunteer networks to help you reach people in your community.
  • Signpost for people affected by dementia to our Dementia Connect support line 0333 150 3456  for advice and support.

Share your experiences

We would love to know about your film or cinema project at Inclusive Cinema. If you’d like to submit your own case study, please download this Inclusive screening case study template and submit it to includeme[at]filmhubwales.org, so we can share your experiences, too.    

Carey Mulligan on dementia-friendly screenings - BBC Newsnight

There are several access schemes operating in the UK which provide benefits, transparency when negotiating a trip to the cinema.


CEA Card – The CEA Card is a national card scheme developed for UK cinemas by the UK Cinema Association (UKCA). The Card enables a disabled cinema guest to receive a complimentary ticket for someone to go with them when they visit a participating cinema. The Card is also one way for cinemas to make sure they look after their disabled guests. If you require an adjustment to visit a cinema because of your disability, cinema staff should make them for you whether you have a CEA Card or not.

Nimbus Card – The Access Card translates a cardholder’s disability / impairment into symbols which highlight the barriers they face and the reasonable adjustments they might need. This then informs providers quickly and discreetly about the support needed and may gain holders access to things like concessionary ticket prices and complex reasonable adjustments without having to go into loads of personal detail. It’s all based on rights outlined in the Equality Act and providers responsibilities.

HYNT Card – Hynt is a national access scheme that works with theatres and arts centres in Wales to make sure there is a consistent offer available for visitors with an impairment or specific access requirement, and their Carers or Personal Assistants. If you need support or assistance to attend a performance at a theatre or arts centre then you may be eligible to join hynt. Each year HYNT holds a symposium for venue staff and other professionals working in the sector.


Nimbus CredAbility – CredAbility is Nimbus’ quality mark. Like the Access Card itself CredAbility was designed and developed by Nimbus; with and for disabled people. It reflects what a commitment to good practice should look like when providing services to a disabled customer.

Gigbuddies – Gigbuddies is NOT about providing free support or replacing statutory services. It’s about enabling people with learning disabilities to have people in their lives who aren’t paid to be there. Gigbuddies match people up with a volunteer who commits to attending at least one gig per month. Gigbuddies is a campaign run by charity, Stay Up Late.


Euan’s Guide – Euansguide.com is the disabled access review site where disabled people, their family, friends and carers can find and share reviews on the accessibility of venues around the UK and beyond. The site is an invaluable tool for everything from planning a day out, to picking a last-minute place for coffee or lunch. “The aim of Euan’s Guide is to empower disabled people by providing information that will give confidence and choices for getting out and about.” Founder, Euan Macdonald.

AccessAble – AccessAble is here to take the chance out of going out. To give you the accessibility information you need to work out if a place is going to be accessible for you. They’ve surveyed 10,000s of venues across the UK and Ireland, including shops, pubs, restaurants, cinemas, theatres, railway stations, hotels, colleges, universities, hospitals and more. Use AccessAble to find wheelchair friendly venues or check out disabled access and facilities.

The ICO commissioned this toolkit for (primarily) independent film exhibitors to support their work in making their venues and services more inclusive and accessible for visually impaired people.

Sight Loss in the UK

  • It is estimated that currently, over two million people in the UK live with sight loss that is severe enough to have a significant impact on their daily lives, such as their not being able to drive.
  • Every day, 250 people start to lose their sight in the UK.
  • As we get older we are increasingly likely to experience sight loss, and the UK population is ageing. In addition, sight loss is strongly linked with certain medical conditions as well as lifestyle factors such as diabetes and obesity – the rates of which are both rising.
  • The number of people with sight loss is estimated to rise to 2.7 million by 2030. By 2050, the current figure will double to over four million.

People living with sight loss want to enjoy the same experiences as everyone else. This includes going to the cinema and there is therefore a strong economic argument for film exhibitors to meet this demand, as well as the obvious social and moral imperatives for cultural organisations to aim to serve everyone within their community.

In addition, cinemas have a legal duty to make their services accessible to all people with disabilities, including visually impaired people, under the Equality Act 2010. People with disabilities who feel they have been refused or denied reasonable access to a service have the option to take the service provider to court.

Organisations that are inclusive and welcoming to people with disabilities gain enhanced community reputation and trust. People with disabilities are loyal to organisations which provide a consistently good and inclusive service.

Read the full ICO guide to Developing Visually Impaired Audiences, and check out their web page on Subtitling and audio description for information around screening accessibly to blind and partially-sighted audiences.

Understanding Sight Loss – Bhavini’s story