Refugee Voices in Film

Refugee Voices in Film is an initiative that joins forces with other humanitarian agencies to find ways in filmmaking to relieve and help the plight of refugees around the world.

“South Asian Heritage Month runs from 18th July to 17th August every year. It seeks to raise the profile of British South Asian heritage and history in the UK through education, arts, culture and commemoration, with the goal of helping people to better understand the diversity of present-day Britain and improve social cohesion across the country. It had its inaugural year in 2020.  The Month is a grassroots movement that has been driven by the lived experiences of the founders and others in being British South Asian.

South Asian Heritage Month is about reclaiming the history and identity of British South Asians. People need to be able to tell their own stories, and this is an opportunity to show what it means to be South Asian in the 21st century, as well as look to the past to see how Britain became the diverse country it is today. “

More information about the month, its founders and activities can be found here. 

Read below for ideas on screenings and films.

South Asian Heritage Month LGBTQIA Special

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

42 Podcasts About The Black British Experience & Race In The UK

On May 25, George Floyd became one of around 1,000 people killed by American police annually. In the days following, organisers across the globe led anti-racist marches in solidarity with those protesting for Black Lives Matter on the ground in Minneapolis. Londoners took to Trafalgar Square in their thousands for a peaceful protest, kneeling for … More

Black History Month Resource Pack 2020

As we look forward to celebrating Black History Month this October. You and your organisation have a wonderful opportunity to be part of the national celebrations and events to honour the too-often unheralded accomplishments of Black Britons in every area of endeavour throughout our history.

Seeing White – TEDxCharlottesville

When did racism start, and why? Who invented the very notion of being “white,” or “black,” and why did they do so? Journalist and documentary podcaster John Biewen looked into these questions, and he argues that the answers could transform our approach to solving racial injustice.