'British Animation Women and the Myth of Meritocracy.' Society of Animation Studies. Animate Energies 2020. New Orleans

Kennedy-Parr, Sarah orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-9770-1799 and Formenti, Christina (2020) 'British Animation Women and the Myth of Meritocracy.' Society of Animation Studies. Animate Energies 2020. New Orleans. In: Animate Energies Society of Animation Studies 2020, 15th - 18th June 2020, New Orleans, USA.

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British Animation Women and the Myth of Meritocracy
I produced and directed a documentary to celebrate women working in the animation industry for Sky Showcase Channel 192 on 13th October. The women interviewed in the documentary were from a range of backgrounds – animators, directors, commissioners and writers. These women all stated that there are less women in key creative roles than men, yet UK Screen Alliance, recently published a report that revealed that 51% of workers in animation were women – 89% in production, 55% in senior creative production and 49% in creative artist roles. At first these figures seem very exciting, but on further examination, the categories seem rather vague. Were these women in key creative roles or were these figures obscuring the reality of the kinds of roles women were actually engaged with.
Out of the total number of animation series commissioned or co-produced in the UK between 1990 – 2018, only 6.5% were created by women (En.wikipedia.org.2018). The cultural and creative industries including animation, are usually seen as ‘cool, creative and egalitarian’ (Gill, 70-89, 2002). Yet when conducting my research by interviewing women across the industry, there appear to be clear paradoxes with inequalities in gender and race. In the animation industry, networking and word of mouth are key methods of gaining employment. ‘There is evidence that this may have different outcomes for men and women in the creative industries’ (Grugulis & Stoyanova, 2012.2) This appears to put women in animation at a disadvantage for a variety of reasons; women with children will find it hard to network, people from the same ilk tend to stick together and there is little transparency in recruitment.
This paper asks the question, ‘Where are the key women in the UK animation industry?’ and attempts to create a possible framework to answer it.
Animated Women Breaking The Mold. (2019) https://www.britishanimationwomen.com/ Password to watch the documentary is crapston
Animated Women UK. (2018). Animated Women UK Supporting Women in VFX & Animation. [online] Available at: http://www.animatedwomenuk.com/ [Accessed 12 Nov. 2018].
Gill, R., (2002), ‘Cool, creative and egalitarian? Exploring gender in project-based new media work in Europe’, Information, Communication & Society, 5 (1): 70–89.
Grugulis,I.and Stoyanova,D.(2012),‘Socia lcapital and networks in film and TV:jobs for the boys?’ The British Sociological Association Annual Conference 2012: Sociology in an Age of Austerity.
Wreyford, N. (2015). Birds of a Feather: Informal Recruitment Practices and Gendered Outcomes for Screenwriting Work in the UK Film Industry. The Sociological Review, 63(1_suppl), pp.84-96.

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