ScreenSkills: “Bleak Picture” of Accessibility in U.K. Animation


A new report conducted by ScreenSkills paints a “bleak picture” of accessibility in U.K. animation, as nearly three-quarters of disabled respondents working in the industry believe that the sector is discriminating against them.

Accessibility in Animation presents the findings of a survey of people working in U.K. animation conducted by ScreenSkills, in partnership with Manchester Animation Festival and the Visible in Visuals (ViV) network. It was commissioned by the ScreenSkills Animation Skills Council and supported by National Lottery funds awarded by the BFI as part of its Future Film Skills program.

The majority (56 percent) of the disabled people surveyed disagree that the animation sector is a good industry for disabled people to work in; 30 percent of the non-disabled respondents disagreed. Also, 60 percent of the disabled respondents think that disability cannot be openly discussed within the sector, compared to 46 percent for the non-disabled sample.

More than half of the respondents (54 percent) disagree that recruitment processes in the sector encourage applications from disabled people. Disabled respondents are more likely to have stronger feelings on this, with just under half (43 percent) reporting that they strongly disagree compared with a quarter (27 percent) of the total sample.

Nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of disabled respondents think that the sector discriminates against disabled people, which compares with just over half (52 percent) of the non-disabled respondents.

Those taking part in the survey also feel that there is not enough training to educate staff on the topics of disability, accessibility and inclusion. The majority (72 percent) of the respondents think that they are not provided with training on how to create an inclusive workplace for disabled people. Disabled participants have stronger feelings on this, with nearly half (47 percent) strongly disagreeing, compared with 36 percent of the non-disabled sample.

The research, conducted by Dr. Caterina Branzanti, ScreenSkills’ head of research, and Dr. Jack Cortvriend, ScreenSkills’ senior researcher, highlights six actions to support the animation sector in becoming a more accessible sector for disabled people to work in. It calls on the industry to keep on monitoring and investigating disability and emphasizes training. Companies must also encourage, facilitate and support disability disclosure and provide guidance on flexible and tailored career development pathways. It suggests that reasonable adjustments are a legal responsibility and a moral imperative and asks employers to scrutinize working practices, starting from recruitment processes.