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Channel 4's DIVERSE Festival heads to Bradford

DIVERSE FESTIVAL: Akala is one of the event's guest speakers

FOR THE first time since it’s inception Channel 4’s annual DIVERSE Festival will be hosted outside of London, and will focus on authentic portrayal on television.

Set to take place on June 17 in Bradford, this year's event will be hosted by Anita Rani and will feature senior executives from the BBC, Channel 4, ITV, Netflix, Channel 5 and guest speaker hip-hop artist and writer Akala.

In addition to senior industry executives giving their insight into authenticity in broadcast media, the festival will give independent production companies the opportunity to have one to one pitching sessions with broadcasters’ commissioners.

In addition to this, the festival will also hold a workshop on how to get into television aimed specifically at young people in the region.

Ian Katz, director of programmes, Channel 4 said: “Our annual DIVERSE Festival provides a fantastic opportunity for the industry to come together and share experiences on delivering inclusion and diversity on and off-screen.”

“We’re extremely excited to be holding the DIVERSE festival in Bradford this year, as we look forward to establishing our National HQ in nearby Leeds.”

Each year the DIVERSE festival brings together broadcasters, production companies, talent, commissioners, and wider creative industry stakeholders to celebrate diversity and inclusion, share best practice and find collaborative solutions to diversity related challenges in broadcast media. This year, the festival will pull focus on authenticity and the pivotal role it plays within meaningful representation both on and off-screen.

Katz’s session, “Did We Get It Right?” will examine three Channel 4 shows and invite the audience to judge their authenticity. In a discussion with BBC talent, the BBC’s director of content Charlotte Moore will explore untold authored stories.

David Wilson, director of Bradford UNESCO City of Film, said: "We're delighted to be working with Channel 4 and the University of Bradford in hosting the DIVERSE Festival in Bradford. As a UNESCO creative city with one of the youngest and most diverse populations in the UK, we are committed to bringing events like DIVERSE to Bradford to open up new pathways and opportunities for TV and film production in the region."

The festival will hear from Netflix’s vice president of content, Anne Mensah on her experience of authenticity in the media and Ben Frow, director of programmes at Channel 5, who will deliver a keynote session on the importance of reflecting modern Britain in an authentic way across all genres of programming. Saskia Schuster, controller of comedy at ITV, will feature in a panel discussion on "Why employing more women writers in comedy matters".

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