June Sarpong, the director of creative diversity at the BBC, has confirmed its upcoming CDX event, an ambitious virtual gathering later this month to celebrate the vibrancy, innovation and leadership of Black, Asian and ethnic minority creatives in Britain and beyond.
Between 28 – 29 July, CDX (Creative Diversity Xperience) will get up close and personal with iconic names, cultural disruptors and influencers over six hours of live-streamed events and masterclasses each day.
The aim is to re-engage younger audiences by examining issues important to them, something which the BBC has been open about its desire to achieve for some time, and which has felt more tangible since presenter and author June Sarpong joined the company as its director of creative diversity last November.
During a Zoom press briefing on Tuesday evening, June Sarpong, along with organisers, unveiled the plans to launch CDX, described by organisers as a “springboard” for wider change at the corporation.
It’s a first for the BBC and part of the broadcaster’s £100m commitment to on-air inclusion across its network until 2023/24, which includes a mandatory target for 20% of off-screen talent to be diverse in all new network commissions from April next year.
Responding to Melan in the online press briefing, the BBC’s Head of Creative Diversity, Miranda Wayland, said CDX was about being the “springboard for something wider and bigger and better” and that has been the “aspiration from the moment of its conception”.
“We’ve been really focused on making sure this two-day event has the impact we were really looking for but also can be a template for something beyond that.”
She continued: “We’ve been speaking with all our executive board members to make sure we understand the clarity and vision of it. We’ve been really focused on making sure this two-day event has the impact we were really looking for but also can be a template for something beyond that.
“We’re having conversations in the background in terms of what that is going to look like and how that might work, so we really don’t see this as just being a one-stop shop or a simple experience, but really seeing how we can take that learning and run with it or embed it into the other genres we’re working with.”
June, who was previously in the BBC’s Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Group before taking up her current role, has previously announced a series of initiatives to align practices within the corporation with their pledges. One of these included a Creative Diversity Festival that was set to be more career and industry-focused than CDX. The festival was due to have taken place in May but has since had to be postponed due to Covid-19.
“This two-day extravaganza is a real demonstration of what content can look like when we focus our efforts and bring together the talent looking at subject matters that really resonate with that particular group.”
Miranda added: “CDX is a fantastic opportunity to bring together the wealth of talent that speaks to ethnic minority groups. This two-day extravaganza is a real demonstration of what content can look like when we focus our efforts and bring together the talent looking at subject matters that really resonate with that particular group.
More will be announced about CDX over the coming weeks as the full list of headliners and the programme of live sessions are revealed.
June explained the “thought for this event has come from all of the [BBC’s] creative departments” and it has support from the “highest level”.
She added: “In terms of [measuring] success, it’s really about being able to provide a safe space for important conversations that need to happen and we really want the BBC to be a home for these conversations – that’s the first metric in terms of success.
“The second piece is really to bring in as much of these audiences as possible. Ordinarily, they tend to engage with us perhaps through 1Xtra, sometimes through BBC3, and we really want young ethnic minority audiences and communities to feel that the BBC is a home for them, so I hope this is what comes out of this and we see this as the first phase of many.”
Visit the CDX website and follow #CDXlive and updates on the BBC social media accounts.
Written by Vicky Gayle – Follow her: @vi_gayle