At the start of this year, the first task for the 5 remaining members of the 2012 BCA Committee was to recruit new members. We began by recommending people we thought would be suitable for the role and invited them to join us. This was the method we used when putting together the original Committee back in 2011 and the Judging Panel in 2012.
During the recruitment process, we discussed issues of diversity and representation. Our concerns led to two questions: “Was the Committee representative of the British public?” and “Could the public feel confident that they were being represented by the Committee?”
The answer to the first question was always going to be no. It is difficult to represent all the nationalities and identities of the people of Britain within a Committee of 10 people – though we have made every effort to put together a diverse, qualified and knowledgeable committee who have specific and unique areas of expertise within the world of comics.
The answer to the second question was less straight forward. We hope that most of the public would say yes, they do feel represented and their tastes and opinions about British comics are being considered by the wide range of people on the Committee. Again, due to the impossibility of representing every type of person, there is always going to be someone who could say no, they do not feel they are being represented. The question then became “What more could we do to ensure more of the public feel represented?”
Our answer came from looking at the way we recruited Committee members, i.e. by recommending people we knew of (though, in some cases, had never met or spoke to) who we felt were well qualified for the role. This approach has been effective so far but we could see the limitations in the long term. Our solution was to encourage people to come to us, so people from all backgrounds can apply to be a part of the British Comic Awards.
So, as part of our continuing work to develop the BCA we will be opening the Committee and Judging Panel to a process of application in future years. Developing equality policies and application materials to enable this to happen is a work in progress for the current Committee. This is a large job and couldn’t be put into practice this year without seriously hampering the other responsibilities of the Committee.
We want people from all walks of life to be able to enjoy all the work selected for the Awards each year and feel connected to the people deciding the shortlists and picking the winners.
After the first successful year of the British Comic Awards we are confident this is a project that should continue and we are working hard to ensure that the Awards are fully representative of the comics community. Rooted in passion for the medium, we are driven by an urge to see it have an increasing profile in the UK. We believe the Awards are well placed to offer a space to celebrate and publicise sequential art.
We welcome any thoughts and comments you may have on this topic. Please leave a comment on this blog post, send us a message on Facebook, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org