Media Diversity Champion Joanna Abeyie to Join BBC as Interim Head of Creative Diversity

Celebrated media diversity and inclusion practitioner Joanna Abeyie is joining the BBC as interim head of creative diversity on a six-month contract.

Abeyie will support the BBC’s outgoing director of creative diversity, June Sarpong, and chief content officer, Charlotte Moore, in delivering on-air diversity and inclusion strategies across all BBC output.

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Abeyie will lead on the planning, development and implementation of initiatives related to on-air talent portrayal, commissioning guidelines, diverse audiences, monitoring and reporting. She joins at a time when there is an exodus of women of color from the BBC, as revealed by a Variety investigation.

Abeyie arrives at the corporation with a rich media diversity track record. In 2008, Abeyie started social enterprise, Shine Media, which saw her place over 3,000 people from diverse backgrounds into work within creative industries. In 2018 she started Blue Moon, an inclusive executive search and diversity and inclusion consultancy. She was instrumental in establishing the Creative Diversity All-Party Parliamentary Group with Deborah Bull, of which she is joint secretary.

She advises multiple organizations and bodies including the UK Research and Innovation Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Expert Advisory Panel. She’s an active member of the DCMS Cultural Renewal Taskforce, and the Culture Committee chaired by Tracy Brabin MP.

In 2020, Abeyie was awarded an MBE (Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) for her services to diversity and inclusion in the creative and media industries.

Moore said: “Joanna Abeyie brings a wealth of experience to the role, she is a highly regarded champion of diversity and inclusion with a deep knowledge of the British creative industry. I’m looking forward to working with her to help propel the BBC’s creative diversity plans into the future.”

Sarpong added: “I am beyond thrilled that Joanna Abeyie will be joining the BBC’s Creative Diversity Unit. Joanna is an outstanding and highly respected diversity, equity and inclusion practitioner. As a former journalist and content producer, Joanna brings a rare and unique creative lens to her DEI expertise. I can’t wait for her to join the team.”

Abeyie said: “I’m really excited to be joining the BBC Creative Diversity Unit. I look forward to working with the very talented team already in place on plans to ensure all audiences can truly see themselves reflected in BBC programs.”

Meanwhile, the BBC has advertised for the role of director of diversity and inclusion, applications for which close Apr. 29. Previously, the BBC head of diversity and inclusion position was held by Anne Foster, who left to join the House of Commons as director of diversity and inclusion. BBC head of creative Miranda Wayland then assumes these diversity responsibilities, but is set to take up the position of head of Europe’s, equity and inclusion for Amazon Studios and Prime Video, later this year.

The new director of diversity and inclusion is expected to take on the responsibilities of both Wayland’s and Sarpong’s roles and will report into the BBC’s chief people officer, a position that has yet to be filled.

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