Creative Access awards first Mo Siewcharran Fund grants of 2022 to leading diversity organisations in publishing and theatre

Posted on March 2, 2022

Creative Access has announced the first 2022 grants from the Mo Siewcharran Fund to support internships for talent from Black, Asian and other ethnic backgrounds. The Fund grants, which are administered by Creative Access, have been awarded to three impressive organisations working to change the face of the creative industries: The Reader, a national charity working to make literature accessible to all; Saqi Books, a leading independent publisher of trade and academic books on the Middle East and North Africa and the Regional Theatre Young Director Scheme (RTYDS), the UK’s foremost programme of paid professional development for theatre directors.

The Fund was set up in memory of former Nielsen BookData Director Mo Siewcharran, who was passionate about ensuring theatre and publishing were accessible to all, and supports internships for talent from Black, Asian and other ethnic backgrounds, which are groups under-represented in the creative industries.

The pandemic has had a devastating impact on people working in publishing and theatre. Creative Access research, conducted in May 2020 and then again in December 2021, shows financial stability has declined dramatically with just 26% of those working in publishing and 34% in theatre describing themselves as financially stable versus 55% in both sectors who had said the same in May 2020. 29% of people in theatre and 26% in publishing said the pandemic had negatively impacted their job security – 26% for those from Black, Asian or other ethnic backgrounds.

John Seaton, Mo’s husband and founder of the Fund, said, “As we come out of the pandemic, it is great to be awarding the first grants of 2022 to three organisations that are leading the way in creating a more diverse and inclusive culture in publishing and theatre. The past two years have been incredibly challenging for the sector, but we now have a real opportunity to make fundamental improvements by changing hiring practices and recruiting talent from diverse backgrounds and I am very pleased that the Mo Siewcharran Fund is playing an active role in this mission.”

Josie Dobrin, CEO and founder, Creative Access, said, “It’s a privilege to partner with John in managing the Mo Siewcharran Fund and to be awarding the first grants of 2022 to three incredible organisations who share our passion to make theatre and publishing more accessible, inclusive and representative. We’re excited to see the talent coming forward to take up the internships with these organisations and the impact they will have on the future of the industry.”

“The Reader is really excited to be able to offer this role of Literature Directorate Assistant. We know that roles in an organisation focused on literature may not feel relevant or accessible for many individuals, particularly if you are from an under-represented background or have an unconventional work/education history. The Mo Siewcharran Fund and Creative Access are supporting us to reach wider in our recruitment to find someone who has a love of reading and support them to become an integral part of our team”

Alison Speight Development Coordinator, The Reader

“We at Saqi are over the moon that an intern will be joining the team in 2022 and are grateful to the Mo Siewcharran Fund for this opportunity. We look forward to helping a publishing professional embark on their career and to a time in the future when employees across the industry reflect the UK population”

Cassie Lawrence Publicity & Marketing Executive, Saqi Books

 “RTYDS and Creative Access share the aim of enabling people from communities under-represented in theatre to access careers, progress and reach leadership positions. We’re excited that we can work together to offer a paid Trainee Programme Producer role at RTYDS with the support of the Mo Siewcharran Fund”

Sue Emmas, Artistic Director, RTYDS

The Fund is once again open for other theatre or publishing organisations wishing to support internships for those from under-represented communities. Those interested in applying should contact [email protected]. The deadline for the next round of applications is 1st July 2022.