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Lenny Henry and Coldplay join forces to help fund research into media diversity

Sir Lenny Henry (Ian West/PA)
Sir Lenny Henry (Ian West/PA)

Sir Lenny Henry and Coldplay have joined forces to help fund research which will explore how to improve diversity and representation across the media landscape.

The actor and presenter has set up a prize draw where the winner will receive a Fender guitar previously owned and signed by all the members of the chart-topping rock band.

The funds raised from the Crowdfunder initiative will go towards the delivery of new research, grants and action through Birmingham City University’s Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity, the university said.

Graham Norton Show – London
Coldplay have donated a Fender guitar for the initiative (Matt Crossick/PA)

Sir Lenny, who is also Birmingham City University’s chancellor, said: “Through our centre we have already made great strides in ensuring we shine a light on representation in the media and hear from the many unheard voices in this industry.

“We want our work to be even more impactful to ensure it delivers the real change that is required to shape our media landscape for years to come, bringing new opportunities and tangible shifts across the sector.

“Media diversity matters to all of us, in shaping who tells our stories, which stories are told, and the career pathways open to people from under-represented communities.

“That is why I am launching this fundraising initiative, with the help of Coldplay, to get support in helping us provide even more grants and change our industry for the better.”

Coldplay’s frontman, Chris Martin, added: “We fully support, applaud and encourage everything that is being done to increase diversity and inclusion in the media through all of the brilliant things being done by Lenny and the whole team.”

Graham Norton Show – London
Coldplay’s Chris Martin said the band fully supports the efforts to improve media diversity (Matt Crossick/PA)

Birmingham City University has funded nine research projects through its Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity since its inception almost two years ago, according to the institution.

The projects have included a collaboration with Cardiff University and work with Channel 4.

It has also published research findings that examine the portrayal of black people in UK documentaries, the use of the term BAME in broadcast media and how entertainment trade unions should provide better support for their members of colour.

The funds raised through the Crowdfunder prize draw will be used to provide further grants for research and activity which promote media diversity both in front of and behind the camera, the university said.

Sir Lenny added: “Having worked in the TV industry for over 25 years, including campaigning for more media diversity and providing oral evidence to both parliamentary select committees and House of Lords select committees, I believe passionately in the quality research we are carrying out and look forward to our future impact effecting real change.”

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