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Former BBC creative diversity chief lifts lid on departure

Joanna Abeyie says ‘psychologically safe working environment’ is crucial.

The BBC’s former head of creative diversity Joanna Abeyie has indicated that she left the role because she didn’t feel it was “psychologically safe” and that she had “minimal” autonomy.   

Abeyie, who was in post for just over a year until July, spoke out about the reasons for her departure for the first time in a piece in the BFI Sight and Sound Black Film Bulletin. 

She said her exit came despite feeling that she was making headway in a role she loved – and having confidence that several key stakeholders and commissioners were committed to making diverse programmes. 

“Unfortunately loving a role and being committed to its purpose isn’t always enough,” she said. 

“A psychologically safe working environment is crucial in any role and especially important when levelling the playing field for underserved talent and audiences, which requires huge amounts of empathy and compassion. 

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