How to be a conscious commissioner

As brands and creative agencies aim to create work that truly reflects the diversity and demands of their audiences, commissioning is vital. Here, Gem Fletcher talks to four industry experts about how to do it well

In the summer of 2020, a combination of the Covid 19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter protests led the creative industries to a long overdue reckoning about their systemic bias. It became a catalyst for the most significant and open conversation about diversity and inclusion at every level – from interns to boardrooms. In a desperate attempt to correct this historical failing, we saw a feasting of diversity, which only further exemplified the issues at hand.

As we begin 2023, where do we stand? What progress has been made? What’s at stake? And where do we go from here?

There are no easy answers, but what is clear is that denial no longer has a place here. While the challenge of creating fairer systems, processes and cultures may often seem insurmountable, we know now that small incremental shifts are vital for us to rethink the way we work and move towards a more positive future. Whether that’s building new models and platforms, or reworking the institutions from the inside, we are all responsible for dismantling harm and imagining new possibilities.

Creative work has the ability to disrupt, mirror, connect and question, and commissioners play a vital role in achieving a more equitable industry. Here, four industry experts share their views on where we stand and what comes next.

Top: From the series To Me, You Are Beloved, a collab between Gucci and Roundtable Journal; Above: Osei Bonsu stars in Pioneers of the Past, a Gucci × The North Face collab created by A Vibe Called Tech