NHS England BME Leader Campaign

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Studio Giggle has worked with NHS England for several years now and it is a cause that we are really passionate about as it gives us a chance to tell great stories that genuinely make a difference to people’s lives. In October 2020 we were approached by NHS England to work on a project for their BME Leadership campaign.

A group of senior nurses from a Black, Asian or minority ethnic background had been coached over a 3 month period to help them develop their personal narrative. The purpose of the work was to increase their visibility and to share the stories to encourage other BME nurses to strive for advancement with the NHS. After all the incredible work that the NHS has done in the last 18 months, we felt privileged to be able to speak to these leaders, hear their stories and we hope that by working on projects like this, we are helping to deliver a more diverse NHS.

The purpose of the project was to create a series of short films to showcase the outstanding work of the BME leaders during the COVID19 pandemic and to highlight the programmes in place within the NHS to help more BME employees to progress up the career ladder. It was important that the films weren’t over-dramatised for heroism, from the beginning we wanted to be very clear that these people aren’t ‘angels’, or ‘heroes’, but instead, they are highly skilled and educated people doing their jobs to the very highest standards.

One of the biggest challenges with this project was COVID19. We had originally aimed to film the BME Leaders in person, but ever-changing COVID restrictions, and the November national lockdown, meant that this was no longer possible. Instead, the NHS trusted us to tell the leader’s stories in an engaging way using animation.

To begin with, we had to pick the leaders whose stories we wanted to tell. NHS England sent us a list of 7. All 7 leaders had fantastic stories and were hugely inspirational so it was a challenge for us to whittle the list down to 4 leaders. We decided to pick 4 leaders who had experienced different problems, and whose stories we could see forming a strong and powerful animation. The 4 that we picked were: Angela Knight Jackson, Hannah Spencer, Jabu Chikore and Linda Chibuzor.

From there, our talented digital artist, Iina, created 3 style frames based on different colours and imagery that would work with the narrative.

Potential styleframe for the project

The client then picked from these and Iina went away and created the storyboards for each animation.

Storyboard for the BME leader project showing the different stages of an animation

We had Zoom calls with all of the leaders to discuss their stories. This also helped us to get a better understanding of who they are and how we should animate them. The key to the success of the films was authenticity and that was the guiding principle for the entire creative. We worked closely with the contributor on their scripts to ensure that we hit all the key points and retained their own voice. The leaders then sent over photos from throughout their life and career. We then treated these images to build the animation.

Illustration of Hannah a BME Leader

To ensure that all the animations felt truly authentic we wanted each leader to read their own script. This was made more challenging with the continual covid lockdown as we were unable to get to them in person and get a clear recording. Instead, we sent each of them a professional microphone that they could connect to their phone and then guided them through the voice over recording. This was a big risk, but in the end, it paid off and helped to deliver an authentic, natural narration.

Iina worked tirelessly on a tight schedule to get all of the films finished. The aim was to release the animations as part of the International Nurses Day which falls on Florence Nightingale’s birthday, 12th May.

These stories have had a profound impact on me, I urge you to take the time to listen and really hear the experience and contribution of these inspirational leaders.

Professor Gemma Stacey, Director of the Florence Nightingale Foundation Academy

The animations are being used to promote the Florence Nightingale Foundation’s Ethnic Minority Leadership programme. The programme began in March 2020 in response to the COVID19 pandemic and saw a group of 22 ethnic minority nurses enrol and develop their career. Our 4 leaders, Angela Knight Jackson, Hannah Spencer, Jabu Chikore and Linda Chibuzor, were all part of this programme. Now the Florence Nightingale Foundation is able to use their stories to inspire and challenge other ethnic minority group leaders to come forward.

To find out more about the programme and the Florence Nightingale Foundation, click here.

Angela Knight Jackson’s story

Hannah Spencer’s story

Jabu Chikore’s story

Linda Chibuzor’s story

We feel incredibly lucky and privileged to have been able to work with such excellent role models and to further our relationship and partnership with NHS England.

If you would like to create an animation like this please contact us on 0117 972 0081 or email jon@studiogiggle.co.uk

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