Church & Media Conference: minority voices, diversity and June Sarpong

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“The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story.” These wise words from my favourite author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie show us the importance of diversity in providing a true and full picture of how things are.

As media professionals, who tell stories for a living – whether in print, online, through photography or film - it’s important for us to be intentional about drawing in the voices of those who are not like us.

The theme of Minority Voices will underpin the content for what’s set to be another excellent day. How do we ensure that those whose stories we tell represent the full spectrum of society – whether race, class, gender or physical ability?

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We, the conference planning team, are delighted to announce that June Sarpong MBE will join us for the day as our mainstage interviewee. As I was growing up as an ethnic minority in Britain, seeing Sarpong as one of the few black women presenting top TV shows was inspiring. She started her media career on Kiss 100 before becoming a presenter on MTV and then fronting Channel 4’s daytime TV strand T4, including interviewing Tony Blair in a special episode – When Tony met June – in 2005. Sarpong is a regular panellist on shows including Never Mind the Buzzcocks, Have I Got News for You, Loose Women, 8 Out of 10 Cats and Question Time. She is currently a panellist on Sky News programme The Pledge.

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Her latest book Diversify: Six Degrees of Integration argues the case for the social, moral and economic benefits of diversity while also looking at how limited we are by social division and inspiring us to make change.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu says of her book: “I am so glad June Sarpong is working on this matter of diversity. We don’t seem to know how to handle differences. When will we learn that we share one common humanity, as Shakespeare’s Shylock declared so eloquently?”

Sarpong joins a line-up for the Church & Media Conference, which includes Rev Kate Bottley, ITV newsreader Julie Etchingham, Mark Warburton, producer director at Songs of Praise, Professor Tina Beattie and comedian Paul Kerensa.

The conference, which takes place on Thursday, 18 October, at St Mary’s Bryanston Square in London, will also feature sessions on women in the media, pitching, and a live recording of podcast The Sacred, presented by Elizabeth Oldfield, director of Theos.

Written by Chine McDonald, Head of PR for Christian Aid, author, speaker and trustee of The MediaNet

If you haven't booked your ticket yet and would like a copy of June's book, we have added a special ticket which includes a discounted rate, and you can collect your copy from us at the conference!