The trailer for Hannah Karpel’s documentary, Access to Arts: Breaking the Class Ceiling – which was single-handedly directed, produced, and presented by London-based journalist Karpel – opens with a depressing fact: “An arts education in the UK is becoming something only the privileged have access to.” Filmed over eight months, the documentary follows Karpel as she travels from secondary schools all the way to Westminster to shine a light on the barriers that face working class people looking to enter the creative industries. The topic is particularly close to Karpel’s heart; the journalist was once told she’d never get into the prestigious school, due to her perceived class status.
Now, as a graduate of Central Saint Martins’ BA fashion journalism course, Karpel is working to change things in the industry by making sure working class people – and other marginalised creatives – have their voices heard via her award-winning journalism. This has led her to be selected for the UNESCO Women at Dior mentorship programme, while her highly-praised documentary secured sponsorship from Barbie.
Not one to rest on her achievements, Karpel is already directing her next documentary. The short film, being made with the British Fashion Council and University of the Arts London, is set to explore the creative career path for young people in North East England, focusing on community anchors and local opportunities. “At every stage of your career, there are blockades in place trying to stop working class people from achieving,” Karpel told Dazed back in May, “[and that] is everyone’s problem.”
Text Brit Dawson