The Children’s Media Foundation (CMF)

Get In Get On

Children's Media Foundation Executive Committee Member Olivia Dickinson discusses Diversity and Inclusion at the Children's Media Conference

At the Children’s Media Conference, we have had an ‘Inclusivity Working Group’ since 2020. I lead the group for now, despite being middle-aged, middle class and white, and have made sure we have a range of different people to be the conference’s conscience alongside the advisory committee. No group like this is perfect and we’re always on the look out for a good breadth of representation, but we’ve tried to pull together people who have either their own lived experience of certain protected characteristics, or who have always championed inclusion in different ways in their own part of the industry.

While in previous years the output of the group has been incredible for online videos under the #InclusivityNow title in terms of range of content and  diversity of contributors – there’s a whole playlist for you to watch – in the last couple of years we’ve also focused on diversifying the delegates who attend the conference.

To this end, we offer two things, completely for free. Anyone can sign up to the Get In Get On webinar each year (this year scheduled for 8th June) and already 150 people have booked on.  The webinar gives delegates the opportunity to meet seasoned media professionals ahead of the conference.  We also offer seven slick, to the point videos about getting into the children’s media industry, whether you want to work in music and radio, live action, writing and publishing, animation, games and digital media, plus two key sessions on networking and applying for jobs, and how the whole industry works and who’s who (one likely that everyone still needs to watch!).

The Inclusivity Group, and some of the CMC team, have been reaching out to various organisations over the last few months to get a range of people signing up to the ‘Get In Get On’ webinar, and at the same time, offering codes for individuals from those organisations for free online access to the conference itself. We learnt during the pandemic, when the whole conference was online, that that benefited some people: there’s no travel or accommodation to have to pay for; if you’re neurodivergent you can take breaks as you need; if you have accessibility needs for physical spaces or travel you don’t need to worry about how to manage those; if you have caring responsibilities you can still be there for your dependents; if you are Deaf or have hearing loss, the online networking was much more manageable than a noisy drinks reception. The list could go on, and is part of why we are retaining the online aspect of the whole conference. Both the webinar and the online attendance are also a way to try out the conference in a low key way, getting to know some industry faces without too much commitment.

One thing I’m always learning from members of ‘Inclusivity Working Group’ is how everyone progresses in different ways throughout their careers. For example, we do not set an age limit for people to qualify for the free online conference as we know that disabled or working class people in particular may be older when they’re entering the industry. We also offer tickets to an organisation who specifically focus on getting over 25s into work after the Covid pandemic. There are many different ways people can feel excluded or that they don’t belong, maybe because of a disability others can’t see, or caring responsibilities at home, so we’re always keen to hear from organisations who are not just for young people.

So far 17 people have signed up for 2023 using the codes we offer; last year we had 35.  We’d love that figure to keep on increasing, so do contact us at CMC if your organisation can reach out to marginalised groups.

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The Children’s Media Foundation (CMF)