The Children’s Media Foundation (CMF)

CMF @ CMC – Reporting on Diversity 

Angela Ferreira
, the Diversity rep. for CMF was invited to speak at The Westminster Media Forum on July 14th.  

Westminster Media Forum events have high profile in the political community. This forum on 'The Television Production Sector; International Competitiveness, Workforce Priorities and Policy Options' was chaired by Lord Inglewood and Viscount Coalville of Culcross. As part of our role to "enhance the public discourse around media and children", the CMF offered to reflect on the latest thinking in the children's industry on diversity and social inclusion, fresh from sessions Angela supported at the Children's Media Conference in July.

Angela spoke in the Westminster Media Forum session 'Priorities for the workforce - access, diversity and professional development', along with Sara Putt - Chair of BAFTA New Learning and Development, and Jamie Hindhaugh COO BT Sport.  Angela opened by explaining the role of CMF.  Then the core of her keynote reported on sessions at the CMC.

Angela drew heavily on the 'Make Something Happen' workshop in which the participants had discussed barriers to entry, perceptions and mentoring and on the 'Making Access Happen' session in which influential panellists had offered their own solutions; such as recognising that someone may be on a zero hours contract, so might find interview times extremely difficult or may not have the money to travel and considering how to support that talent.

During the sessions at CMC there had been a lot of discussion about entry level schemes and retention of more experienced staff. Angela brought that into her presentation, and this was echoed by the other two speakers.  Angela also flagged that the CMC participants were concerned about government cuts in support, which have a negative impact on access to the workplace for disabled staff.

Neurological diversity and learning disabilities was a recurring theme at CMC. Angela told the Forum about Jess Thom (Tourettes Hero) and how she had 'rightly berated' TV producers for their casting decisions and stereotypes, and about Cara Jessop whose actor brother with Down's wanted to be cast as the hero, not the victim.

Finally,  she talked about the contribution from Lemn Sissay about the importance of seeing yourself and your experience reflected on screen, and that only a truly diverse workforce could achieve that.

The Q & A was wide ranging and Angela answered questions on the diversity schemes from the broadcasters, targets for on-screen diversity and support from NGO type organisations in the TV sector.

The Forum was left in no doubt that the CMC commitment to exploring diversity in all its forms was a symbol of the desire for change. The children's media industry was "on the case". But a lot more needs to be done and government cut-backs do nothing to help.

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The Children’s Media Foundation (CMF)