The Children’s Media Foundation (CMF)

Reflections on Inclusivity at CMC 2020 On-Line

By Olivia Dickinson

Digital Consultant and CMF Executive Group Member for Diversity and Inclusion


This year’s CMC gave us an amazing opportunity to create content that gives you concrete, practical actions and takeaways. Every one of the contributors in the 9 films that make up Inclusivity Now tells you at least one practical thing you can go away and do. So that’s at least 9 actions right there…. and then some more!

The Inclusivity Now strand will be available to view on the CMC YouTube Channel after September 30th 2020

Since the busy week of the CMC itself, when I was virtually ‘darting’ from one live session to a live Facebook chat, while maintaining regular contact with contributors via messenger and email, as well as being blocked from Facebook for over-enthusiastically posting too many comments per minute, we’ve had a chance to look at viewing figures for the videos and reflect on the chats about them, that were scheduled as an ‘Event’ in the Children's Media Conference Facebook Group.

As I outlined in my preview before the conference, I was cheered (but not surprised!) about the crossover of themes and actions coming from contributors who had never met but who were doing and wanting the same things. Akin Akinsiku, Director of 5 Apples and Shabnam Rezaei Co-Founder and President of Big Bad Boo for example, an ocean apart, had nurtured and trained up junior writers, had wanted to normalise the experience of BAME families and characters, and known from their own childhoods and their own children’s experiences what they wanted to see on screen.

Rebecca Atkinson, Director of Toy Like Me and Lucy Edwards (one of the CMC Changemakers) spoke of their own experiences of disability and how ‘inspiration porn’ "Oh, she’s so brave, so inspiring!" ...is most definitely not the way forward!

 

In the Perspectives On… strand, the LGBT+ Now video, saw CEO and Founder of Educate and Celebrate Dr Elly Barnes and David Levine, Executive Sponsor of Pride UK&I, Disney’s first international business resource group for LGBTQ+ and Ally employees, talk about ‘usualising’ experiences - i.e. making them mainstream, and how there often isn’t intersectionality – you can be Black, but not gay, you can be disabled but not a lesbian (something Jessi Parrot from Inclusive Minds also refered to).

David Levine flagged up how lesbians are often not represented – the coming out narrative is often reserved for boys in kids or teen drama, never for girls. This informs the BBC 5050 approach, of ensuring women’s voices are heard, the Let Toys Be Toys campaign to ensure girls don't go missing on licensed merchandise, and both Hopster and Let Toys Be Toys highlighting how a mixed of group of characters in a TV show never has an equal balance of boys and girls, one sex always dominates.

The irony of discussing whether to boycott Facebook (via the #StopHateForProfit campaign) while posting on Facebook did not pass us by. Facebook is not an ideal platform to re-find content, but I’d really urge you to go to the chats and look over some of the nuggets from the contributors and delegates.

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