3 Jun - 2021

Tags from the story: The Children’s Media Conference.

Dani Harmer and Dame Jacqueline Wilson on board for ‘Tracy Beaker’ themed creative keynote

The Children’s Media Conference (CMC) has announced new speakers for its 2021 conference, which will run virtually from 5-9 July. As ‘Tracy Beaker’ celebrates 30 years in print and 20 years on screen, its beloved author Dame Jacqueline Wilson and star Dani Harmer will come together for this year’s Creative Keynote session to discuss evolving characters, fan generations, and their own creative friendship.

Additionally, comedian, actor, screenwriter and children’s author Rosie Jones will headline CMC’s ‘Inclusivity Now’ video strand, which offers practical guides to combating unconscious bias and improving access, inclusivity and diversity both on screen and in the workplace. In her video titled ‘Disability is not a Character Type’, Rosie will share her experience of writing authentic disabled characters, what to do, and tropes to look out for. The video will be one of four CMC is launching on its YouTube channel between 7-10th June to offer delegates a preview for this year’s conference.

The Creative Keynote session will be held on Wednesday 7th July and will see Dame Jacqueline Wilson and Dani Harmer interviewed by broadcaster and screen critic, Rhianna Dhillon. Since author Dame Jacqueline Wilson first created the irrepressible ‘Tracy Beaker’ 30 years ago, the character has become one of the most loved and enduring children’s cultural icons. Spanning six books, a musical, and more than 150 television episodes over the last two decades, the imaginative, rule-breaking ten-year-old living in care has spawned a full-blown franchise, propelled by her vivid portrayal on screen by Dani Harmer.

Following the record-breaking launch this year of the latest CBBC series My Mum Tracy Beaker, which drew 2.1 million iPlayer streams in the first three days of release, during the Creative Keynote Jacqueline and Dani will lift the lid on their unique creative relationship – exploring how author and actor have inspired each other’s work, helped an icon grow, and now built generations of loyal Tracy fans.

Further ‘Inclusivity Now’ videos include ‘Subverting the Mainstream’, which will see Emmy Award-winning screenwriter and show runner, Ann Austen, discuss the role brands can play in diversifying mainstream narratives, drawing from her experience on properties such as Power Rangers and Barbie; and ‘Inclusion & Creativity: The Manga Connection that will explore how Manga resonates with young people looking for inclusive experiences. The strand will also cover disability in gaming; and how the producers of hit series such as Bluey and CBeebies’ JoJo and Gran Gran made decisions about diverse representation.

Additional highlights of the conference programme include: a session titled ‘Animation Assemble: Talent and Toons’ during which Dominique Bazay (Director of Original Animation, Netflix), Sarah Fell (Head of Content, WarnerMedia), Darren Nartey (Acquisitions Manager: Films & Kids at ITV), Greg Boardman (CEO & Producer at Three Stones Media) and Chris Rose (VP Production & Development at Nickelodeon International & VIS Kids) will explore why platforms are putting animation at the heart of their strategies and what this means for new talent.

Discussing the ‘Inclusivity Now’ strand, Greg Childs, Editorial Director at CMC, says:  “Once again Olivia Dickinson – a long-time supporter of access and inclusion at CMC – has curated an amazing selection of informative, inspiring and surprising videos for CMC’s ‘Inclusivity Now’ strand. Olivia and a team of CMC volunteer advisors have scoured the industry for stories that offermessages of “can do” on inclusion and representation. The same team has helped us build further connections for our outreach programme, which offers free access to the Conference for young people who would not normally be able to attend.

Our special event on June 18th ‘Get in and Get On with the CMC’ is designed to help young people and all newcomers to the kids’ media business find their way into and around the industry in all its forms, learn about career choices and opportunities and meet some amazing industry leaders with a passion to open up the kids business as widely as possible. CMC is behind that all the way – the key word in ‘Inclusivity Now’ is ‘now’.”

With the theme ‘Together’, CMC 2021 Online will tackle the urgent issues facing the children’s media industry and young audiences. Following the success of the last year’s virtual conference, the event has a packed agenda of webinars, keynotes and panels, playing host to a wide range of broadcasters, co-producers, funders and investors from across the world.

Delegates will also have access to extra strands of VOD content on CMC’s bespoke online platform, covering topics including: Research, The Art of…, Inclusivity Now and presentations by CMC’s cohort of young speakers: The Changemakers. CMC’s hugely popular virtual market International Exchange will also precede the conference on 1 July.

CMC is also set to bring back ‘Playground’, its ground-breaking interactive digital art exhibition for children and families, this summer. Running from 1st – 11th July at Site Gallery, Sheffield, the exhibition will focus on the theme of ‘What if?’.  The exhibition is suitable for 5-12-year-olds but everyone is welcome free of charge during opening hours: www.cmcplayground.com.

For more information and registration, please visit: www.thechildrensmediaconference.com.

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