Changemakers – listening to young people
- The voices of the future need to be heard now: the Covid-19 lockdown has given us the opportunity to reassess our values and allow ourselves to be educated by young people.
- Engaging children and young people in content creation and making sure they are part of positive change is vital.
The environment, inclusion and the joys of coding
A new feature of the conference, and one that is important for many reasons, is the Changemaker series, which sat within the main sessions. These were short videos featuring a range of young people, highlighting topics and areas in which they want to see change. Passionate speakers gave their opinions on how environmental issues need to be handled in education, rethinking approaches to inclusion in mainstream media and the joy of coding and music. They were both inspirational speakers and a wonderful reminder of why we need to hear from children and young people when we create content– hearing their voices and understanding their needs is vital.
What they want, need and how to do it
The Question Time session also highlighted this point in relation to education during the lockdown. ‘Normal education’ has already been failing too many children, especially those from minority groups. The silver lining of the Covid-19 lockdown has been the opportunity to reassess our values and allow ourselves to be educated by young people– listening to what they want, need and how to do it. The Changemakers’ contribution was a great demonstration of that role reversal.
The language of lockdown
The Question Time panel also discussed the language of lockdown and the ways in which it can be damaging to young people. The lockdown has been pervasive for everyone, but probably the largest impact will be on children and young people, having had their education interrupted and opportunities lost.
However, in supporting them, media and content providers should be careful about the language they use. Children are engaged through social media and see and hear the news; this means that they also know how they are spoken about in mainstream media, and the idea of a ‘lost generation’ is potentially a damaging one. Instead, we should be engaging children in content creation and making sure they are part of the positive changes to come out of the crisis.
The Children’s Media Conference is the UK’s largest gathering of children’s media experts and enthusiasts, drawing a crowd from children’s TV and film, radio, gaming, publishing, and tech. This year, Oriel Square’s Hannie Kirkham produced a session for the CMC’s Learning Strand, focusing on the ways in which brands have responded to the Covid-19 lockdown and what that has meant for their educational content and engagement.
The Conference, usually hosted across several venues in Sheffield, has honed the balance of insightful panels, collaboration opportunities and a good dose of fun. Although this year has forced the production team to migrate the conference online and explore a whole new way of working, they have still managed to incorporate all of those elements. This year’s content was also thoroughly relevant to current events and ongoing issues that are so prevalent for young people.
If you’re interested in finding out how Oriel Square can deliver or help you plan effective and engaging online conferences, training sessions, events or communities, please get in touch. You can find us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn @OrielSquare.