(Aryann Cuda) As I look back on my experience at The Children’s Media Conference I realize that I was very fortunate to be surrounded by such inspiring and passionate media professionals for even such a short amount of time. I thoroughly enjoyed attending the workshops, research sessions, and keynote speeches, and more importantly, I feel as if I have walked away from the conference with a whole new understanding of the children’s media business.
Prior to this trip, I have had minimal exposure to children’s media – besides my obvious involvement with children’s media at a young age. Initially, I was skeptical whether I would connect with the ideas shared in Sheffield simply because I am not familiar with the popular children’s media in the UK. However, many of the sessions that I attended, such as “Collaborating with Kids,” and “Learning Landscape,” addressed relevant issues in children’s media in way that I could understand. Looking back, I realize most of the discussions focused around ways to better children’s media, and not to critique content. Although specific brands and characters were brought up, they were never discussed in terms that left me behind. I have learned that many children’s media professionals are genuinely interested in providing quality content for children and are inspired by others who have the same goal in mind. Although I am not a working professional in the children’s media sector, I now understand why a myriad of professionals enjoy attending The Children’s Media Conference year after year. Conferences are meant to encourage great work, and refresh the minds of all involved.
All in all, the most memorable experience happened my very first day of the conference. During the “Collaborating with Kids” workshop, the mediator left some time for attendees to comment on how they thought the session went. Dominic Gregory – who I later introduced myself to – explained how he enjoyed the atmosphere of the workshop, where working side-by-side with kids and also creating content was easy to do. He suggested that if all working professionals could ignore politics and egos in the workplace, then they could effectively think and be just as imaginative as their target audience. I appreciated Gregory’s kind heart and sincere insight on what truly matters when you work in the children’s media business. It should be no surprise that children’s media professionals aim to make children happy and I was inspired by Gregory’s courage to address an issue that seems to be an “elephant in the room” in many businesses.
If given the chance, I would absolutely attend The Children’s Media Conference again. I have connected with many professionals with whom I hope to keep in touch with. This conference has opened my eyes to the possibility of pursuing a career in children’s media simply because it would be an honor to have the power to create content for children that inspires, entertains, and most importantly, educates.
Cheers, CMC! Aryann