Report – The Creative Edge?

Posted on: Wednesday 06 July 2016 3:16pm by Jessica Thornsby

An inclusive and inspiring range of talent discussed why diversity is the lifeblood of our industry


  • Children’s media has a unique opportunity to build a more inclusive society
  • Inclusivity in the workplace shouldn’t be a boring box-ticking exercise
  • Inclusivity is about improving your business and fuelling creativity by bringing fresh perspectives to the table, disrupting traditional thought processes, and challenging assumptions


DSC5811_2In this session, a diverse and inspiring range of talent came together to discuss and debate some of the big questions surrounding inclusivity, with special attention to what gives them that ‘creative edge’.

Oli Hyatt, Creative Director at Blue-Zoo Animation and the Chair of Animation UK, said he sees his dyslexia in a positive light: “I believe that people with dyslexia absorb information differently – they don’t absorb it in a linear fashion. They take detours and that’s exactly what creativity is – detours.”

Jess Thom, who co-founded Touretteshero in 2010 as a creative response to her experience of living with Tourette’s Syndrome, said that embracing the creativity of her tics was a turning point in her life. She told the audience that her show, ‘Backstage in Biscuit Land’, harnesses the “spontaneous creativity” of her Tourette’s.

Ashley Kendall, Assistant Producer at Flashing Lights, the UK’s largest deaf-run media production company, said: “I have access to my own community, and can relate to cultural experiences within that community. That’s what gives me the creative edge.”

The panel also discussed the moment where they realised they were a creative person. “A friend called my tics a language-creating machine, and that not doing something with it would be a waste,” said Jess. “My Tourette’s gives me access to some spontaneous forms of creativity I wouldn’t otherwise have access to.”

Kez Margrie, who is on the indie commissioning team for factual formats for CBBC, debated the role that children’s media has to play in creating a more inclusive society. “Do we show children the world as it is, or the world as we want it to be? I think we need to reach a happy medium.”

The issue of organisations having inclusivity quotas was also raised. “I think things should be recorded, so we know where we’re at,” said Oli. Kez agreed: “Sometimes we have to be forced to do something, in order to see that it’s the way forward. If quotas are the way to do that, then bring them on!”

The session concluded with some words of encouragement from the panel, about the crucial role that children’s media has to play in reflecting the diversity of the real world: “Everyone who works in children’s media has an amazing opportunity to build a more inclusive society.”

Event Reports Ashley Kendall CMC CMC 2016 Inclusive Society inclusivity Jess Thom Kez Margrie Oli Hyatt

Jessica Thornsby

About the author

Jessica Thornsby

Can Studios, Technical Writer

Jessica Thornsby studied Creative Writing at the University of Bolton. She has a background in technical writing and reporting, music journalism, and digital marketing. She is the co-author of O’Reilly Media’s iWork: The Missing Manual. She works as a technical writer at Can Studios, an award-winning team of developers, designers… Read more