Preview – Don’t mention the C word!

Posted on: Thursday 27 June 2019 9:01pm by Putul Verma

Wednesday 3rd July 2019, 15:40 – 16:40

Showroom Cinema 2

We need to talk about class.

Our young audiences from working class backgrounds have a huge amount of choice in what they watch, play, read and listen to.  And if what we make doesn’t speak to them, they will move on.  Box ticking and tokenism, lazy stereotyping,  casual diminishing of the things that are important to them, assumptions about their aspirations and values based on where they live, their education level, their accent and their perceived lack of money – these are just some of the things that turn these young people off content supposedly aimed at them.

This session looks at whether getting more people from working class backgrounds into the media industry is a route to creating content that engages these audiences. But, if it is, how welcoming is the media industry to people from working class backgrounds? The answer appears to be no. And by not addressing the barriers, we could be losing a vital resource, helping us to create authentic content that will appeal to our audiences.

The panel is drawn from across the industry, and all have first hand experience of not coming through “traditional” routes into the industry. They have also all taken steps within their fields to improve access for people from diverse and working class backgrounds.  Gregory Boardman of Three Stones Media made ‘Apple Tree House’ for CBeebies, implementing among other things, a process to provide a way for scripts from new working class writers to be used.  Natasha Carthew is an author who has written extensively about inclusion of working class themes and characters in Young Adult fiction and is planning a touring working class writers’ festival next year.  Shajan Miah is a BBC sports journalist who has set up Journalism Club, to bring journalism skills into the classroom.  And Becky Bainbridge is the director of programmes of Reclaim, a Manchester charity set up to improve the future of young people from working class backgrounds.

Each person on the panel has been challenged to come up with one or two small things we can all take away and do in our own workplaces to start making changes.

So, what are the barriers for working class people entering the media industry?  And what can we do to make things better? Come to Cinema 2 to find out.

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Putul Verma

About the author

Putul Verma

BBC Children's, Executive Producer

Putul is an Executive Producer at BBC Children’s for factual entertainment in CBBC and CBeebies overseeing amongst others 'Marrying Mum and Dad', 'The CBeebies Ballet' and 'CBeebies Proms', 'Amazing Machines', 'The Let’s Go Club' and 'Pocket Money Pitch'. She has worked across the industry on factual entertainment titles including 'The… Read more