Preview: Inclusivity Now – The Road To MixMups and Beyond
Rebecca Atkinson explains what lies behind her CMC Inclusivity Now video and describes the (bumpy) road to ‘MixMups’
The Children’s Media Conference Facebook Group Chat – Inclusivity Now offers the opportunity for delegates to comment, ask questions and discuss the content of all the Inclusivity Now strand at CMC.
‘MixMups’? What is this show, where did it come from and why is it smashing the mould? As part of CMC 2020 ‘Inclusivity Now’, I’ll be sharing my story as the Creator and Executive Producer of ‘MixMups’, a pre-school stop-motion animation and toy brand about three little friends and a magic mixable fancy dress box. The show features disabled lead characters and is the first disabled-led brand to authentically represent disabled children in a magical celebratory way.
‘MixMups’ is currently in production with McKinnon and Saunders and Raydar Media, but the road to ‘MixMups’, began many years ago.
For the last 24 years I have worked across TV, print and online and as someone who is both hearing and sight impaired, there have been many barriers and bumps along this road.
At the age of 17 I worked in a poster shop where I was told never to use my hearing loss as an excuse for laziness. At the age of 18 I was told not to enter a career in TV because of my disability. At 20, I joined the BBC on a production traineeship for disabled people. During this time I sat in the bar at Television Centre the then producer of Panorama made jokes about my deafness to my face. He was 50. I was 21. I tell you this not for sympathy, but to show you that those barriers and bumps were and continue to be real for disabled people within the industry.
As the Creator and Executive Producer of ‘MixMups’ I believe that if we want to change disability (and other historically marginalised narratives), on and off screen for the long term, we need to urgently change the structures of the industry.
If the Covid19 crisis has taught us anything, it’s that change IS possible. The status quo isn’t fixed. Remote CMCs are possible. Zoom conferences are possible. Home schooling is possible. Making the ‘MixMups’ animatic from home is possible (just!). Changing the industry to make it more inclusive IS possible. But it requires flexibility and creative thinking to be taken to a whole new level. In the words of the ‘MixMups’, ‘There is always another way.”
Join Changemaker Lucy Edwards, Rebecca Atkinson from ToyLikeMe, Jessi Parrot from Inclusive Minds and Gareth Deighan from ITV SignPosts’ ‘Daremaster’ between 3 and 4pm BST on Wednesday 8 July in the CMC Facebook Group, to chat about normalising disability. Post your questions beforehand or come in live at 3pm (between SVODs Commissioner Conversation and Cressida Cowell’s Creative Keynote). Why not watch their films first?