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The Children’s Media Symposium brings together two related ways of knowing about children’s media by showcasing both academic and industry/practitioner perspectives.

Whether you are a scholar, a creator of children’s media, an educator, or an interested member of the general public, the Children’s Media Symposium will offer a rich, holistic snapshot of the changing children’s mediascape.

Day 1: Friday 24 November 

Time Event
8.15am Registration
9am Welcome to Country
  Opening remarks, presented by Dr Anna Potter, ARC DECRA Fellow, USC
  Plenary, presented by Kim Dalton, former Head of Television ABC 
11am Morning tea
11.30am Parallel Sessions 1
1pm Lunch
2pm Parallel Sessions 2
3.30pm Afternoon tea
4pm Parallel Sessions 3



Conference Opening Celebration


Kim Dalton Plenary

Kim Dalton

Many of the landmark achievements of recent Australian television were initiated by Kim Dalton. During his seven year tenure as Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) Head of Television (2006–2013), Dalton oversaw the ABC’s return to leadership in Australian drama (The Slap, Paper Giants, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, Rake, Jack Irish) including indigenous drama (Redfern Now and Mabo), the introduction of ABC News 24 and Q&A. Having overseen the rollout of ABC’s online catch-up service iView, the introduction of dedicated children’s

Day 2: Saturday 25 November 

Time Event
8am Registrations continue
9am In Conversation: Gary Crew and Shaun Tan
10.30am Morning tea

Apps and Agency: How Children are Using Tech to Consume Media

The latest research on children's use of technology and media


No Fake News Here: Producing News and Current Affairs for Children

The latest research about news services made especially for children

12.30pm Lunch

Telling Australian Stories: Why Local Matters

Jenny Buckland, CEO of the Australian Children's Television Foundation, showcases some of the very best of Australian children's television past and present


The Making of Bottersnikes and Gumbles - Netflix's First Global Kids' Commission

David Webster, Creative Director, Cheeky Little Media 


Producing Australian Animation Today

Meg O'Connell, Producer, Ludo Studio

Nadine Bates, Creative Director, Like a Photon production company

Tim Brooke-Hunt, Former Executive Head of Children's Content for ABC TV

Glenn Stewart, Director / Film Maker, Mindscape Films

4pm Afternoon tea


Thunderbirds Are Go: Rebooting a Cult Classic for Contemporary Audiences

Producers Stuart McAra and Lisa Chatfield from Pukeko Pictures take you inside the production process for the new CGI-animated series Thunderbirds Are Go

7.30pm Conference Dinner


In Conversation: Gary Crew and Shaun Tan 

Gary Crew (Keynote)

One of Australia's most awarded authors for children and young adults, Gary Crew has won the Children's Book Council Book of the Year four times—twice for his young adult novels and twice for his illustrated books. His works include The Watertower 1995), Strange Objects (2000), and Memorial with Shaun Tan (2000). A Sunshine Coast local, Crew is Professor of Creative Writing at the University of the Sunshine Coast. He inaugurated both USC’s Bachelor of Creative Writing program and its Doctorate of Creative Arts (Creative Writing). As Crew’s iconic The Watertower is currently being made into a film, through his combination of academic and creative prowess in children’s media, Crew embodies the CMS’s goal of bringing scholarship and practice in children’s media into dialogue.

Shaun Tan (Keynote)

An Oscar-winning Australian artist, illustrator, writer, and filmmaker, Tan is one of Australia’s most successful cultural exports of recent times. Raised in Western Australia and based in Melbourne, Tan is most well known for his children’s books The Lost Thing (2000), The Red Tree (2001), and the wordless classic The Arrival. Tan won the Academy Award for his animated short film adaptation of The Lost Thing. With a practice spanning from graphic literature to set design and Disney Pixar animated feature film concept art (WALL-E, 2008), Tan’s work reflects our inaugural theme: From Print to Screen.

Producing Netflix’s First Global Kids’ Commission: the Making of Bottersnikes and Gumbles

David Webster

David is the Creative and Managing Director of animation production company Cheeky Little Media. He directed Netflix’s first children’s commission globally: Bottersnikes and Gumbles (2016–). His career in animation spans 25 years. He founded Ambience Entertainment in 1991, successfully producing and directing several animated productions, most notably the long-­running television series Erky Perky (Seven Network, 2006–2009).

Producing Australian Animation Now

Meg O’Connell

Meg is Producer/Production Manager at Brisbane’s Ludo Studio. She produced two seasons of the International Emmy Award-winning (Kids’ Digital) series Doodles (ABC ME 2015–2017). Meg also produced the Allen & Unwin kid's activity book for Doodles. At Ludo she has also produced The Sketchy Show (Cartoon Network, 2016) and Cavemen (Cartoon Network, 2017). Prior to Ludo, Meg held positions as Production Manager and Production Coordinator at WildBear Entertainment, working on documentaries for Foxtel and Discovery Channel.

Nadine Bates

Nadine is the Creative Director of Brisbane production company Like A Photon. She recently contributing content to the 45–47th seasons of Sesame Street and produced several new series, including the original animation series Balloon Barnyard for Disney Australia. She has previously held roles as Vice President of Development and Production at Screen Queensland, as a screenwriter for children’s TV at Network Ten, and as Creative Director of independent children's publishing company Hootenanny Books.

Tim Brooke-Hunt

Tim is the Former Executive Head of Children’s Content and Controller of Children’s Content for ABC TV. In his six years as the Head of Children's at ABC TV he was responsible for establishing ABC ME, the digital channel for school-agers, and relaunching the ABC4Kids channel for pre-schoolers. Tim has held senior positions with Australian production companies Beyond International and The Yoram Gross Film Studio (now Flying Bark), and before this was Producer for Burbank Films of thirteen animated specials for international video & television. He is a founding member of the Board of the Asian Animation Summit and works as a consultant on children’s animation projects.

Glenn Stewart

Glenn Stewart is an award-winning film and commercials director. His first foray into filmmaking was at age 19 with the short film “For Every Year” (2004), which was a top 16 finalist at that year’s Tropfest and ultimately went on to win Best Cinematography. His most recent and successful film was The Red Valentine (2012), an Australian noir inspired short that screened at multiple festivals worldwide and also went on to win a number of awards. Currently, he’s in pre-production on his most ambitious short film yet — an adaptation of Gary Crew’s and Steven Woolman’s The Watertower.

Thunderbirds are Go: Rebooting a Kids’ Classic for Contemporary Audiences

Stuart McAra

Stuart is Pukeko Pictures’ Producer for Thunderbirds Are Go, the CGI reboot of the classic 1960s British action-adventure series. He has had an extensive career in the film and television industry. Prior to his position at Pukeko he was Visual Effects Supervising Producer at LucasFilm Animation in Singapore and worked on AvengersIron Man 2 and Transformers 3. He was also employed by Sony Pictures as a Visual Effects Producer on Legends of Zorro and Double Negative and was also Director of Visual Effects for Harry PotterAtonement and 10,000BC. Early in his career he worked on visual effects for the multiple Academy Award winning feature Braveheart.

Lisa Chatfield

Lisa is the Head of Scripted Development at Pukeko Pictures. She is responsible for the company’s developmental slate and current content in production. She joined Pukeko Pictures from the New Zealand Film Commission where she was the Head of Development and Production. With a 25-year career in television and film as well as experience on short films and TV commercials, she has worked across development and production on the domestic and international slates of Working Title Australia, NHNZ and Eyeworks NZ. Early in her career, she was a Runner on the Oscar nominated feature, Heavenly Creatures.

Telling Australian Stories: Why Local Content Matters

Jenny Buckland (Keynote)

Appointed as CEO of the Australian Children’s Television Foundation in 2002, Jenny Buckland has played a key role in positioning the ACTF as a national children's media and policy hub, and growing the business to become one of the most successful international marketers of children's television programs. It was Jenny who originally floated the proposal for an Australian children's digital television channel, which culminated in the establishment of ABC ME in 2009. Formerly the General Manager and Marketing Manager of the ACTF, Jenny has extensive experience in television distribution, business, financial and legal affairs. Buckland offers invaluable perspective on children’s television both domestically and internationally from her vantage as the head of a national organisation that at once produces, advocates for, and develops policy around children’s television.

Michael Carrington

Michael is the Head of Children’s and Education for ABC Television. He is a multi award-winning media executive with more than 20 years’ experience in the children’s television industry, from production and program acquisition roles to channel management and content commissioning. Before his ABC role he was Chief Executive Officer of Zodiak Kids Studios, working in London and Paris, where he was responsible for the company’s international program portfolio of live-action and animation productions. Prior to this, Michael’s roles included Vice President, Global Content & Executive Producer – HIT Entertainment Ltd; Chief Content Officer, Cartoon Network; Channel Controller, CBeebies – BBC; as well as various roles at LEGO Media, Discovery Communications, Amazon Films and Network Ten.

Day 3: Sunday 26 November 

Time Event
8am Registrations continue

Public Screening: ABCME's new live action drama Mustang F.C.

With stars Molly Broadstock and Emmanuelle Mattana

11am Morning tea

Closing Plenary: The Future of Australian Drama

Amanda Higgs and Rachel Davis


Public screening: ABCME’s new live action drama Mustangs F.C.

Emmanuelle Mattana

Emmanuelle is a star of Mustangs F.C. forthcoming on ABC ME. She plays Marnie on the show.

Molly Broadstock

Molly is a star of Mustangs F.C. forthcoming on ABC ME. She plays Bella on the show.

Closing Plenary: The Future of Australian Drama

Amanda Higgs

Amanda is the Co-Producer of the forthcoming children’s drama Mustangs F.C. on ABC ME. She was the co-creator of The Secret Life of Us, producing its first three series. She is an executive producer of drama at the ABC. Amanda’s other credits include producing The Time of Our Lives (ABC, 2013–2014) and script-editing Water Rats (Nine Network, 1996–2001). She also worked on the classic Australian feature Strictly Ballroom.

Rachel Davis

Rachel is the Co-Producer of the forthcoming children’s drama Mustangs F.C. on ABC ME. She has more than 15 years of experience producing children’s drama in Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. She was the Associate Producer of Starstreet (ITV, 2001–2002), the Executive Producer of what was, at the time, the biggest drama series to be filmed in Northern Ireland: Bel’s Boys (ITV, 2006), was Producer of Paradise Café (CBBC, TV2, 2009), and the Script Producer of Worst Year of my Life, Again! (ABC ME, CBBC, 2014).

The 2017 Children’s Media Symposium is proudly sponsored by the Australian Children's Television Foundation and USC’s Arts Research in Creative Humanities (ARCH).

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