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The 2017 Children’s Media Symposium brings together researchers, creative practitioners, educators and industry to showcase the global children’s media landscape, and how media can help kids make sense of a changing world.

Anyone with an interest in children’s media, screen production and animation is invited to attend and add their voice to the conversation.

Day 1 

Academics, researchers and educators will share the latest insights into the complex relationships between children and the media.

Day 2 

Join leading Australian authors, creatives and industry voices for a series of conversations and case studies on the changing children’s media landscape. You’ll also hear award-winning Australia children’s author Gary Crew and illustrator Shaun Tan in conversation discussing storytelling, art, and their creative collaborations.

Day 3 

Girls kicking goals - with Sunshine Coast Lightning’s Caitlin Bassett and the stars of ABC ME’s new show Mustangs FC

Join us for an exclusive screening of ABC ME’s new series Mustangs FC, about a group of girls who abandon the sidelines to start their football club’s first all-girl team.

Stars Emmanuelle Mattana (Marnie) and Molly Broadstock (Bella) will be joined by Sunshine Coast Lightning player Caitlin Bassett for a Q&A about the importance of telling young women’s stories, and how children’s media can help promote strong female role models in sport.

This free community event is part of the 2017 Children’s Media Symposium, hosted by USC.

Day 1: Friday 24 November 

Time Event
8.15am Registration - Outside Lecture theatre 3
9am Lecture theatre 3
  Welcome to Country
  Opening of Conference - Executive Dean Professor Joanne Scott
  Opening Remarks - Dr Anna Potter, ARC DECRA Fellow, USC
  Keynote - Kim Dalton ‘Safeguarding Australian Children’s Storytelling: Policy, Public Service and Production’
11am Morning tea

Parallel Sessions 1

Lecture theatre 3 - Digital Regimes: Transmedia Storytelling

Lecture theatre 4 - Where the Wild Things Are: Myth and Fantasy in Children's Media

Room H2:210 - The Way Things Are: Transformation and the Status Quo in Children's Media

1pm Lunch

Parallel Sessions 2

Lecture theatre 3 - A Child's Aesthetic? Traditions and Innovations in Children's Media Adaptation

Lecture theatre 4 - The Non-human in Children's Media Adaptation

Room H2:210 - Reasons Behind Craft: Drawing Readers into New Perspectives

3.30pm Afternoon tea

Parallel Sessions 3

Lecture theatre 3 - Not in Front of the Children: Pushing the Boundaries in Children's Media

Lecture theatre 4 - Educating Audiences



Conference Opening Celebration


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 channels ABC3 (now ABC ME) and ABC Kids, and as chair of the Asian Animation Summit, Dalton is uniquely well placed to offer insights on the digital, global future of children’s television.

Day 2: Saturday 25 November ​

Time Event
8am Registrations (outside Lecture Theatre 3)


Lecture Theatre 3

In Conversation: Gary Crew and Shaun Tan - 'Questioning the Culturally Trivial’

11am Morning tea (outside Lecture Theatre 3)


Lecture Theatre 3

Technology for Learning and Play

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

12.30pm Lunch (outside Lecture Theatre 3)


Lecture Theatre 3

Telling Australian Stories: Why Local Content 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


Lecture Theatre 3

Producing Netflix's First Global Kids' Show: the Making of Bottersnikes and Gumbles

David Webster, Creative Director, Cheeky Little Media 


Lecture Theatre 4

News for Kids, News by Kids

The latest research about news services made especially for children

3.30pm Afternoon tea (outside Lecture Theatre 3)

4.00 -5.30pm

Lecture Theatre 3

Thunderbirds Are Go: Rebooting a Kid's 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

4.00 -5.30pm

Lecture Theatre 4

In conversation: Producing Australian Television

Nadine Bates, Creative Director, Like a Photon production company

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

Michael Carrington, ABC TV

Joe Brumm, Studio JOHO / Ludo Studio

7.30pm Conference Dinner (for conference delegates only)


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.

Technology for Learning and Play

David Kleeman

Strategist, analyst, author, speaker, connector — David Kleeman has long led the children’s media industry in developing sustainable, kid-friendly practices. He began this work as president of the American Center for Children and Media and is now Senior VP of Global Trends for Dubit, a strategy/research consultancy and digital studio.

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.

Producing Netflix’s First Global Kids’ Show: 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).

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.

In Conversation: Producing Australian Television

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.

Joe Brumm

Joe Brumm is an experienced animator and director. He worked as an animator for 10 years in London on numerous children’s series including the BAFTA winning Charlie and Lola, before leading the animation team at Studio JOHO in Brisbane. Joe is now working with Emmy Award-winning Ludo Studio on an ABCME’s new show for pre-schoolers called Bluey.

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 Registration (outside Lecture theatre 1)

Lecture Theatre 1

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

With stars Molly Broadstock and Emmanuelle Mattana, hosted by Sunshine Coast Lightning's Caitlin Bassett

For conference delegates only:
11am Morning tea (outside Lecture theatre 3)

Lecture theatre 3

Closing Plenary: The Future of Australian Drama

Amanda Higgs, Rachel Davis, Jenny Buckland and Anna Potter


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 a creative producer with Matchbox Pictures. She produced the mini-series Barracuda based on the award-winning Christos Tsolkas’ novel, and the adaptation of Seven Types of Ambiguity starring Hugo Weaving, Alex Dimitriades and Susie Porter. Amanda co-created and produced the first three series of the Network Ten drama, The Secret Life of Us, which won three Logies for Most Outstanding Drama Series. She also co-created and produced two series of The Time of Our Lives for the ABC. Previously Amanda script edited The Slap, Executive Produced SLiDE for Fox8 and was an Executive Producer at ABC Drama in 2007 and Acting Head in 2009. In 2003 she was awarded the Cecil Holmes Award by the ADG for services to directors and is currently on the board of ScreenWest.

Rachel Davis

Rachel Davis is a highly experienced script executive and kids' TV producer, whose work has been recognised with Logie and AACTA nominations and shortlisted for the Prix Jeunesse. She has a track record in internationally successful series, both in creating, developing and producing new ideas and adapting and reinventing existing brands. She has worked with broadcasters, distributors and independent producers in the UK, New Zealand and Australia. Her credits include Bushwhacked, Worst Year of My Life...Again!, Paradise Cafe, The Story of Tracey Beaker and the S Club franchise. Previous roles have seen Rachel as CBBC’s head of drama development, script producer with the Australian Children’s Television Foundation, and a consultant executive producer for ABC3.

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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