This Report consolidates findings and recommendations from the three briefings on workshops in Manchester, Copenhagen, and Munich. It aims to encourage continued dialogue among Arab and European stakeholders after the project’s completion.
At the heart of the project were three workshops held during 2017-2018 in Salford, UK, Copenhagen, Denmark, and Munich, Germany. In total, these brought together more than 100 people working in various aspects of children’s media: production, distribution, non-governmental organisations and academe. Arab practitioners taking part were born in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and Syria. Some were themselves refugees, now living in Denmark, Germany and the United Arab Emirates.
The first workshop was attached to the Children’s Global Media Summit (CGMS), hosted by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in Salford/Manchester in December 2017. The workshop, taking place on 4 December, focused mainly on English-language content. Discussion topics were guided by themes featuring in the CGMS itself, notably ‘empowerment’, ‘freedom’, ‘education’ and ‘entertainment’. The two project partners helping to support this event were BBC Children’s and the Public Media Alliance.
The second workshop took place across two mornings at the Danish Film Institute (DFI) on 19 and 20 March 2018 as part of the Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival, CPH: DOX. In line with the documentary focus, it explored mostly factual formats and we followed two themes chosen by the CPH:DOX Children and Youth section, namely ‘escaping’ (på flugt) and ‘democracy’ (demokrati). Our project partner, BBC Media Action, contributed to this event.
The third workshop, in Munich on 24 May 2018, was hosted by our project partner, the International Central Institute for Youth and Educational Television (IZI) on the premises of Bayerischer Rundfunk (BR) and under the umbrella of the biennial Prix Jeunesse International festival of children’s screen content. In keeping with the 2018 Prix Jeunesse theme of ‘Strong Stories for Strong Children’, the workshop explored treatments of migration and diversity in mainly fictional storytelling genres.
The project assessed a range of content for children up to 12 years old, an age group often neglected in studies of media and migration. Assisted by CPH:DOX and IZI, we collated a sample of 36 films and TV shows from Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Serbia, Slovenia, Switzerland, and the UK, as well as Canada, the US and Malaysia/Yemen, which have been shown in Europe. The UK selection also included some family viewing. Five shows were aimed at pre-schoolers and six comprised animation.
Genres ranged through drama, reality storytelling, documentaries, news and ‘infotainment’, where educational TV is merged with entertainment. Factual programming, including news, made up the majority of what we showed at the workshops, 16 shows in total. We also showed clips from eight fiction programmes, including series, comedy drama and one-off shows (see Appendix). Live action drama for children is rare, because it is difficult to fund and sell internationally, and even rarer when it includes minority groups because of casting challenges (see Section 6.1).