SUMMIT 2000: Children, Youth and the Media--Beyond the Millennium
Taking place May 13 - 17, 2000, in Toronto, Canada, Summit 2000 will draw some 1,500 delegates from around the world -- professionals involved in the production and distribution of screen-based media: television, films, and computer software -- for children and youth, and those involved in media education.
The conference program, now in development, will focus on three content pillars:
programming and production
distribution and access
|With keynote speakers in plenary sessions and up to 100 workshops, panel discussions
and presentations each day, participants will turn the South Building of the Metro Toronto
Convention Centre into a living laboratory where new solutions to the challenges facing
screen-based media for young viewers can be developed by those who create, produce,
distribute, and teach media around the world.
|Aboriginal media and their role in the reinforcement and protection of indigenous
cultures will be the focus of an information stream running through the three content
pillars noted above. Summit organizers have committed to bring together members of
indigenous, minority communities from the Americas, New Zealand, and Australia to share
solutions to the problems that confront them all.
|The endemic underfunding of children's and youth programming, limits on distribution,
opportunities for cross-over between media, the impact of globalization, and of new,
interactive media, marketing, issues in media education, problems with regulation and
political positioning, copyright and merchandising are only a few of the topics that will
come under the microscope.
Simultaneously, the summit will provide an opportunity for presentation of media research and academic investigation of issues related to children, youth, and various aspects of screen-based media. Time is also being reserved for informal discussion and meetings. There will be simultaneous translation of plenary sessions into French, Spanish, and English.
|Summit 2000 is being coordinated by the Alliance for Children and Television, the
Jesuit Communication Project, the American Center for Children and Media, and the
Association for Media Literacy. It will be developed with guidance from a Steering
Committee whose members are drawn from Canada, Central and South America, Australasia, the
CARICOM countries, Africa, Asia, the USA, and Europe.
The idea for Summit 2000 was born in Melbourne in March,1995, during the First World Summit on Television and Children hosted by the Australian Children's Television Foundation. Canada's Alliance for Children and Television (ACT) was approached by a number of delegates with a specific request. Would the Alliance, they asked, consider organizing a conference on children and television a few years hence in which programmers and producers from developing nations could meet colleagues from Europe and America?
Funding for domestic production, barriers to access, production quality, competition for viewers, access to the international marketplace were among the challenges they cited and all rang a familiar note with Canadians working in the field of children's television. So the answer was an enthusiastic "Yes."
The American Center for Children's Television (now known as the American Center for Children and Media) volunteered to become a partner in organizing the event, and a press release issued in Melbourne on March 16, 1995, commented that:
|In the few years since Melbourne, there has been considerable development of the
telecast environment: new broadcast and cable channels, new DBS services, new programs and
series for children of all ages. To an increasing degree they must now compete with
CD-ROM, video, and computer games and the Internet for the attention of young viewers, and
for the financial and creative resources that make quality programming possible. But in
other parts of the world, there are still few resources to provide programming of any kind
and, in these cases, the gap between those with access and those without is widening
As the media environment of young people has become more complex, the importance of media education has been recognized around the world. With a paucity of resources, teachers and parents are confronting their responsibility to help children and youth navigate through and get the best from the various programming elements available to them.
During the last decade there has been little interaction between those who make and those who teach media. In 1997, the Jesuit Communication Project and the Association for Media Literacy became partners in the conference and, as a result, Summit 2000 will be the first-ever opportunity for media educators from all parts of the world to rub shoulders with the people who produce, distribute and deliver the programs young people everywhere are watching.
Join us in Toronto, May 13 - 17, 2000 for
CHILDREN, YOUTH & THE MEDIA: Beyond the Millennium