Girls Animate!

Last Friday, 11/15, I led a break-out session at the University of Maryland System Women's Forum Conference at Towson University.  I talked about projects I have led to empower girls through technology and arts integration.  I spoke about my own background and showed examples of the surge of interest in girls as a vital members of culture and society. 

Here are some links to my projects:

Memory Tricks! (2012)

Girls of the World (2006)

Here is a description of my presentation: 

This presentation describes Lynn Tomlinson’s collaborative animation projects designed to empower and engage girls. In Girls of the World, five fifth-grade girls created short films about a girl in history who made a mark on the world. In Memory Tricks, eight girls were paired with eight women in college studying animation, who served as mentors enabling the girls to animate mnemonic devices, bringing their ideas to life using technology. They animated mnemonic devices: the girls have dyslexia, and visualization helps them remember things. The girls are creative directors, using digital technology to make their creations move, speak, and come to life, reaching others with their animated messages. The Geena Davis institute on Gender in Media researches the ways that girls are underserved and underrepresented in the media. What accounts for this lack of strong girl role models? The number of women in leadership roles in the entertainment industry corresponds with the low numbers of women and girls represented. Animation, often aimed at children, is particularly important to address. Tomlinson’s projects give girls the skills to create media, the recognition that their voice is important and valued, and perhaps plants a seed that girls can become creative creators of culture. How can women have it all? How can our stories become a vital part of culture? By starting young, enabling girls to become creators of culture, and encouraging girls and women to find the tools to tell women's stories to the world. My topic describes creative projects aimed at engaging fifth-grade girls with technology, using animation, storytelling, and tactile art processes. Fifth-grade is an important age, a turning point when girls often turn away from technology. In addition to describing these projects, my presentation will discuss other research and projects currently addressing the roles of girls in the media, specifically animation. My presentation discusses two animation projects, the first in 2005 and the second in 2012, and describes changes between these two times, particularly changes in the ability of girls' voices to reach wide audiences through the internet and online media. I draw on current research from the Geena Davis institute and other sources working for girls rights, like the U.N. Working Group on Girls. I will also discuss Girls Studies as an emerging field. I will screen examples of the girls animations, which are very engaging. I will also lead attendees in the creation a simple storyboard exercise to create their own idea for an animation spot relating to girls rights. My information is based on research conducted as part of these collaborative creative projects, and interviews with the participants. For example, as part of the presentation, I interview girls who participated in the project in 2005 who are now young women in college, about the impact that the project has had on their lives. I also have read and will present contextual research, from the U.N. Working Group on Girls, the Geena Davis Institute, and Girls Studies Scholars Group.