Recently, with support from the Joan Ganz Cooney Center, the Kids’ Inclusive and Diverse Media Action Project (KIDMAP) relaunched the former Diversity in Apps podcast under a new name: “Diversity Sauce.” Twice a month on Diversity Sauce, we discuss the latest on diversity and inclusion, and interview key players in the children’s media space.
Why “Diversity Sauce”? The name was inspired by one of our founding members (and a previous guest on the podcast), Dr. Kevin Clark, director of George Mason University’s Center for Digital Media Innovation and Diversity.
At a panel KIDMAP hosted in the fall of 2015, Kevin explained how he is often asked to consult on children’s media products at the end of their creation process to “sprinkle on some diversity sauce”—an ineffective approach compared to baking diversity into every stage of development. The phrase stuck with my co-host Amy Kraft and I, both as we helped shape the framework for the Diverse and Inclusive Growth (DIG) Toolkit and when we saw how some companies clunkily try to add “diversity sauce” at the end of a process.
When Kevin was a guest on our podcast, he talked about the improvements he had seen from companies over the past 10 years, and discussed the work that still needed to be done. Here’s an excerpt from our conversation:
“[Creating diverse and inclusive media] is not a one-off thing. This is not about ‘bring Kevin in. He’ll do a diversity workshop and it will all be better.’ It doesn’t work that way. And typically when companies approach me and want me to do that, I’ll say no. And I’ll tell them why.
I say, ‘Look, I don’t think this is going to work for your organization, especially with what you’re trying to do.’ The groups that I do work with understand that this is a long-term commitment. The challenge that I do see, though, is that I try and get companies to recognize that diversity is as important as the content areas that they oftentimes plan for.”
Over the past year, Amy and I have also been able to talk to researchers like Vikki Katz focused on the need for diverse and inclusive children’s media, as well as companies like PBS and I Am Elemental who have made diversity a core tenet of their work. One of our episodes with guest Raul Gutierrez, CEO of TinyBop, was recently featured on the App Fairy podcast.
When it came time to rebrand Diversity in Apps to KIDMAP and rename our podcast, “Diversity Sauce” felt like the perfect fit. The podcast gives Amy and me a forum to banter about topics we care deeply about, and more importantly, it’s an outlet for people to share the great work they are doing in this area. With over 34 episodes under our belt, it’s been an inspiring and fun process, as well an ongoing reminder of the work KIDMAP and so many others are doing to ensure that Diversity Sauce is baked—not just sprinkled—into every children’s media product in development.
If you (or someone you know) are interested in being a guest on our podcast, drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org. Subscribe to the Diversity Sauce podcast on iTunes or Soundcloud. To learn more about our work, visit joinkidmap.org
Kabir Seth is a writer and creator of digital apps for children, including the Ramayana app and Storied Myth. Kabir is also a founding member of KIDMAP, a grassroots organization created to raise awareness and engage in research about the need for inclusive, equitable, and diverse children’s media. Follow @joinKIDMAP and @kdawg2332 on Twitter.