The 'How to' webinar series
In 2020, the National Maritime Museum launched a new strand of programming for parents and carers. The resulting programme aims to support parents and carers by acting as a useful resource, directing adults to specific resources and creating a toolkit of ideas that they can take away and use to inspire their family.
The 'How to' webinar series is a programme of online panel talks that delve into universal themes and topics that the Museum can support, and provokes discussion about topics that parents and carers want to find out more about. In these sessions, the Museum hosts speakers with expertise and lived experience of the central topic. At each session, the panel discuss a range of points relating to the topic, before answering questions from the audience.
Here, you can find resources and top tips that have arisen during previous webinars.
How to talk to children about race and racism
In this webinar, the panel discussed how to approach talking to children about race and racism and the tools that can be used to support this conversation, from Museums to magazines. The National Maritime Museum and the Family Learning Programme work to create space and activities that represent a range of communities and experiences. As a maritime collection, the objects and themes related to the collection are global. The Museum can facilitate conversations that encompass the multiple perspectives and celebrate the contributions of many cultures to British maritime history.
With this context, and the lived experiences of both speakers, the webinar highlighted discussions around whose responsibility it is to have these conversations and whether children can be powerful anti-racist advocates. From this discussion, a set of top tips and useful resources for parents and carers to refer to has been created here.
Serlina Boyd: The creator and publisher of Cocoa Girl magazine. Beginning as a book, and soon becoming a bi-monthly magazine, Cocoa Girl aimed to address the lack of representation of black girls and women in the media. With 11,000 copies selling this summer, the magazine provides black role models and wants to show all children that they can do anything.
Tatiana Ellis: a mum of two children living in the London Borough of Greenwich. Tatiana is active within her community and is an established performing arts specialist and fitness professional. She is also the author of Melodies of a Ghetto Princess. Tatiana works with the National Maritime Museum’s Schools programme, supporting the development and delivery of black history sessions.
Ensure that the books children read, the television they watch, etc, have diverse characters and that these characters are represented positively, with their stories not always centred around race.
Expose children to different cultural opportunities and talk about these with them.
Seek out diverse role models, including from history. Find their stories in Museums, books, television and engage children with them.
Keep communication channels open, ensuring children know that they can talk to you about any encounters they have with racism.
Communicate honestly with other parents/carers, teachers, youth group leaders, etc.
Give yourself and your child permission to leave a toxic conversation or environment. Self-care is most important.
How to empower children – avoiding gender stereotyping in childhood
In this webinar, the panel discussed how gender stereotyping in childhood impacts children. The Maritime world has historically been a male-dominated space, and although it may not have been truly a ‘straight’ and male space, it has certainly been portrayed that way.
The museum is a place for discussion and debate. It is a place to share the stories of individuals that have broken down gender boundaries and defied gender stereotypes to achieve their ambitions at sea, demonstrating that there are no male and female spaces.
We are on a continuing journey to provide role models, ensuring children see a diverse range of identities connected to a variety of roles. From AHOY, a children’s gallery for under 5s, to events such as Out at Sea, the Museum works to create spaces and activities that empower children to engage with Maritime history no matter their gender identity, empowering children to find their own journey.
The speakers discussed how gender stereotyping can impact mental health, aspirations, relationships and sense of self. The tips and resources below are a collection of suggestions from the webinar.
Olivia Dickinson: A digital consultant for children's media. As a key member of the Let Toys Be Toys campaign since 2014, she's built up knowledge and expertise in how to challenge gender stereotypes in childhood and education.
Let Toys Be Toys has been campaigning since 2012 to challenge gender stereotypes in childhood. The campaign is asking the toy and publishing industries to stop limiting children’s interests by promoting some toys and books as only suitable for girls, and others only for boys. It has persuaded most major UK toy retailers to drop ‘girls’ and ‘boys’ signs in store and online to let children have the freedom to choose what they want to play with, free from gender stereotypes. Eleven children’s UK book publishers have also agreed to 'Let Books Be Books'.
Jen Powell is a London based performance artist who has performed as their Drag King alter ego Adam All for the past 12 years leading a wide spread revival of the art form in the UK. Jen is also a non-binary person who uses their platform to talk openly about their journey to self discovery and joined the panel on the controversial Channel 4 live 'debate' Genderquake in 2018. Jen's work centres around deconstructing the rigid and restrictive forces of societal stereotyping for all genders and exposing how a misogynistic attitude towards sex and power holds no benefits for anyone long term.
Call out toy companies, book publishers, clothing companies, where you see them limiting children's options by gendering them.
Think about the language you use when talking to children. Try not to comment on a girl's appearance where you wouldn't for a boy.
Don't place power with one specific gender. Let everyone try everything and follow their interests.
Don't be afraid to discuss gender with children and to have an honest conversation about gender in the television they watch, the books they read, etc.
Check out the poster 'Let Toys be Toys: 20 tips for raising children without gender stereotyping'
The Gender Agenda: A First-Hand Account of How Girls and Boys Are Treated Differently by James Millar and Ros Ball. Follow them on Twitter @GenderDiary