Queer Children's Film and Television

deadline for submissions: 
September 18, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
Rachel Milne, University of Cambridge; Dr Abigail Jenkins, University of Glasgow

Queer Children’s Film and Television

Online One-Day Symposium, 17th November 2023 

Individual papers are welcomed for ‘Queer Children’s Film and Television,’ an online, one-day symposium to be held on 17th November 2023. The symposium explores depictions of queerness in children’s film and television, and the queerness of children’s films and TV. This symposium precedes an opportunity to contribute to a proposed edited collection, intended as a part of Edinburgh University Press’ new ‘Children’s Film and Television’ book series.

In bringing to mind anormative sexual practices, the term queer may initially appear divorced from the realm of childhood. However, related both to oddness and eccentricity, and to anormative genders and sexualities, the term queer is in fact often used to butt against normalising regimes more broadly. Counter to narratives of fear that inflect discourses around childhood and sexuality, children’s screen cultures routinely celebrate alterity and thus queerness, equating nonnormativity with pleasure and play and opposing dominant cultural perceptions of deviance. 

Several scholars from various disciplinary backgrounds have addressed the topic of queerness and childhood, from the famous works of Michel Foucault to more recent explorations such as Bruhm and Hurley’s polarizing Curiouser: On the Queerness of Children (2004), and Stockton’s The Queer Child, or Growing Sideways in the Twentieth Century (2009). In the field of Children’s Literature, queerness has become a recent topic of discussion, with ground-breaking texts such as Abate and Kidd’s Over the Rainbow: Queer Children’s and Young Adult Literature, and Tison Pugh’s Innocence, Heterosexuality, and the Queerness of Children’s Literature, both published in 2011. Much less attention has been paid to queerness in children’s film and TV, despite the clear alignments between the two. In showcasing emergent research in the field, this symposium aims to open up a discussion about queerness in children’s film and TV, facilitating crucial conversations around the ‘taboo’ relationships between queerness and childhood in relation to film and television studies and practice. 

The symposium will be interdisciplinary in nature, in line with the broad understandings of queerness, childhood, and, indeed, film and TV. Papers are welcomed from a range of different disciplinary and methodological backgrounds, and may be based in any geographical location or historical period. Papers from and about various global contexts are encouraged, alongside research that privileges intersectional topics. The conceptualisations of ‘queerness,’ ‘childhood,’ and ‘film’ remain very broad, as demonstrated in the suggested topics below. Notions of ‘the child’ may include other categories such as the tween, teen, and/or young adult. Possible topics for chapters might include, but are by no means limited to:


·      Representations of nonnormative sexualities in children’s film

·      Intersectionality: queerness and its relationship to other markers of identity (e.g., age, race, culture, disability, neurodiversity, class, wealth,…)

·      Representations of nonnormative gender expressions in children’s film

·      Queer models of kinship in children’s film

·      Queer time and/or space in children’s film

·      Geotemporality and expressions of queerness in children’s film

·      The queer potentiality of children’s film

·      Queer aesthetics and/or politics in children’s film

·      Children’s filmmaking and/as queer practice

·      Queer adaptations of children’s texts / texts for children

·      Queer children as film audiences

·      Film festivals and queer children’s film / children’s film festivals and queerness

·      Queer fandoms and children’s film

·      Queerness and the “kidult”


Please submit abstracts (of up to 250 words) and a short bio (of up to 100 words) by Monday, 18th September to queerchildrensfilmtv@gmail.com. Notifications of acceptance can be expected by the beginning of October 2023. We look forward to receiving your submissions! Please feel free to contact queerchildrensfilmtv@gmail.com with any questions about the event. You can also follow @queerkidsfilmtv on twitter to stay up to date with event information.