The University of Newcastle, Australia

Disruption delivers innovation: Lessons from the imaginative and creative dirtgirl

Friday, 21 March 2014

A woman who created an Emmy-award winning television show from a farm in northern New South Wales, and who describes herself as 'a bit odd', will share with a Newcastle audience her passion and energy for doing things differently.

DirtGirlWorld_WidgetCate McQuillen is the creator of dirtgirlworld, a show aimed at four to seven-year-olds that encourages them to 'get outside and get grubby'.

Ms McQuillen will speak at the University of Newcastle's second Disruptive Innovation Works lecture on Thursday 27 March at The Conservatorium in Newcastle city.  

"dirtgirl is a gumboot-wearing girl who grows awesome tomatoes, knows cloud names and drives a big orange tractor," Ms McQuillen said.

"dirtgirl's backyard is full of friends - scrapboy, her best friend, who's a whiz with junk; grubby with her grub's eye view; ken the weevil, a super stunt star with a healthy fear of heights; roger the rooster and the chicks; hayman, the monosyllabic scarecrow; and the greenthumbs, real kids in real gardens having unreal fun.

"Essentially, dirtgirlworld is a celebration of life outside. It's a place of bizarre insects, underground tunnels, vaudevillian-trained chickens and performing stunt bugs.

"Together with my creative team, I'm helping a generation of planet-loving children to make fun of climate change and all things sustainable, reconnect with the rest of nature and truly understand the role they play in this awesome web of life."

The creatively-driven producer is one half of mememe productions, which created dirtgirlworld in 2009. Since then the show has been broadcast in 128 countries, translated into many languages and has manifested as songs, books, apps, interactive websites and a branded garbage service with dirtgirlworld garbage trucks.

"I live in a wifi-challenged dot on the map in rural Australia. But dirtgirlworld's success is proof positive that where you live has nothing to do with how much disruption you can cause," Ms McQuillen said.

In 2013, dirtgirlworld received the Interactive Producer of the Year Award at the 2013 Screen Producers Australia Awards.  The show also took out the Digital Emmy award in the children and young people category. It had previously won the award for Best Children's Animated Series at the Australian Film Institute Awards, been nominated for a BAFTA and the JAPAN prize, and the song 'Every little drop' was awarded the best kids song in the world at the 2012 International Songwriting Competition.

Cate McQuillen will present 'Little big noise: Disruption from the middle of nowhere' as part of the Disruptive Innovation Works Public Lecture Series on Thursday 27 March from 6.30pm at The Conservatorium, Newcastle. Media welcome.

Register online or phone +612 4921 7454.

  • Jessica Sullivan
  • Phone: +612 4985 4171

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