Stories with a conscience

We are Bright Little Labs, a children’s media company that makes educationally valuable, gender-neutral, and ethically sourced kids’ stuff like books, apps and games.

A note from Sophie

In cartoons, 0% of princesses are coders, boys are twice as likely to take the lead, 73% of characters have white Caucasian skin (compared to only 15% of people in the world!), and 92% of female characters are underweight. Plus, not one superhero recycles. That’s not right. There’s other crazy stuff going on too. Why is a tub of posh ice cream made in England more expensive than a new T-shirt made in China? It doesn’t make sense. Stories shape how we think about ourselves and the world. From the moment we pop out of the womb, we’re bombarded with subtle and not-so-subtle messages about our gender, race, sexuality and visibility. Currently, those stories show us that if you’re white and male, you’re more visible. They tell us that if you’re a girl you should be an air stewardess, not a pilot, and if you’re a boy you can’t like pink. That’s why I created the Children’s Intelligence Agency. Adults can be boring, and say stupid things about how nothing ever changes; they don’t always tell the truth, and sometimes they don’t even notice what’s going on... and they certainly don’t ask nearly enough questions. So I’m proud to be an OAA (Older Aged Agent) for the CIA. If anyone can get to the bottom of this nonsense and really make a change to this world, it’s kids.

How we started

It all kicked off in the summer of 2015. Our Detective Dot Kickstarter reached 30+ countries, and was featured in cool places like the Himalayan Times and the Guardian. We even got on the telly, and we spoke to the Norwegian Government. We’re now BGV alumni and fortunate to be mentored by lots of lovely people, including the Salesforce Foundation. Yasss!

Meet the team

A small team of British creatives, united by a passion for a fairer world and toilet humour. We include Nathan Hackett (who has a scarily encyclopaedic knowledge of cartoons and comics), John Thornton (who writes award-winning short films and takes comedies to the Edinburgh Fringe), Louise Kwa (best teacher in the world, or at least, Camden Town) and Anna Bowles (12 years in children’s publishing has made Anna v. talented and v. fed up of stereotypes). And last but the opposite of least, Anna Ryon, resident anthropologist, who looks after our community.

Sophie Deen, CEO

Sophie Deen, CEO

Computer Weekly's Rising Star + Top100 influencer in the British digital industry, Deen was a lawyer, techie and school counsellor, before introducing the coding curriculum with Code Club, Google and the Dept. for Education.

Paul Kirby, NED

Paul Kirby, NED

Former Head of Policy at 10 Downing Street, now a non-exec member of the Cabinet Office (fancy!) and visiting proff at the LSE (clever!). Importantly, Paul knows more about Sesame Street than anyone else on the planet.

Sharna Jackson, NED

Sharna Jackson, NED

Webby Award-winning, triple-BAFTA-nominated Sharna launched Tate Kids before working at Hopster + LostMyName. On the advisory committee for the Children's Media Conference and BAFTA kids, Sharna is a big kid.

Louise Bloom, NED

Louise Bloom, NED

Ex Olswang, Louise now lawyers for a leading international licensing team. Sophie and Lou first became friends aged 6 at a disco, so it’s pretty cool that Lou can now advise on more than the best dance moves.

Graham Brown-Martin, Innovation

Founder of Learning Without Frontiers, author of Learning {Re}imagined, GBM helps us to push boundaries for the greater good.

Laura Kirsop, Education

Former teacher, ex Code Club and now at Futurelearn, Laura’s in a (signed!) band. An edtech fanatic, LK offers pearls of wisdom on educational product stuff.

Jess Wade, Education

Jess is our resident physicist. She makes STEM education exciting for kids with her organisation Making Physics Fun, is on the board of the Wise Campaign and is involved with Research in Schools.

Rick Jones, Commercial

Online guru and heading up Adform in the UK, Rick brings a wealth of experience from Google, John Lewis and Sony. Plus, his kids love Minecraft.

Turgay Oktem, UX

UX designer for Penguin, Turgay works on way-cool-apps (Peppa Pig, the Beano, Ladybird, Moshi Monsters and Noisy Nee Naw).

Katherine Crisp, Child Rights

Head of Strategy & Innovation at UNICEF UK