Lottie Dolls’ Mia the Wildlife Photographer has been created to reflect the brand’s ethos of inclusiveness.
Mia was created following consultation with Toy Like Me, a UK non-profit organisation which campaigns for diversity in the toy-box and for better representation of disabilities, so that differently-abled children can see themselves reflected in the toys they play with. Toy Like Me was set up in 2015 by former BBC journalist and children’s writer Rebecca Atkinson, who wears hearing aids herself.
Rebecca commented: “When I was growing up in the 80s. I never saw any deaf characters in toys, books or on TV. When I became a mum myself, I decided it was time things changed. I wanted the global toy industry to act, to better represent the 150m children worldwide with disability and difference.”
Although Mia wears a cochlear implant, this is just a part of her story rather than a focal point. A keen photographer, the Mia character also has a mission to encourage children to take an interest in nature and wildlife. A mini-newspaper was created, comprised of nature photos submitted by children as part of an international photography competition, to encourage fans of the dolls to get involved.
Psychologist Dr Sian Jones from Goldsmiths, University of London has studied the effects of playing with toys with disability and difference on the attitudes of children without disability and difference. Interviewing hundreds of children, she found that after playing with toys like the Mia doll, children were more open to forming friendships with peers with disability and difference.
Mia the Wildlife Photographer has been acknowledged in the International Design Awards, receiving both an Honourable Mention and a Silver.
Lottie Dolls celebrated its 5th anniversary this year by announcing that, going forward, kids will be contributing to the design of every doll via a monthly design competition. For more information visit www.lottie.com.