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20 November 2023 in Belgrade

The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, based in Geneva, last considered the draft articles 13 and 31 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which relate to the right to art, play, culture and leisure, exactly 10 years ago, in 2013, issuing a General Comment to the implementation of these articles of the convention.

In that light, ASSITEJ Artistic Gathering 2023 in Serbia “TURNING POINT” will be officially opened on World Children’s Day, 20 November, with an all-day international professional and scientific conference, “Children and Youth Rights to Culture: 10 Years Later” on the stage of the Faculty of Dramatic Arts University of Arts in Belgrade, which is one of the important partners of ASSITEJ Serbia in the realization of ASSITEJ Artistic Gathering in our country.

The central part of the conference programme will be held on Monday, 20 November, from 9:30 am to 6:00 pm, and the exact programme and schedule will be announced soon.

The conference will be opened with a dialogue on the legal and political foundations of the rights of children and young people to culture, in which domestic and foreign experts from ombudsman institutions, international and domestic organizations for children’s rights, as well as universities, will participate. The conversation will be moderated by Prof. emerita of the University of Arts Milena Dragićević Šešić, PhD, while some of the confirmed speakers come from institutions and organizations from Sweden, Cyprus and UK.

“When the shadow is collective, will there be room for mine?”

The plenary lecture will be held by Dr Irena Ristić, psychologist and theatre director, full professor at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts and co-founder of the artistic group Hop.La! She will ask questions and open new perspectives on theatre, the social imaginary, regimes of inequality and possibilities for political change in this sphere.

In the first part of the day, Maša Avramović, co-founder of the Center for Children’s Rights C31 and doctoral candidate in pedagogy and researcher at Soderthorns University in Sweden, will give a presentation on the position of the child as a participant and what participation truly entails.

In the morning sessions, Dr Goran Tomka, cultural expert and professor at the UNESCO Chair for Cultural Policy and Management of the University of the Arts, and Lanora Callahan from the University of Roehampton, Great Britain, will speak about cultural needs, participation, the audience and the right to culture.

Swedish experts from universities, artistic collectives and children’s rights organizations will lead a dialogue on cooperation between theatre and research institutions and programs in the field of children’s rights.

In the afternoon sessions, a round table will be held on the position of performing arts for children and young people in the region of Southeast Europe and its place in curricula and lesson plans, with the planned participation of fellow professors at several drama and theatre academies in the region, as well as in Europe. In this segment, the regional platform of young professionals, “From the First Step,” will play a special role.

In the third part of the conference, various examples of good practice in the field of children’s and youth’s participation in cultural life, as well as the advocacy and implementation of children’s and youth’s rights to culture, art, play and free time will be presented by fellow artists, pedagogues and researchers from Turkey, Palestine, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Germany and other countries.

Within the programme of this conference, on the same day, the play “I am Akiko” (age 7+), directed by Milja Mazarak, created in the co-production of the Pančevo Cultural Center, the Biennial of Children’s Artistic Expression and the Festival of Ecological Theater for Children and Youth in Bačka Palanka, will be performed. This performance was a double winner at the fourth ASSITEJ Festival of Serbia in 2022, and we are most proud to present it at AAG2023.

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