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Voices of Children & Teenagers

In 2022, ASSITEJ International launched two new projects, ‘Voices of Children’ and ‘Voices of Teenagers’, to bring children’s and young people’s voices into artistic conversations and other sectoral discussions.

In recognition of the importance of including children and young people’s own voices in the learning and development of ASSITEJ International and its members, these programmes will seek the voices of children and teenagers to be integrated into professional learning around what our young audiences demand in terms of sustainability, participation, and creative feedback.

These two parallel projects have been designed to:

  • Set an example and inspire the sector to include children and young people as valued contributors and vital agents in the sector’s cultural ecology;
  • Let the voices of young generations be part of forming the conversations in professional discussions around the project activities, and;
  • Enhance the capacity and skills of artists, producers, festivals, venues, and others to include children and young people in their work.

Voices of Children: “This Is What I Saw”

During the pilot project phase, children aged between 9 and 13 will be invited to take part in a reflection project called “This Is What I Saw” during ASSITEJ Artistic Gatherings in 2022 (Sweden) and 2023 (Serbia). A local project coordinator will work with the children, facilitate their event participation, and coordinate and frame their reflection process. The children will be recruited locally from a school, theatre company, or neighbourhood. They will see at least three performances across the festival as a group or separately with their families. They will also be part of a facilitated workshop process where they create visual, dramatic, sensory, audio, or video responses to the works they have seen.

This may involve numerous activities such as:

  • Engaging as observers and responders to festival programming; making art-works in response to what they see;
  • Contributing to a non-verbal reflection space, such as a wall of thoughts, where they can draw and react to what the performances provoke;
  • And / or being young hosts at particular performances or venues, knowing the work, and introducing audiences to it from their perspective.

The project results in an exhibition of the children’s creative feedback (art works, wall of thoughts, audio interviews etc.) on the art they have witnessed together, in whatever form this takes. The focus is on encouraging adults to absorb and accept different forms of articulation and communication when faced with children’s responses to art.

You may read about the process and outcomes of the 2022 pilot project in Helsingborg, Sweden, below.

Voices of Teenagers: Sustainability & Participation

During the pilot project phase, teenagers aged between 14 and 19 will be invited to the ASSITEJ Artistic Gatherings in 2022 and 2023. The participants will be young people interested in performing arts selected by the local host. The teenagers will co-create and host specific activities for each Gathering, as well as see performances and participate in the festival’s ‘Professional Exchange’ programme of the festival.

They will host ‘Kitchen Table Conversations’ about sustainability, give a’ Young Critics’ Award, and co-create a two-day seminar about child and youth participation. During their visit, two teenagers from each Gathering will also participate in the ‘Sustainability’ Working Committee.

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