Towards a Child's Eye View
In our Birthrites Programme 2002 - 2003 we explored the theme
newborn and creativity in young children. The programme included a series
of projects, performances , exhibitions and education workshops with
Beginning in April 2002 with courses on naming ceremonies for the newborn, we
developed the Birthrites theme by collecting stories from across the generations
under the title ‘The Night that I was Born’. Grandparents and great grandparents,
children, midwives and new young mums all shared their stories. ‘ In a Teacup’ was
a small touring performance, taking these stories back to the people and to the
places were they belonged, using shadow theatre, visual storytelling,music and song.
One of these projects was ‘A Child’s Eye View’ a major new art work created by a
team of professional artists, musicians, actors who specialise in work for young
children. It was also a catalyst for adults. After the performance period, WSI
offered hands on workshops for parents, carers and teachers to give ideas and
inspiration for imaginative activity with young children.
Birthrites targeted isolated and hard to reach families, local nurseries, foster
careers, and pre-school playgroups. It was supported by a steering group which
included managers from Sure Start, National children’s Homes (NCH) and Barrow
Island Early Excellence Centre.
A Child's Eyes View
A feast brimful of images and sounds.
A journey for young people.
1 Front Garden: a bright awakening welcome
2 Shed: a dusty and unexpected interior world.
3 Back Garden: a hide & seek world of secret dens & surprises where every corner of the forest
offers the opportunity to explore
4 Window of Dreams: vivid creatures wait patiently. Can you see
them, or just their shadows.
WSI has set out to challenge the current view of nursery design and equipment, which is almost
universally produced in primary colours with plastic surfaces.
In ‘A Child’s Eye View’ the handmade and homemade are emphasised and everyday objects - both hi and low tech - are featured in clear, playful transformations.
RECIPE FOR A CHILD’S EYE VIEW
6 visual artists 1 performer
1 composer 1 director
1 technical director 4 volunteers
and 1 bus driver plus
a few volunteers
Simmer for 20 days:
Devise, research, plan, build, install, rehearse and then open when ready.
250 kitchen scourers half a doz. duck eggs
60 toothbrushes 100 cardboard tubes
15 rolls of turf .5km washing line
200 clothes pegs 6 copies Beano
10pkts drinking straws 1 ex. colonial mosquito net
12 discarded fruit boxes 10 sacks sand and shingle
19 beige shirts 8 pkts bath scrunchies
12 new pairs knickers: 25 poles of larch & hazel
boys & girls
1 secondhand gents suit 1 clean wheelbarrow
a few old canvas tents 1 stainless steel washing machine drum
2.5 cubic metres of bark 1 basket of new seasons chestnuts
and any amount of: used brown envelopes, pink j-cloths, string, half bricks, cotton buds, old pans, coffee filters, bubble wrap, calico and gauze, plus a few slices of toast.
Birthrites was the beginning of a longer enquiry - our three year Milestones
Initially we were asking what are the defining experiences of the new
born and the very young? What value systems do we offer and how is the
wisdom of previous generations recycled with relevance for a contemporary
world? Where in our culture do we have the clear water to reflect?
We connected with young people and found practical ways of supporting
them to mark their rites of passage and transitions.
Bees Knees and Beetle Wings (7yrs)
Cabin Fever (9-12yrs) and
Fast forward (16-17yrs)
were just some of our projects.