Arts and culture collide in The Children’s Party: Think Tank Sessions – a series of workshops for passionate young people by Alex Walker (House of Muchness) and Ben Landau at Arts Centre Melbourne’s The Channel, in monthly sessions until November 2018.
Civics and citizenship study jumps out of the classroom and into action during dynamic, practical sessions for 9 – 12 year-olds. The material created in the eclectic think tank sessions will feed into future iterations of The Children’s Party – a theatrical experience showcasing the powerful perspectives of children in Australia’s first child-led political party.
Young people will be asked to respond to timely provocations and exciting stimulus to work out their stance on current hot topics. They will tackle questions including “What is the role of the young person in shaping our world?” and “What do you have to offer as a child?”
The participants will then be charged with the task of how to inject their voice into the arena. They are asked to think about the tactics and strategies that can catapult the position of the young person into the frame. Young participants will engage in brainstorming, research, physical theatre, storytelling, speech making, discussion, problem solving, performance and presentation.
The sessions are the work of Alex Walker, a youth arts practitioner focused on making live art with young people where the spheres of art and politics intersect and Ben Landau, an artist who creates interactive experiences and performances that deconstruct social, political and cultural assumptions to spur agency within the audience.
In 2016 Alex founded the House of Muchness (HOM), which is a centre of artistic practices for the creative wellbeing of young people. At HOM, she has established a culture which breeds safe, creative risk-taking and artistic experimentation. She uses arts processes to arrive at new material which reveals the contemporary condition of young people and their complex relationship with the world.
“Working with children in this context is thrilling. Rather than adults teaching young people how the world works, they are given license to unleash their potent and ancient wisdom,” says Walker. “They have an inherent creativity of approach that is radical and necessary and it’s a privilege to be witness to it.”
Ben Landau’s practice spans art and design. He uses design research to analyse systems, and artistic methodologies to tamper with them. Ben constructs experiences, objects and performances which are interactive or invite the audience to participate. His actions deconstruct social, political and cultural assumptions to spur agency within the audience.
Ben’s critical incursions onto the status quo analyse reliance on existing systems. He wears masks to camouflage himself in everyday situations, and uses hacking, detournement and satire to break from accepted norms.
“I’m excited to continue the exploratory process of The Children’s Party during the Think Tank sessions, working with young people to investigate new ways of elevating their ideas and showing adults what leadership means,’’ says Landau.
The Children’s Party: Think Tank Sessions will take place Sunday 26 August, Sunday 16 September, Sunday 7 October and Sunday 11 November 2018 at The Channel – Arts Centre Melbourne. For more information, visit: www.artscentremelbourne.com.au for details.
Image: The Childrens Party – photo by Sarah Walker