Untangling article 31 – report from event on 2 June 2011

Untangling article 31: Play, Arts and Culture in 21st Century Childhood

Untangling article 31 – play, culture and arts in 21st century childhood

This post is the is the report from the seminar Untangling article 31 – play, culture and arts in 21st century childhood. I have copied the main body of the report into the post but have also attached a PDF  Untangling Article 31 Seminar Report  and an Untangling article 31 Appendixof the flip chart sheets collected from the discussions. Developments out of this event include Playable Spaces and there is a gathering as part of that. More information is on the Playable Spaces Blog http://playablespaces.wordpress.com/.

Seminar Report

Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow,

Thursday 2 June 2011

The International Play Association (ScotlandBranch) and GlasgowLife

This seminar explored article 31 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in which children’s rights to play, recreation, cultural life and the arts are established.  The seminar was the first step inScotland in preparing for the adoption of a United Nations ‘General Comment’ on article 31. It aimed to start a dialogue about the components of article 31 and how they enrich and support each other.

Through a panel discussion chaired by Juliet Harris of Together (Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights) and in small groups, thirty participants discussed questions around article 31 such as:

  • how to bring a rich understanding of article 31 to our work for and with children. (Would be beneficial to do so? How would we do it? What difference would it make?)
  • the major concerns/opportunities/potentials that relate to article 31 in Scotland

Background

In February 2011 the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, announced its decision to draft and adopt a General Comment on article 31. The General Comment will be issued to every government of the world which has signed up to the Convention including, of course, theUKgovernment.

In recent years the Scottish Government has been active in acting on the responsibilities that come with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) by reporting to the UN on children’s rights in Scotland (through the UK report), and following up on the UN Concluding Observations (recommendations) with an action plan etc.

The power of the General Comment however will come from the readiness of communities of interest to draw the Government’s attention to its messages and to highlight the implications forScotland.

Discussion

Article 31 is historically one of the least understood areas of the Convention (hence the need for a GC); it contains distinct but overlapping components; the adults one might expect to have an interest in these components work in widely diverse settings with a variety of aims, approaches, professional standing and political support.

The play sector was early in recognising the significance of placing their work within the framework of article 31 – ‘every child has the right to play’ being a powerful advocacy message.

In leisure, children’s creativity, access to cultural life and the arts, it could be said that that the work taking place has not been situated or understood explicitly within a framework of children’s rights.

Hence the questions: how can we bring a rich understanding of article 31 to our advocacy for children’s rights? What, for example, does the right to participate in cultural life mean? Who inScotlandis responsible for upholding these rights?

Prompted by the question ‘How do you define play/recreation/leisure/cultural life/ the arts – or, indeed, is it necessary to define it?’ the panel began by exploring some adult responses to aspects of article 31, aware all the time that ‘children wouldn’t necessarily see distinctions between them’. This discussion wound its way though the panel and group discussions that followed

Seeing play as under threat, the play sector has ‘agonised’ over definitions of play as a way of protecting what is essentially a natural human behaviour. The danger is that any definition is artificially restrictive. An accepted working definition is that play is ‘freely chosen, personally directed behaviour’, motivated by the child themselves rather than for external award but others would advocate for much wider all-encompassing definitions or none at all. Perhaps not needing a definition comes from a position of confidence rather than a protective position in which the need arises to articulate the value of something that is little understood.

Discussing the haphazard and anarchic nature of play and creativity highlighted the difficulty of creating policies around them. Do play and creativity thrive in managed, provided spaces and places or do they burst out on the borders? Are they always to be viewed as positive and constructive or is there also value in the transgressive and darker dimensions? Is it an accident that children’s favourite places to play are often hidden, secret, dangerous or simply ‘out of bounds’?

Play is often equated with the idea of a culture of childhood. Culture encompasses traditions, beliefs, meanings and values. Is children’s own culture alive in their every day play inScotland? Has a problematic relationship with risk in childhood also diminished the possibilities of culture of play? Does new technology erode or enhance a strong sense of culture?

It was asked if cultural expression comes out of free time. Global trends suggest that free time can be in short supply for many children with over-organised daily schedules. Many activities that children take part in (including ‘play’, sports, arts and crafts, music lessons etc) can be admirable in themselves while adding up to a daily round of adult-led activities. With little time for children’s self-organised activity formal programmes can be seen to both support and diminish children’s experience of the parts of life article 31 seeks to support.

Currently in the UKsport is set in a context of huge international ‘games’ – the Olympic Games 2012 in London and the Commonwealth Games, 2014 in Glasgow. Concern was expressed for the loss of street games and playing sport for pleasure and recreation, playing for ‘intrinsic value’ rather than external goals. Again, rules, institutions, structures etc have may be over-riding the self-organised playing of games and sports.  

Does the adult tendency to ‘provide’ or ‘organise’ combined with an inability to bring a light touch, deaden our approach to supporting opportunities for play, creativity, games etc? How do we understand and influence the ‘choices’ happening in the creative or play space? A lack of confidence in children and the inability to trust children were suggested as root causes.

Games, play and cultural expression come together in use of public spaces and so-called ‘playable’ spaces. Linking article 31 more clearly to other areas of the Convention such as rights of participation, freedom of expression and assembly etc might serve to challenge attitudes towards children’s place as ‘social actors’ in the public domain.

Public, community, shared and ‘playable’ spaces are areas in which policy frameworks and work on public perceptions of the value of the components of article 31 could make a tangible difference to children’s rights under article 31.

Next steps

The participants recognised and discussed the overlapping expertise from play, art, culture, recreation and leisure within the seminar and suggested making better use of these interchanges, with for example: ‘affinity diagrams’; practical ways article 31 could be put into practice; excitement of implementation moving forward; understanding/ opportunity to discuss ‘article 31’ issues with other agencies in other sectors.

A developed structure or framework to reflect our work (and to reflect on it) would be very useful, providing we can encompass the messy, ‘haphazard and anarchic’ contradictions inherent in play and creativity.

The language used and naming of initiatives around the General Comment should be considered carefully so that they are more easily understood and convey the importance and excitement of UN guidance on play, recreation, culture and the arts.

Exploration of ‘Curriculum for Excellence’  through formal and informal settings: ‘permission’ for organisations, workers and projects to have fun and playfulness as a key part of their work is there in policy documents in Scotland – but there are questions about how do we do it.

Can organisations see ‘play’ and ‘fun’ as a ‘key’ value along with learning and knowledge?

Feedback suggested an appetite for more time to be spent on these issues with longer events and more time to ‘hone ideas and words’. Comments included:

‘Article 31 is completely relevant as my organisation/project link all the main points covered in the article in our daily life as a community development project.’

‘The kids that I work with are excluded and often article 31 means –unfortunately – nothing in their lives’

‘It gives me a revised view of how to incorporate play in museums and some of the issues within it.’

Next stepsGoMA

The Blog www.blueprintforabogey.wordpress.com will continue to operate and archive the work documented in that programme and related materials around the right to play. GoMA are currently undertaking new work called Playable Spaces with Associate Artist Rachel Mimiec and IPA Scotland developing from key themes in Blueprint for a Bogey. A blog www.playablespaces.wordpress.com will be part of that process.

 

Next steps IPA Scotland

As a branch of the International Play Association which has led on the General Comment initiative, IPA Scotland intends to use the period between now and adoption of the GC (anticipated in late 2012 or early 2013) to help prepare the ground in Scotland. A General Comment is in effect a ‘tool’ that will aid progress and change for the better for children in Scotland, if advocates for children mobilise around it.

 A more sophisticated understanding on the components of article 31 is an important starting point. Lively, critical debate of how we provide and plan for the components of article 31 separately and in conjunction with each other is necessary. A greater understanding of how to translate the outcomes intended by the article to the Scottish policy context is vital.

A few loose ends

Attention! Corin Sworn with Nicolas Party and Ciara Phillips - all down and about to go in archive boxes

 

It’s summer and the weeks are flying by now. Blueprint for a Bogey was quickly de-installed on Monday 19 June by our technician. All except Attention! which I took down with our paper conservator on the Thursday. Attention! was really interesting to de- install as in some ways I hadn’t seen the individual works in amongst the group on the wall. There were certain prints that I didn’t recognise when they were off the wall and my favourite print by the end of the process was one that I couldn’t have told you was part of the installation.

Corin Sworn and Ciara Phillips came in on Friday to put the individual prints from Attention! into 3 groups so that we can store the artwork at Glasgow Museums Resource Centre (GMRC)- our big museum store. We bought Attention! along with 3 of Corin’s other works Faktura 2008 (4 minute video NTSC);  England 1975 (Graphite on paper), 2005 and David Vetter 1972 -1984 (Graphite on paper), 2005. Corin and Ciara put the prints into 3 groups so that when it is installed again the curator can use 2 or more groups in the installation depending on the size of the wall. Once they had done that the conservator and I packed the works between acid free tissue paper in archive boxes ready for transit.

 
The gallery went from looking like this :
 

Blueprint for a Bogey installation shot

to this
 

Sherry and Rego packed

Goldsworthy's packed

 

Fagen, Paolozzi and David Sherry loans

The work went out to GMRC this Tuesday and the new acquisitions are in the conservation studio to be checked and documented and the other collection work is back in its pod.

Although the work is out of the building the ideas and themes that Blueprint for a Bogey raised are not. I have had various meetings over the last few  weeks to explore ideas around play and space over the last few weeks with the view to doing more work and hopefully an exhibition opening in November 2011. Which is actually not that far away! There will be more postings on those ideas when they begin to take shape more.

In between times there have been a few other things happening. I have uploaded Anthony Schrag’s tour that he did for GoMA and Up to Mischief. So you can now download this to your mp3 player, come to GoMA, print off the map below

GoMA map for Stirling's Demise

or ask for it at the front desk and do the tour for yourself.

There was a fantastic event at Yorkhill Hospital last week showcasing the work that the young people had been doing with GoMA Associate Artist Rachel Mimiec. This was shown alongside a project they had done with Paragon Ensemble and Michael Collin ‘Super Sonic Heros’. I also brought along work from our collection – David Shrigley The Door and New Friends (which was a first getting contemporary art out to a non museum venue so I was very chuffed).

The event was brilliant and the young people’s work moving and powerful. How they create and play in their environment is really exciting and there were some lovely works produced through that. We are hoping to show them in GoMA later in the year.

That’s it for the moment but I will update soon after the next few meetings about plans beyond Blueprint.

One week left of Blueprint for a Bogey

Installation shot of General Dynamic F.U.N, Eduardo Paolozzi© the artist and his estate

I can’t believe that there is only just over a week left before Blueprint for a Bogey finishes. The last four weeks saw the final few workshops, events and discussions, which I was hoping to post about shortly after they happened but the British Art Show 7 and the lovely project ‘From Govan to the GoMA’ had to divert my thoughts. I also met Calder Zwicky from MOMA, New York and spent over 2 hours sharing thoughts, practice and desires for the future and it was really exciting to share a number of key philosophies and approaches to community and engaged art practice with someone from another institution.

This post won’t cover the work and the discussions, but I will eventually update from them all. Also in addition to the work going on now Blueprint for a Bogey has also been a catalyst for future work, which I hope to develop with various partners and our Associate Artist, Rachel Mimiec (More about her and the Associate Artist role in another post). It’s at an exciting stage where there is a lot of potential. The other key thing that has influenced my thought this week is watching the BBC programme Poor Kids. I was really moved by the articulate and brilliant children involved. It’s also really relevant to discussions about children’s rights that I am having with various people at the moment. You can’t ignore what those children and other children say about their lives. (again more about that later in another post)

May saw the Women@Play seminar as part of the CRCEES Research forum programme of events. It was lovely to be able to talk about the work again with the artists, Anne Elliot and Rachel Mimiec, and June Aird from the Red Road Family Centre. It also reminded me how pivotal June was in the work and continues to be as we reflected on the project and work itself.

Once the British Art Show 7 opened we had the brilliant ‘masterclass’ that Ciara Phillips, Corin Sworn and Nicolas Party ran on Sunday 29 May. In true Masterclass style the artists crammed a lot into the session lot in terms of information about their work, practical techniques and approaches – especially in relation to Attention!. They demonstrated screen-printing techniques, giving advice and tips plus how to use the inks and pastes. Then everybody was able to have a go developing their own prints and the results were lovely – I have included several in this post.

masterclass 29 May

demonstrating technique

1st tries

screen

final prints

final prints

The Masterclass participants included those with none or some printing experience and I have included some of the feedback below.

I enjoyed the experimentation of working with layers & working over the top of other class members’ work. The fact that we were using pre prepared graphics & working on top of each others work stopped me from being precious about the design and allowed me to learn more about effects and techniques through accidental experimentation.

For first screen printing workshop I thought the content was excellent.

I enjoyed being shown the whole process and then trying to work out how best to create my own design. I am motivated to try things at home now

I have really enjoyed the screen printing it’s a different medium to which I am used to. Useful technique to know. Fantastic day great information + practical skills

Images from workshops

As part of the wider Blueprint for a Bogey programme the GoMA Learning Assistants developed workshops responding to work in the exhibition. These workshops were developed for families, children in school and adults.

Below are photos from the different workshops showing the fantastic range of work they have supported people to make.

Saturday Art Club runs every week with a different activity based on work and themes in the gallery. This one is from 21 May

GoMA Bites are taster sessions for adults and the Learning Assistants developed 2 as part of Blueprint for a Bogey.

 

 

For the schools programme the Learning Assistants develop workshops around the key stages and, in line with current practice, explore active learning in the gallery and the Studio. This image is from a workshop for Primary school children using the Paula Rego print as inspiration and exploring making sculptures.

Nicolas Party, Ciara Phillips and Corin Sworn – Masterclass

installation shot of Attention! by Corin Sworn with Nicolas Party and Ciara Phillips

Master Class with Ciara Phillips, Nicolas Party and Corin Sworn

Sunday 29 May

Blueprint for a Bogey

11am to 4pm,

 please book in advance

Join artists Nicolas Party, Ciara Phillips and Corin Sworn for a day of collaborative screen-printing. Working with texts similar to those found in their poster installation Attention!, on display in current exhibition Blueprint for a Bogey, the artists will lead a workshop that encourages participants to work together using simple screenprinting techniques to create their own posters. All materials will be provided

To book please phone 0141 287 3059 or email GoMABookings@glasgowlife.org.uk

Up to Mischief

follow the line …..

It’s raining in Glasgow today … but luckily for us on Saturday the sun wasn’t exactly out but it wasn’t raining so we managed to do everything we had hoped for in Up to Mischief. There was a lot going on all day and much mischief around the building including POP, on both balconies which attracted young and old in to wile away the time popping bubbles. Gallery 2 was mayhem for a while with children making music and building in the soft play area but slowly drifted in quiet over lunch.. the young guides who had chosen 4 works from Blueprint for a Bogey were brilliant and gave various ‘alternative’ tours to people in the space.

mousehole

There was also a line to follow round the building to lead you to different mischief…
The afternoon saw the silly sports based on David Sherry’s work and the Blueprint for a Bogey title. Developed by Anthony Schrag, these ‘races’ had children and adults sharing ‘bogeys’, shopping bag races and ‘guide your partner'(as they have a box on their head). Much fun was had and it was great to watch.
This is what the final programme looked like:

All Day Events

 

Screening of 'Der Lauf der Dinge/The Way Things Go', Peter Fischli and David Weiss

Screening of ‘Der Lauf der Dinge/The Way Things Go’, Peter Fischli and David Weiss

Gallery Two

Der Lauf der Dinge (which translates as The Way Things Go) became one of the best-known and most popular film and video artworks of the late 20th century. Using a large variety of household objects propelled by chemical and physical reactions the Swiss artists, Peter Fischli and David Weiss, recorded a spectacular and amusing home-made chain reaction in their studio.

Massive mischief

Massive Mischief

Gallery Two

Design and build a giant chain reaction, create the largest domino rally or build a house of cards.  Most of all have fun and play!  An interactive space for adults and children.

mini mischief

Mini Mischief

Gallery Two

Tumble amongst soft play, clamber and climb through tunnels and tents, build dens with cushions and boxes, and make music.  An interactive space for under 5s.

Create Space

Gallery Two

Explore our recently renovated family art space full of inspiring art activities, books and trails. Add yourself to the GoMA portrait wall, recreate a masterpiece and more!

POP

Pop

Balcony Rooms

I always found bubble wrap to be more exciting than the art it is used to protect.”

Artist Anthony Schrag has transformed these circular rooms using packaging as the focus of the experience instead of the traditional artwork.

Stirling’s Demise (or the Ghosts of GoMA)

A 30 minute audio tour of the building, presented by artist Anthony Schrag exploring its past inhabitants.  A playful look at GoMA’s past!

Timed Events

balloon hat - though not as creative as some of those doing the rounds !!!

 GoMA Saturday Art Club

Studio, 10.30am – 12.30pm

A chance to get creative and messy as a family!  Design and build your own fantastic, colourful sculpture using balloons.

For 3 – 11 year olds and their families

Up to Mischief guides explaining about Attention!

Guided Tours of Blueprint for a Bogey

Gallery Three

11.00am & 1.30pm

Join young people Cloey, Zoe, Jade, Jamie Lee, Jason and Laura as they talk about their works in the exhibition

 


races ;-)

Bogey Boogie

2.00 – 3.00pm Outside

A series of games designed by artist Anthony Schrag and inspired by GoMA’s current exhibition, Blueprint for a Bogey.  Free and fun for adults and children alike. 

Bogey making for families
Elsewhere as part of Festival of Museums Scotland Street School Museum had young people building bogeys and then a race in the playground.
Bogey making SSSM
start of the race
having a bit of a rest

All in all a fair amount of mischief was had on Saturday …..

Untangling Article 31 – play, culture and the arts in 21st Century Childhood

INVITATION

Untangling article 31 – play, culture and arts in 21st century childhood

Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow,

Thursday 2nd June 2011, from 10.30 – 1.00

The International Play Association and Glasgow Life

We are pleased to invite you to take part in the ‘Untangling article 31’ seminar. This seminar will explore article 31 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UN CRC) in which children’s rights to play, recreation, cultural life and the arts are established.

Background

In February 2011, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child announced that it would draft and adopt a General Comment on article 31.  A General Comment is an official document sent from the UN to all 192 governments around the world who have signed up to the UN CRC. Its purpose is to increase implementation and accountability. This tool for advocating for children’s rights will be published within the next two years.

Purpose

This seminar is a first step in Scotland in preparing for the issuing of the UN General Comment. It will start a dialogue about the components of article 31 and how they enrich and support each other. How can we bring a rich understanding of article 31 to our advocacy for children’s rights? What, for example, does the right to participate in cultural life mean? Who in Scotland is responsible for upholding these rights?

The documentation for this seminar will be a valuable resource in Scotland to assess whether we are prepared and meeting children’s rights and, through IPA, can feed into the development processes for the General Comment itself.

Content

The seminar will be highly participative. It will open with a panel discussion which will elaborate on questions around article 31 from the perspectives of play, recreation, leisure, cultural life and the arts. The panel discussion will be part of the conversation in the room in which all participants will take part and will be moderated by Juliet Harris, Together (Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights). This will be followed by in-depth discussion of the overlapping components of article 31 and will conclude with consideration of the implications and next steps.

The GoMA exhibition Blueprint for a Bogey provides a backdrop to the seminar. For more information about this modern and contemporary art exhibition exploring the right to play please visit www.blueprintforabogey.wordpress.com

Booking information

  • There is no cost for this event
  • Numbers for this seminar are limited to 30.
  • Places will be shared between participants from play, recreation and leisure, culture and arts.
  • To reserve a place please contact:

Katie Bruce, Social Inclusion Coordinator, GoMA

katie.bruce@glasgowlife.org.uk  0141 287 3051

  • Please provide details of your organisation or interest area so that we can ensure we have a spread of participation across all the components of article 31.
  • Your place will be confirmed by 19th of May. Further background information will be sent with the confirmation
United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child: Article 31

States Parties recognise the right of the child to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts.

States Parties shall respect and promote the right of the child to participate fully in cultural and artistic life and shall encourage the provision of appropriate and equal opportunities for cultural, artistic, recreational and leisure activity.

Note: the International Play Association: Promoting the Child’s Right to Play is a multi-disciplinary membership-based association with members in 50 countries around the world. Since 2008 has led an international group of co-signatories to the request for a General Comment. More information can be found at www.ipaworld.org

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