Children’s Creative Congress was an exploratory arts residency project bringing together children, local artists and Carclew staff in a ‘boot camp’ intensive under the creative leadership of Alex Desebrock. Hosted by Carclew, this residency marked the take off point for the development of a children’s curatorial committee – a committee of consultants, ambassadors, commentators and critics – the Carclew Curators.
Alex Desebrock is a Perth (formerly Melbourne) based artist whose work is renowned nationally and internationally. Her work is empowers children and through their voices, invites big picture thinking from adults.
The aims of this project are:
- To provide mentoring, sharing, learning and reflection opportunities for four South Australian artists in collaboration with one of Australia’s leading practitioners in the field of child led arts. These artists will be considered as resident at Carclew and facilitate future engagement with the Carclew Curators.
- To develop a highly engaged group of children available as a Carclew curatorial committee, the Carclew Curators.
- To focus on diversity of participation, diversity of background, gender, interests and aspirations. This will assist Carclew in developing future strategies to maximize access to Carclew programs. Young South Australians who do not currently have access to arts experiences is a Carclew priority.
- To further capitalize on outside agency interest and further promote Carclew’s renewed vision with a view to future support, collaboration and sustainability of the Carclew Curators.
Carclew had been undergoing a major restructure of the organisation since mid 2015. This enabled a renewed and invigorated focus on our processes and ways of working with children and young people. It is Carclew’s aim to place the child at the center of the process and to empower their voice in the development of new initiatives and targeted arts projects. For Carclew it is critical that new directions be child and artist led. Carclew staff will be engaged at all stages of the project to ensure that they are abreast of, and in sync with, the organisation’s refreshed vision and new directions. Carclew staff share in the development of skills to assist in the future delivery of a program framework that acknowledges that children are innately analysts, commentators, problem solvers, artistic adventurers, collaborators and critical thinkers.
Throughout this residency Carclew heard:
- What children value
- What is important to them
- How they want to spend their time
- What resources are needed
The Carclew Curators were be provided with arts experiences that cultivate and nourish their creative, intellectual and communication skills and capacities enabling them to participate as contemporary Australian Citizens. Carclew Curators provided a broadening of perspective to the participants, to the youth sector, the wider community and the arts industry as a whole. They considered questions like “why is art important”, “what does an arts centre for young people do?” and to use various art forms (painting, sculpture, movement, public art, performance etc) to generate ideas and questions.