Adelaide Festival Centre in conjunction with Come Out
Festival 2011: THINK SMALL – putting children’s confidence in their unique creativity at the centre of our thinking.
Space Theatre, March 28
An initiative of the Adelaide Festival Centre, the In Conversation With sessions are a series of free and open forums limited only by the capacity of the Space Theatre. Bringing everyday producers and consumers of the arts together with industry leaders, the aim is to provide an environment for thought provoking discussion and debate in which audience members are able to comment, question, and consult with the panellists.
The first forum, presented in conjunction with Come Out Festival 2011 and entitled Think Small: putting children’s confidence in their unique creativity at the centre of our thinking explored the challenges facing educators, parents, artists and society at large in encouraging and promoting creativity in children and bringing arts back into education.
The ever increasing focus on preparing each new generation for academic and economic success has seen a steady decline in support and funding for arts in schools, something which many feel leaves children without an outlet to “play” and explore their natural creative and artistic tendencies.
Hosted by ABC’s Art Nation presenter Fenella Kernebone, the forum was attended by a dynamic mix from educators, artists and theatre directors to students and interested members of the public. Kernebone led the discussion with practiced ease, keeping the comments and questions flowing. The panel of artists and industry leaders contributed much to the discussion, with particularly strong insight from Bodil Alling (Denmark), Artistic Director of Teatret Gruppe 38, and Tony Reekie (Scotland), Director of Imaginate.
Being neither an educator nor a parent, it was easy to fall into the trap of viewing the title of this forum and thinking “what does children’s creativity have to do with me?” Well, as it turns out, quite a lot.
Even lacking offspring or creative pursuits of your own, encouraging and cultivating creativity in children is essential to ensuring future generations of artistic talent and in producing well-rounded adults. Creativity is not simply the domain of artists, it infuses all aspects of life and there are few industries today that don’t require employees to think outside of the box.
The In Conversation With forum proved to be a highly enjoyable night that was well-organised and a pleasure to be a part of. The only disappointment was that there wasn’t more time. The lively forum could have continued for another hour, with many people leaving with questions to ask, comments to add and experiences to contribute.
There is a tendency to come out of such a session and ask what has been achieved? What solid outcomes were produced? What agreement was reached? While not necessarily producing any tangible outcome, it was not designed to. The forum was there to ask the question and get people talking in a productive and open environment. It achieved this with great success.
The outcomes of the Think Small evening were the evocation and facilitation of deep and thoughtful discussion, debate and shared experiences. However, a valid question might be, “what next?” It would be beneficial to see some follow-on initiatives from the organisation to capitalise on the energy generated.
The next three sessions promise more of the same; don’t miss your opportunity to be a part of discussing the issues facing arts in society today.
Thurs, 19 May 6pm. Building arts audiences collaboratively not competitively
John Frost - Musical Theatre Executive Producer (Wicked, The King and I, The Sound of Music,The Phantom of the Opera).
Kate Gould – Chief Executive and Associate Artistic Director, Adelaide Festival
Pamela Foulkes – Chief Executive Officer, State Theatre Company of South Australia
Ian Scobie – Director, Arts Projects Australia
Tues, 19 July 6pm. The significance of Indigenous art
Wesley Enoch - Artistic Director, Queensland Theatre Company.
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