If children ruled the world
If you’ve been into Theatre Porto’s home, Whitby Hall over the last few months you will have seen this amazing artwork – created by children and young people in Ellesmere Port.
The art was created through sessions delivered by artist Jake Ryan.
The project explored and developed ideas of justice, ethics and governance with children, to allow them to examine and possibly challenge the rules that shape their daily lives. It was also an opportunity be creative, develop literacy and ideas around citizenship and political and personal agency.
The activity was initially trialed with families at our ‘Warm and Toasty’ sessions working with children and families as part of Theatre Porto’s response to the cost of living crisis.
We then engaged with 355 children in 12 Ellesmere Port primary schools – Woodlands Primary School, Parklands Primary School, Elton Primary School, Sutton Green Primary School, Little Sutton Primary School, Cambridge Road Primary School, Whitby Heath Primary School, St Bernards Primary School, The Oaks Primary School, Rivacre Valley Primary School, Wolverham Primary School, Capenhurst Primary School, working with 14 class groups. We also ran community sessions with Westminster Families, The People’s Pantry and in Hope Farm Library.
Children identified their values, vocalised their own new rules and debated what it would be like to live in that world. Then using masking tape, markers, and paint pens, they graffitied their rules onto their school desks.
At the end, the groups debated which values and rules should go onto the boards These expressions were brought together on to colourful panels to create a manifesto of children’s voices.
The artwork premiered at Topsy Turvy – Theatre Porto’s Summer Extravaganza in August 2023. Every child who took part received an invite to come and see their work and participate in the event.
Jake Ryan commented “Children immediately assumed that they would be drawing during an arts project. And then found themselves writing, speaking and imagining new ideas. This frequently led to conversations about what art is. I explained that you don’t need to be able to draw to make art. Giving examples of famous conceptual artworks. This was often a relief to some children…
For me, good art represents the world, great art imagines how the world can be, represents a new world and opens up possibilities and ideas for change.”
Drop in for a coffee at Café at Theatre Porto to see the artwork.