It is a wall that is forever evolving. A place to come as an individual, or a family or together with a preschool or school or fritids (after school activity centre).
The wall is available for free expression or as part of a workshop together with an art facilitator that will inspire and challenge thinking about art, creative expression, and children's rights in public space.
I met up with Rikard Olsen who started the project with backing from Stockholm city with the aim to promote children's rights to take more place in public spaces. This project has had a steady trickle of visitors over the summer, as well as schools and preschools visiting too to do workshops where art and movement are combined.
The aim is for the wall to continue after the summer - with workshops for schools and preschools to continue and also at weekends.
I think the wall is important for several reasons...
- Children need to be a part of the public space... not only so they can see themselves as active participants of the society and not just beings that adults create spaces for... but also so that adults can see the competence of children. That their ideas are given space to be aired, that their talents can be shown off... and this wall is open for ALL children of ALL ages and even during the short time that I was there I saw a huge range of ages and Rikard had a natural instant good rapport with them all.
- children benefit from doing art outside, where there is an opportunity to experiment with paints and materials in a way that indoor art seldom allows you
- the wall is massive... if allows children to think big, no small paper here, there is space to really go wild, to paint with the whole body - to stretch high and bend low and paint big.
- there is the chance for risky-play. I love the fact there are step-ladders, over the years I have taken step-ladders into the atelier (and other spaces) for the children to climb and experiment with taking risks - in the sense of how high do you dare to climb. Each child will find that step that they dare use, some will challenge themselves, others will watch until they find the courage themselves... parents and teachers get the chance to see that children are capable of using step ladders... even preschool children!!
- we often talk of making children's learning visible... and this is a space that also does that. the children are learning about techniques, they will learn about the difference between brush and roller (and other materials used) - they can learn about mixing colours, they can learn about how other children express themselves and be inspired, on the wall this time were various languages... so we were learning that this is a space of diversity where all are welcome.
- it is a place to interact. Not just with the wall and the materials... it can also be a space to interact with others. A meeting place.
If I was to sit here longer I would probably come up with more reasons for why this wall is important... these are the ones that have just rolled off the top of my head.
If you are in Stockholm then I recommend that you head to T-bana Medborgarplatsen and check out the wall, take along children and let them get creative.
if you work at a school or preschool why not get in contact with them and see if you can book a session/workshop (the link to the page and a way of contact is at the top of this blogpost)
I really hope this wall goes from strength to strength and encourages others to take action and ensure that children are a part of public spaces.
If you are interested in children's rights and children and public spaces, then please check out the facebook group Children and Public Spaces