The Playhouse Street Talk Project launched their public art showcase, Rights in Sight, on 24th August 2021 in St Columbs' Park House Walled Garden.
Street Talk had been working with Currynierin Youth Club, Tullyally Youth Club, Voices of Young People In Care (VOYPIC), Include Youth and YMCA through programmes of issue based art workshops. They were the first groups to meet face to face since coming out of lockdown, so the play, interaction and social element was very important in the project.
A team of artists and educators including Caroline Devenny, Polly Garnett, Sarah McNabb, Jack McGarrigle, Brent Young and Ciaran Flanagan hosted multi art form workshops in drawing, sculpture, textiles, printmaking, photography, and circus skills.
The young people jointly organised the showcase, which they themed around human rights and the rights of a child. They creatively explored the United Nations Convention of the Rights of a Child, in relation to their own lives. This encouraged local young people to have a voice and ask questions.
They got to know the Playhouse as their local arts organisation and got to know a young artist, Sarah McNabb and they have come to see her as a role model and been inspired by her. One of the young people has now decided that they want to pursue fine art as a career.
All of the young people have been really engaged. They got to experience a wide range of different art forms.
The project helped to draw the young peoples’ attention to the UNCRC and how these rights relate to them. Before this they didn’t make the connection between human rights and young people. It has made them more socially aware and engaged in community issues; for example, why are there almost no free recreational activities for teenagers. Once you get into the teens, nothings’ free; it’s all to be paid for.
The young people really steered the direction of the project themselves, and really focussed in on the rights of a child. That’s such a big area, you couldn’t have done much more than that in the space of a few months. It’s so relevant for care experienced young people, especially in relation to child protection and the right to be safe, and the right to see your family, even if they live abroad.
At the showcase were various art installations and a vintage photo booth, where people could get their photographic portraits taken. There were circus performances and workshops by In Your Space Circus School. Moving Music Academy put on a DJ set with DJing workshops.
The artists hosted workshops and the young people took on the role of assistant artists.
Street Talk also engaged the young people in a programme of arts and events management, which resulted in the young people taking ownership of the event, from the initial programming to jointly delivering art workshops. The young people took to the stage and entertained the audience with speeches and rap songs, written by themselves for the showcase.
The Playhouse Street Talk Project is funded by BBC Children in Need and the Department of Foreign Affairs.
Photo Andy McDonagh, Eclipso Pictures