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The Right Here Right Now Symposium: Child & Adult Co-Creation in Performance 23 Feb 2023

The Ark Children’s Council invites you to join us for the opening of our Right Here Right Now! Festival of Children at this full day international symposium exploring how artists and children can co-create performance work.

Kicking off a three day long festival of free music, dance, theatre and art celebrating children’s rights, the symposium offers a unique opportunity to hear from children about their experiences creating and curating work with adult artists. We will also share best practice from as far afield as the UK, Europe and Australia with presentations and panel discussions from ground-breaking artists at the forefront of child co-creation in theatre, dance and interdisciplinary performance.

Right Here Right Now! is The Ark’s festival for, by and about children, and has been programmed with a team of child co-curators who will share the collaborative programming process with you.

This symposium will be of particular interest to artists and arts organisations with an interest in creating performance work together with children. It will also appeal to policy makers and those that wish to amplify children's voices within their work.

Browse the full Right Here Right Now! festival programme here.

Symposium Schedule

Time Event Speakers
9.30am - 10am Registration & Coffee
10am - 10.15am The BIG welcome The Right Here Right Now Co-Curators; Introduced by Carol Fawsitt, The Ark Chair
10.15am - 10.30am How we do what we do – programming Right Here Right Now! Presented by The Right Here Right Now Co-Curators - Aoife Butler, Aine Jackson, Louis O’Brien, Noah O’Connell O’Conor - and Shaun Dunne, The Ark Engagement and Participation Artist
10.30am - 10.45am For, By, With and About - The State of Play Aideen Howard, The Ark
10.45am - 11.45am Wide Open Window - Inviting Disruption Sue Giles (Polyglot, Australia); Moderated by Aideen Howard
- Q&A
11.45am - 12pm Coffee Break
12pm - 12.45pm Practice and Play Andy Field (UK) and the Children who made Lookout - Nina Houston, Aine Jackson, Naima Nkanyezi Moonveld Nkosi, Lily Rowen, Glen Savage; Moderated by Ruth McGowan
12.45pm - 1.45pm Lunch Break Lunch provided by Gourmet Food Parlour
1.45pm - 2.15pm Working Together as Child and Adult Artists Jesse Jones and Naomi Moonveld-Nkosi, (Ireland)
2.15pm - 3.30pm Sharing Authorship: The Collaborator, The Artist and The Institution Moderated by Róise Goan
- 2.15pm - 2.45pm Tim Crouch (UK)
- 2.45pm - 3.15pm Keisha Thompson (UK)
- Q&A
3.30pm - 3.45pm Coffee Break
3.45pm - 4.30pm Panel Discussion: Dancing with Children Sam Butler and David Harradine (Fevered Sleep, UK); Moderated by Fearghus Ó Conchúir
4.30pm - 4.45pm Closing Remarks - kicking off Right Here Right Now!

If you missed this event in person, you can listen back to our speakers below.

About the Speakers

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Sue Giles

Sue has worked in TYA for over 40 years. Artistic Director of Polyglot Theatre since 2000, her distinctive work has been shared in 18 countries on five continents, with experiences centring children as participants. Sue is President of ASSITEJ International – the global association of theatre and performing arts for children and young people. In 2018, Sue was given the Green Room Lifetime Achievement Award and in 2019 she was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for services to the arts.

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Andy Field

Andy Field is an artist and writer. He creates projects that invite people to consider their relationship to the places they live and the people they live with. Working with his partner Beckie Darlington, a key strand of Andy’s practice involves making work in collaboration with young people with the aim of enabling them to play a meaningful part in the civic discourse of the cities and towns in which they live.

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Jesse Jones

Jesse Jones is a Dublin-based artist. Her practice crosses the media of film, performance and installation. Often working through collaborative structures, she explores how historical instances of communal culture may hold resonance in our current social and political experiences. Jesse represented Ireland at the Venice Biennale 2017 with the project "Tremble Tremble", and recent solo exhibitions include, Talbot Rice Gallery Edinburgh, Project Arts Centre, ICA Singapore and an upcoming solo presentation at Guggenheim Bilbao.

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Naomi Moonveld-Nkosi

Naomi is a writer and performer from Dublin 15. Naomi was a member of The Ark Children’s Council in 2017 and is currently an alumni member. She collaborated on What Did I Miss? with Shaun Dunne (2021), performed at The Ark during the pandemic. In 2022, she collaborated with Jesse Jones on a film instillation as part of The Magdeline Series called The Tower, commissioned by Rua Red Galleries. Naomi is currently enjoying her TY year in an Educate Together school and investigating the archetype of the witch in young people’s culture and literature.

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Tim Crouch

Tim Crouch is a UK based writer and theatre-maker. His plays include An Oak Tree, The Author, Adler & Gibb, Total Immediate Collective Imminent Terrestrial Salvation and Truth’s a Dog Must to Kennel. For young audiences, plays include Beginners, I, Cinna (the poet), I, Malvolio and Shopping for Shoes. Directing credits for young audiences include Peat (The Ark, Dublin), Jerameee, Hartleby and Oooglemore (Unicorn Theatre), The Taming of the Shrew and King Lear (RSC First Encounters).

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Keisha Thompson

Keisha Thompson is a Manchester based writer, performance artist and producer. She is Artistic Director and CEO of Contact Theatre, Manchester, chair of radical arts funding body, Future’s Venture Foundation, an ITC board member and recipient of The Arts Foundation Theatre Makers Award 2021. Keisha’s recent works include children’s show, Issy, BOSSS & Fractal, commissioned by Fuel Theatre and directed by Alan Lane (Slung Low), and The Bell Curves supported by Eclipse, York Theatre Royal and Pilot.

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Sam Butler and David Harradine

Fevered Sleep was established in 1996 by artistic directors Sam Butler and David Harradine. Participation is at the heart of their work, and they see their creative process as a kind of research: a way to investigate and reimagine the complex and challenging world in which we live. Fevered Sleep projects have appeared in theatres and galleries such as The Young Vic, Sadler’s Wells, Tate Britain, The Whitworth and Sydney Opera House, and well as popping up in places where people work, learn and live.


The Ark Children's Council

The Ark Children’s Council is a group of children of 4th and 5th class age who attend all events at The Ark over the course of a year. The Council is the formal mechanism for child participation in The Ark’s artistic and strategic decision-making. Mentored and guided by The Ark Engagement and Participation Artist, Shaun Dunne, the children have the opportunity to become familiar with a range of artforms, to look behind the scenes, collaborate with The Ark staff, see and respond to work in development, and meet and work with visiting artists. They explore children’s rights through engagement with the arts while also amplifying the voice of the child within our organisation. Council members have free access to attend all Ark programmes with a parent or friend. In 2022, members of the Children's Council have become Right Here Right Now! co-curators and have worked with Andy Field and Becky Darlington to create Lookout, an Ark co-production with Dublin Fringe Festival. They also devised Hear Our Voice, a set of guidelines for adults on how to really listen to children.

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Aideen Howard

Aideen Howard is Director of The Ark. She has worked in theatre and the arts for over two decades as an artistic director, producer and commissioner of new work. Her leadership of The Ark combines advocacy and art-making for children, establishing The Children’s Council in 2016 as the first step in an ongoing journey in child participation. Aideen is a PhD candidate in Queens University Belfast and a member of the Board of RTE.

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Shaun Dunne

Shaun is a Dublin-based theatre and film artist who merges testimony and documentary material with new writing. He is Engagement and Participation Artist at The Ark with responsibility for the Children's Council since 2016. A writer and director, Shaun is most interested in new work that speaks to the here and now. Community participation is a huge part of his work and he collaborates regularly with Talking Shop Ensemble. Shaun is resident at The Ark and Project Arts Centre.

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Ruth McGowan

Ruth joined the Dublin Fringe Festival team as Programme Manager in 2015, before taking on the role of Artistic Director & CEO in 2018. She has been advocating for artists, big ideas and making space for culture in the city ever since. As a dramaturg, programmer and producer, Ruth has been building creative partnerships, leading talent development programmes and championing new work across performance disciplines since 2009. She has produced world premieres in festival fields, above pubs, and in historic theatres from Letterkenny to the Lower East Side.

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Róise Goan

Róise Goan currently works as the Artistic Director of Artsadmin in London, and will take up the role of artistic coordinator at VIERNULVIER in Belgium in May of this year. Prior to her appointment in 2019 she worked briefly as Guest Dramaturg at VIERNULVIER, and as an artist and arts programmer in Ireland. from 2008-2012 she was Director of Dublin Fringe Festival, where she established Fringe Lab, a year-round studio and artist-support programme. In 2022 she was appointed by Minister Catherine Martin as a non-exec member of The Arts Council of Ireland.

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Fearghus Ó Conchúir

Fearghus Ó Conchúir is a choreographer and dance artist, who makes film and live performances that create frameworks for audiences and artists to build communities together. His multi-platform work, The Casement Project, was one of the Arts Council's National Projects for Ireland 2016. He’s currently co-leading a dance programme with Micro Rainbow International that he initiated as part of The Casement Project to support LGBT refugees and asylum seekers. From 2018-2020, he was Artistic Director of National Dance Company Wales. He was appointed to the Arts Council of Ireland in 2018 and became Deputy Chair in 2019. He is Chair of the UK Dance Network, curator of the Step Up Project for early-career dance professionals and developing a long-term research project, Dancing More Wisely.