The Ark Children's Council is back and this time we’re bigger than ever with a whopping 35 young people all ready for a fun year working with me and the rest of The Ark team.
Since establishing this programme three years ago, our Children’s Council has gone from strength to strength. We doubled in numbers for our second year, introduced a work in progress festival for young audiences and continued our commitment to keeping young people seen and heard as much as possible within our building.
In anticipation of our third year, our summer taster sessions were a lot of hard work but also a lot of fun. Having met so many brilliant young people, I’m really happy with the council we have for our third iteration. They are from a variety of different backgrounds, with different opinions and interests- so I’m sure they will keep us on our feet and challenged throughout the year.
For the young people in question, the ask remains the same as before. Come. See everything. Learn how it’s done. Make friends. Have a laugh. Feedback.
Previous councils have really helped us to learn, grow and develop our thinking as an organisation by giving brilliant insight and ideas on how best to work with young audiences. I can tell already from Week 1 that this new group are gonna take that remit very seriously too!
For our first session in September, we were getting to know each other and establishing how to work across our various projects through the year. Our October session will see the young people see their first show in The Ark and meet some of the artists afterwards.
We’re also gearing up for Universal Children’s Day next month so we’ll be doing some work about their rights and preparing for some exciting new video projects down the line.
Last year, I was nervous about doubling our numbers but this year I’m excited for the challenge that 35 young heads will bring to our work and I can’t wait to see what’s next.
In other news...
I’m excited to announce that another one of The Ark's Intergeneration Drama Projects is underway, with a new school on board and getting ready to make something special. This year we are working with Colaiste Mhuire on Parnell Square- which is really exciting for me because I’m a past pupil and in dire need of giving my Irish a polish! We’re really proud of this burgeoning project as The Ark's Director, Aideen Howard and I have been trying to find a way to work meaningfully through Irish for some time now. .
This month will also see Liam and I continue our work with Clondalkin’s Direct Provision Centre. We got four great sessions in last year so I’m excited to see how we can build on that progress over the next few months!
Watch this space to hear more information on the council and my other work within The Ark this year!
Shaun Dunne is The Ark's Artist in Residence, with responsibility for The Ark Children's Council and for some of the organisation's outreach and engagement work.