The Ark’s Children’s Council Blog: November - Being Seen & Heard!

An exciting day as the Council debuted their short film “It’s a Right!”- and welcomed Minister for Education and Skills Richard Bruton to The Ark!

Seen & Heard was a public forum surveying the landscape of significant change for children in Ireland during the lifetime of The Ark and The Children’s Rights Alliance. It was a daylong event featuring many brilliant speakers on children’s rights and arts participation- including Council member favorites Roddy Doyle, Sinead Burke and Seona Ni Bhriain.

This was a big day for the Ark and a really exciting one for our Children’s Council who were not only debuting their short film “It’s a Right!”- but also introducing and welcoming Minister for Education and Skills Richard Bruton! The glamour!

And after much debate on who got to do what job and how exactly you say the name “Bruton”- we were off.

Here’s a quick timeline of how things went down on the day.

9:00: Council members arrive to the Ark. Deep breaths and dress rehearsals. They’re getting the morning off school and they’re grateful. It’s the little things that really seal the deal with these kids!

9:10: Dan from the Gallery of Photography arrived with cameras for the council members who had bravely offered themselves up to the all-important task of documenting the arrival of Minister Bruton. Dan and Niamh had trained the council up on our last session but despite this training- the young people were in full on paparazzi mode. You’d have thought we were about to welcome One Direction not the Minister for Education. Luckily, Dan was on the front line with them making sure the poor man didn’t feel too ambushed.

9: 15: I was upstairs with the motley crew who were going to introduce the film. Vocal warm ups, placement and projection work. We’d written the script together as a group and had our own flash cards and everything. Very official.

9:20: Ten minutes to go. Every child in the building needs a last minute toilet break. Of course they did!

9:30: Minster Bruton is here! Ten children descend (respectfully) on him with digital cameras and sweaty handshakes. He felt like Britney Spears. He didn’t say as much but I know he did.

9:45: All groups are reunited for the Welcome Address from our chair Catherine Byrne and our keynote address from Minister Bruton. Our speakers are standing by to introduce their film. Lee has lost the order of his flashcards. Blind panic. Grace and Abi save the day.

10:00: I introduce the Council (If you're interested, here's my speech) and they introduce their film. An amazing thing happens were the order goes wrong but Abi improvises like an old pro and knocks it out of the park. Nobody knew and it actually worked out better. Relief. Success. Celebratory juice and cake! You can watch a video of their introduction here.

10:15: The film has been viewed by a rapt audience of advocates and our council are being swept across to the Gallery of Photography were they get to select the best pics from the images they took.

10:20: We realise that Cian has defected from the group and is silently and diligently documenting the remaining talks up in the workshop. The camera had to practically be pulled from his hand. He has found his calling!

10:20: Our young people are trained up in Photoshop. Everything from image cropping to eyebrow tinting. They’re all available for hire! Especially Cian!

All in all, Seen and Heard was a great day for our Council where they really got to band together and make something happen. Big shout out and thank you to Dan and Niamh for their support and patience- and of course to Minister Bruton for making it in. If you still haven’t seen it- please check out our video “It’s a Right!” below.

Shaun Dunne is The Ark's Artist in Residence