The Children at Liberty project emerged in 2014 from a double fascination: with the possible outcomes of the apparently simple equation “children + urban space”, and with the concept of children-citizens seen as equal, active and important members of the community. We wanted to test (and we are still testing with undying interest) how the way children explore their identities and surroundings could be woven into public space dominated by adult formats and experiences. We also wanted to invite children (and this invitation is continuously open) to various activities and spaces in which they would be allowed to experience self-reliance, cooperation and affecting reality, in addition to simply enjoying being a child. This year, children are also allowed another thing: to negotiate and explore the spaces of freedom in Liberty Square. We are crawling out of the Children at Liberty pavilion. We are plunging right in the middle (and the perimeters) of the festival schedule. We are stirring and muddling, savouring and flavouring, and we are definitely making some noise. Because here, children are allowed to!
We are carrying out our mission of releasing space to the youngest citizens in the afternoons. Together with the artists we have invited, the young participants can attack Liberty Square with their favourite devices. Through activities based on sound, motion and visuals, as well as cooking and word-formation, they can discover ways to conquer and negotiate the square’s territory. There is also conceptual learning about differences and setting boundaries and individual pathways in a series of workshops addressed to primary school students. With Humans of Aleppo, the performing arts company Cirrus Ferrus and a group of socially involved children, we are examining conflict and migration to create peace projects. All the work on negotiating space and finding new platforms for dialogue will culminate in a peaceful demonstration, which will leave Plac Wolności on June 25, the closing Sunday of Malta Festival Poznan. The humanitarian conquest will be made more splendid by Marcin Piątyszek’s Children's Orchestra, a profusion of banners, dancing, shouting and whispering, as well as everyone who wants to sing along and stomp their feet to our song of peace.
As always, there is a workshop area in Liberty Square dedicated to children's explorations and play. It features multi-sensory elements designed especially for toddlers, as well as a pile of fairy-tales, a dressing-up cauldron, large format games, a tipi, canopies and many other accessories to ensure a good time. The Children at Liberty Zone is open every day, and is supervised by facilitators equipped with numerous patents for fun. On the weekends, Teatr Blum will take our “I” to a meeting with other individuals during the performance Ty i Ja; and with Maja Brzozowska, we will watch two films about some amazing children and use their stories in a creative workshop about change and courage. The youngest visitors at the Children at Liberty Zone can also experience their first negotiations in a workshop developed by CZYTOGRUSZKA.
Maja Brzozowska, Elżbieta Niewiadomska, Joanna Pańczak
Children at Liberty programme curators