Covid-19, the CRC, and the Right to Participate
By Manon van de Water (ITYARN), member of the Executive Committee of ASSITEJ

Covid-19 has upended our lives but more importantly, perhaps, that of children and youth who are affected educationally, socially, economically, politically, and culturally, mostly through decisions and policies not of their making and not necessarily with them in mind. 

First, their education was affected by the closing of schools. Then their social life became more isolated because of more lockdowns and closings of playgrounds for the younger children and collective activities and hang-outs for older youth. As parents and caregivers lost jobs and income, an increasing number experiences food concerns as well as reliable housing, gas, and electricity. Decisions made for them on a local or national political level are all too often made with ulterior motives to the detriment of the children and youth. And finally one of the most precious rights of the children in the Convention of the Right for the child, article 31—the right to leisure and play and to participate fully in cultural life— was affected by the closing of all cultural institutions, except when mediated through a screen.

The international TYA community was, of course, also at a loss. As Sue Giles, Vice President of ASSITEJ, also mentioned in the last newsletter, the ASSITEJ Executive Board tentatively started to have zoom meetings somehow bridging 16 time zones. We started to organize “coffee sessions,” which are enthusiastically embraced and continued by the national centers, most recently a 50 member coffee session in Brazil. And while much discussion continues to include how artists, researchers, companies, and festivals were affected, we also talked about the target audiences, children and youth globally. For the past six years or so ASSITEJ already had been discussing the various ways children and youth might be able to participate in all forms of theatre for young audiences performance, including process, policy, training, and engagement. Article 12 and 13 of the Convention of the Rights of the Child, the CRC, where the child’s freedom of expression and involvement in policy making is stated, and Article 31 which guarantees the right to participate in cultural activities have been especially important for ASSITEJ and its advocacy. But in these unprecedented times, was merely pointing to these articles enough? What else could we do? During one of the coffee sessions in June 2020, Vicky Ireland of IIAN, the International Inclusion Arts Network, offered the Children’s Art Manifesto created by the UK charity, Action for Children’s Arts (ACA).
This became a catalyst, taken up with enthusiasm in subsequent summer coffee sessions in an effort to create the ASSITEJ International Manifesto with input from around the world. Finalized by the ASSITEJ EC with input from IIAN and translated in as many languages as possible it is now on the ASSITEJ website for everyone’s use.
We, at ASSITEJ have made a commitment with this manifesto, and we hope you will all take it as a model to adapt to your regional and cultural-political circumstances if necessary, and use it to your advantage and spread the word. One great example of advocacy, is of 13-year-old Emmerson Sutton from the UK who introduced the manifesto at the Council of Europe in September 2020, arguing for involvement of children and youth in policy and decision making by putting himself as an example. In his words, since he started attending boards as a nine year old: “as an advisor I have frequently suggested alternative ideas [. . .] to consider. Having young representation on panels and boards ensures creative longevity.” As a field constructed by adults, we all too often have gone over the heads of children and youth, talking at and to them, not with them. Hearing, without listening. It is time for a change.

News from ASSITEJ
ASSITEJ Manifesto at Council of Europe

13-year-old Emmerson Sutton from the UK, one of Action for Children’s Arts (ACA) Young Supporters, introduced the ASSITEJ manifesto at the Council of Europe on Monday September 28th 2020.

Read Emmerson's speech >>>

ASSITEJ Coffee Session in November: Stress Management & Empowerment

Most of us - as artists and individuals - are in a difficult situation. We have to face fear and uncertainty, stress, disappointment and anger. In this Coffee Session we talk about ourselves with focus on strategies to cope with the crisis.

🌍 Online
🗓 25 November 5-7pm JST & 3-5pm CET

Join us  >>>

TYA News from around the world
News from the Small size Network

Small Size

The unique circumstances of Spring 2020 have activated the Small Size Network members, 91 in total, to undertake many initiatives.

Read more >>>

Activities and Projects in Brazil

CBTIJ / ASSITEJ Brazil

Read about the activities and projects from CBTIJ / ASSITEJ Brazil in 2020, a year in which they celebrated their 25th anniversary, and the project AKIN.

Read more >>> 

Laboratory of young directors

Ukraine

From September 30 to October 5, a laboratory of young Ukrainian directors was held in the Khmelnytsky Academic Ukrainian Music and Drama Theater.

Read more >>>

Creative Equity Toolkit

ASSITEJ Australia

Ongoing discussion and action within access and inclusion is creating slow but positive changes within Australia. At a time of such upheaval and uncertainty, we move towards rebuilding better, fairer and so we can stand tall to make work together.

Read more >>>

Why theatre?

Belgium

Why theatre? Why is this art form so unique, so beautiful, so indispensable? Jojo & Joyee (authors of the World Day message 2019) and Suzanne Osten, winner of the 2002 ASSITEJ Award for Artistic Excellence, are among the 106 contributors in the new book Why Theatre, compiled by NTGent.
Read more >>>

News from ASSITEJ Germany

ASSITEJ Germany

Read about diversity development, a new professor in Aesthetics in TYA, the upcoming European Theatre Forum & more.

Read more >>>

In The Works Dance Solo Project

ASSITEJ South Africa

Meet the choreographers who will be working on the Dance Solo project which will premiere at My Body My Space, in early 2021. 

Read more >>> 

Everything begins with a simple step

ASSITEJ Cyprus

Cyprus is now a step closer to establishing a national centre of Theatre for Children and Young Adults. Read about their launch event on Sept. 28th.

Read more >>>

News from Spain

ASSITEJ Spain

Read about a new publication, Spain's National Award for the Performing Arts for Children and Young People and more.

Read more >>> | Leer en español >>>

News from Nigeria

ASSITEJ Nigeria

ASSITEJ Nigeria has hosted its Theatre Festival from the 28th -30th October, 2020. Read about the event on our website.

Read more >>> 

About a virtual festival and its success

Small Size Network

LABAS! 2020 overcame the challenges and crossed virtual borders to bring children a week of diverse activity online (and a little in person!) from 20-27 September in Lithuania.

Read more >>>

Calls & Opportunities
View all calls
SubTitles3

Denmark

• Are you a touring theater?
• Do you translate your texts?
• Do you display translations on stage or would you like to?
• Do you perform for deaf people or hearing impaired?

If you can answer yes to some of these questions, you can benefit by using the free and easy-to-use SubTitles3 sub/surtitle system.

Read more >>>

Open call: Beyond borders

ASSITEJ Canada

Young People’s Theatre (YPT) announces Beyond Borders – a New Play Creation Initiative for Young Audiences.

YPT is finding an upside to the challenges of working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic: expanding the geography of artists with whom we collaborate on new creations.

Read more >>>

Wanted: Site-Specific Performance

ASSITEJ Germany

Next year's Starke Stücke festival is looking for performances, as well as for site-specific productions for the Zoogesellschaftshaus in Frankfurt am Main

🌎 Frankfurt am Main, DEU
🗓 4-15 March & 2–14 July 2021
⏰ 1st December 2020

Read more >>>

Atelier for Young Festival Managers

International

The Festival Academy re-opens calls for applications for its two upcoming in-person Ateliers. The Ateliers for Young Festival Managers are training formats aimed at young artistic managers or those who aspire to become involved in programming or in programming-related departments within a festival.

⏰ 15 December 2020
🌍 Düsseldorf, DEU & Kampala, UGA
🗓 16-22 June & 7-13 August 2021

More information >>>

Open call: ASSITEJ Festivalen

ASSITEJ Norway

ASSITEJ Norway opens up for submitting performing arts productions for the 16th international performing arts festival in Kristiansand, The Norwegian ASSITEJ Festival, scheduled for September 22nd to 25th.

⏰ 8 November 2020
🌍 Kristiansand, NOR
🗓 22 – 25 September 2021

Read the open call >>>

Upcoming Events
View all

Check out the upcoming festivals & events in the ASSITEJ network and beyond!

Antiracism in TYA - Webinar Series

TYA/USA International

Join TYA/USA, in partnership with Arts in Color, in a national conversation on addressing the racism and oppression that impacts the entire TYA industry in personal, professional, and systemic ways.

Over the course of an 11-session webinar series we will explore a variety of issues and perspectives regarding the ways artists and organizations can begin to (or further) embed antiracist practice in Theatre for Young Audiences.

🌍 Online
🗓 5 November – 17 December 2020

More info >>>

Swedstage 2020 becomes Swedstage Online

ASSITEJ Sweden

Swedstage is the opportunity to see and experience the very best of Swedish performing arts for children, youth and adults.

ASSITEJ Sweden and Scensverige have decided to suspend Swedstage 2020 in the form we are used to. Instead, we will arrange a digital showcase program.

We will show the breadth of Swedish performing arts through a number of clips from eight current selected productions, as well as an online talk.

    🌍 Online
    🗓 
    9 November 2020

    More info >>>

    European Theatre Forum

    ASSITEJ International

    Join the first ever open acces event that brings European performing arts together. ASSITEJ International has been active in the planning process of this online event. Yvette Hardie, President of ASSITEJ, and EC-member Stefan Fischer-Fels are speakers.

    🌍 ONLINE + Dresden
    🗓 11 - 13 NOV 2020

    More info >>>

    SEGNI New Generations Festival goes DIGITAL

    ASSITEJ Italy

    Even though SEGNI NEW GENERATIONS FESTIVAL XV LIVE edition has been cancelled, "SEGNI ON BOARD" IS HERE: read the renewed invitation for the online festival!

    🌍 ONLINE
    🗓 31 OCT - 8 NOV 2020

    More info >>>

    IPAY Showcase 2021 is online

    Showcase in Place 2021 is a virtual gathering space where the global community for international performing arts for young people can connect with each other to develop new ways to produce, present, and create performance.

    🌍 ONLINE
    🗓 1 OCT 2020 - 31 JAN 2021

    See this week's programme >>

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