The vital need for young people to access exceptional work as audience members has been core throughout Imaginate’s journey and is founded on the UN Convention Rights of the Child (UNCRC). While we have a particular interest in supporting children to exercise their rights as stated in Article 31 – Every child has the right to relax, play and take part in a wide range of cultural and artistic activities – we consider the UNCRC in its entirety including but not limited to a child’s right to express their views and opinions and be listened to (Art 12), to freedom of expression (Art 13), to the best possible health (Art 24) and to an education that develop every child to the full (Art 29).
In the past year, we have been developing projects and reviewing our practices in order to make the views of children and young people central in our organisation. This means to uphold their rights consistently, to respond to their views and to give them space to express themselves concerning all areas of our work.
We know that we do not want to ask children to step into our adult frameworks and processes to consult with us on our terms, and that we need to ensure we are communicating with children who are experiencing social inequalities, as they are the children whose views are rarely received.
We recognise that we need to change the way we are interacting with children and young people to ensure Imaginate is an organisation where the views of children and young people have space to influence, from policy and governance to artistic work, but we also recognise that this is a journey with many steps.