Creative Encounters

Forthview pupils demonstrating articles from the UNCRC. Credit c. Cedric Audinot
Forthview pupils demonstrating articles from the UNCRC. Credit c. Cedric Audinot
North Edinburgh Arts is delighted to partner with Imaginate on this innovative project. We're very interested in the site-responsive elements and how our young people can be inspired by their local spaces. The intention is for this to be a true collaboration between children and artists.

—Kate Wimpress, Director, North Edinburgh Arts, project partner

Creative Encounters is Imaginate’s flagship three-year project in partnership with North Edinburgh Arts focused on the incorporation of the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child. Together, children, artists and Imaginate will explore what it means to put children's rights at the heart of the creative process. 

From autumn 2022 until summer 2025, children from Northwest Edinburgh are working with artists and Imaginate staff to co-create new theatre and dance performances, giving a central role to children’s ideas, interests and voices. These new performances are presented in the local community and at Family Encounters as part of the 2023, 2024 and 2025 Edinburgh International Children’s Festivals. 

For Imaginate, Creative Encounters is an opportunity to develop a children’s rights-based approach to our organisational policies, processes, and decision making. Through this long-term collaboration with children, we hope to explore and discover new relationships and ways of working.

To find out more, get in touch with Lou Brodie (Creative Projects Facilitator) or call 0131 225 8050. 

Children as decision makers

The project aims to develop children’s confidence, creativity and sense of self-efficacy. Young people are involved as key decision makers from the beginning of the project. Children commission an artist to create a theatre or dance performance, and take part in workshops on curation, content creation, photography, journalism, speech writing, and decision making. Children also play a central role in shaping the design and delivery of the whole Creative Encounters project. 

Read more about our Year 1 decision makers 

Children as creative collaborators 

In addition to their role in commissioning and decision making, children are also invited into the artists’ creative process to co-create performances. This may see them in role as dramaturgs, taking part in research and development as devisors, or influencing elements of design and script. It could involve children performing in the piece, but it doesn’t have to – there are many potential ways for them to be involved. We are excited to explore this process and find ways to meaningfully incorporate and act upon children’s ideas and feedback. 

In Year 1 (2022/23), children from Forthview Primary School collaborated with Cynthia Cheung to co-create a new performance Hat Hat Hat which was presented at the North Edinburgh Community Festival 2023 and Edinburgh International Children's Festival 2023 Family Encounters. Children’s ideas influenced costume design, prop design and the final script for the performance. 

Read more about Hat, Hat, Hat and the creative process

The project is supported by Baillie Gifford, Arts & Business Culture & Business Fund Scotland and the PLaCE fund.