Blog: Lou Brodie introduces our new project Creative Encounters

27 October 2022

Lou Brodie with school pupils, c. Jassy Earl
Lou Brodie with school pupils, c. Jassy Earl

Hello! My name is Lou Brodie and I am the new Creative Project Facilitator for Imaginate. Working three days a week with the team I have the pleasure of leading on our new flagship three-year project Creative Encounters.

Imaginate are on a journey to ensuring we centre the voices and rights of children and young people in our company. As part of that journey, Creative Encounters seeks to explore how we might do that in the commissioning and creation of theatre and dance for young audiences. We are very much at the start of this journey! For me, this looks like running sessions with young people exploring children’s rights, their thoughts on theatre and performance and why they should be included and considered in decision making processes. In addition to this I will support children to shortlist and interview artists for our Creative Encounters Commission. Over the three years they will completely design and deliver a commissioning process in collaboration with the Imaginate team.

My passion in this work comes from delivering projects like Wee Night Out and delivering the youth circles on behalf of the First Minister's National Advisory Council on Women and Girls. I think it’s really vital that we get serious about how to centre children and young people in our world and specifically how we genuinely make space to share power with them. I love collaborating with children and young people. It is a deeply rewarding process to have a genuine artistic exchange with children. But collaborating with children and young people can feel like a real challenge for adult artists. How do you transparently hold a space of exploration and power sharing with a group of young people? How do we make ourselves accountable to them and get honest about when we get it wrong? And, how does this approach benefit the children and artists we work with and our family audience? I’m really thrilled to explore these questions over the three years of Creative Encounters.

For Imaginate, we are motivated by the incorporation of the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child into Scots Law and in to wider civic society. We’re in the business of championing quality cultural experiences for Scotland’s children and are keen to explore a rights-based approach to creating work for young audiences. We don’t have all the answers and we don’t expect the artists we work with to have them all either but we are excited about exploring a bold and fun way to work with such a serious document.

There is some amazing rights-based participation work already happening in Scotland. Our brilliant Children’s Parliament are very much leading the way on this and we are excited to be members of Together Scotland. I’m on a mission to read and watch as much as I can to inform this work as well as building partnerships and chatting to artists and adults who can support or are interested in this work.

Creative Encounters is also about getting to know the community where our child collaborators live and we are delighted to have the wisdom and partnership of North Edinburgh Arts supporting us over the three years.

So, what can you expect to see from Creative Encounters over the next few years?

Commissions for artists to make new work, presented locally and part of our festival (our 2023 call out is live until 8 December 2022!).

Workshops and sessions with schools and community groups based in North West Edinburgh.

And us, talking about, shouting about, getting curious about Children’s Rights and the UNCRC!

If you want to chat to me about the project, feel free to get in touch! My email is