In the past few months we’ve taken our first major step towards our Children’s Radio Project, involving children of all ages teaching and training each other. This is not a new idea; indeed the original experiment proved its practicality in some thirty countries around the world and evolved into the Hole in the Wall Education Project which was primarily about changing the educational system in schools. For us, the profound resonance it has brought to our process over the past 20 years has strengthened our resolve to work only with children. We believe this phenomenon will be all the more powerful and sustainable as we create groups of radio storytelling ensembles to begin networking and interacting across borders. What kind of civil societies will these young groups form, still at the stage where their empathy and imagination are unpolluted and unjudged?
We are exploring this first in Wyoming, as GAC associate artist Bob Berky speaks with children of Anglo and Mexican descent. At the same time he will also be working with children from the Shoshone and Arapaho nation in Wind River, with an eye toward producing an initial storytelling exchange connecting the groups.In anticipation of the European phase of the project, a few months ago we scouted 12 towns in the Normandy region of France, sitting down with deputy mayors, leaders of community associations, and other locals, finding great enthusiasm and support from them. Six of these cities and towns are now designated for creating children’s radio workshops; in the spring we are planning to ship Bob’s 1954 Chevy pickup (see below) from the roads of Wyoming to the port city of Le Havre, where he and other GAC associate artists will roam the towns to listen to what young folks from various backgrounds and circumstances have to say.
We then plan to move into Central Europe, parts of the UK, the Balkans, as well as South Africa and Cambodia, to work with teams of trainers with whom we have collaborated over the last two decades. We are also in the process of forging relationships in Bangladesh and Peru. As an integral part of all this we are initiating collaborations between children of both indigenous and settler societies. Uppermost in our minds is to collect the stories of children who within their own lifetime are seeing their land—and in many cases their ancient languages—disappear in front of their eyes.We’re now just beginning to branch out. To this purpose, we are translating our website into French and Spanish, with Arabic texts now being finalized. Year by year, as the work expands across countries and regions, we will be adding more languages.
Many thanks to Carolyn Fellman, mixed media artist of the Oiseau Sisters for the logo (above) of our Children’s Radio Project, and artist Hanna Sidorowicz for the use of her painting at the top, Table Ronde, which to our eyes so beautifully captures the magic of children working together.We hope that you will renew your support of our mission and ask that you consider making a tax-deductible contribution to Global Arts Corps.
With much gratitude for your continued assistance.
Michael, Jackie, and Grant, and the rest of the Global Arts Corps team