On the children´s own terms - Participation and roles in music projects for children


Monday, 18 September, at 12:00–15:30

Everyone can create! This is the motto of Skapia, an organisation that joins professional composers’ skills with children’s creativity and curiosity, and which partners with Ultima in the organisation of this seminar.

Kids are uncompromising, thoughtful and independent beings who communicate using aesthetic means. Children actively take part in the musical activities they are offered. Through mimicry, sound and movement they expose themselves to artistic scenarios. In this way children can play a central role as agents in musical situations, whether as part of a concert audience, at musical workshops or as musicians in professional performances or as songwriters and composers.

When adults create musical projects for children, it is we who dictate the terms. In other words, we define what impact their participation should have on the children. Is it possible to shift this paradox so that the children are given genuine ownership over the musical situation? Can we thus make projects on children’s own terms?

This seminar is about how children can take charge of musical situations and how they can be given free rein as co-creators.

  • Jorunn Spord Borgen is professor at the faculty of for humaniora, sport and education sciences at the University of South-Eastern Norway. Drawing on her expertise in child and aesthetic education, as well as her research experience within The Cultural Schoolbag (DKS), she opens the seminar with an exploration of the seminar’s main question and the relationship between creative freedom and participation in cultural encounters between professionals and children.
  • Marcus Hatt is a former participant of BLIKKÅPNER (‘eye opener’), a project by Astrup Fearnley Museum and other Norwegian art institutions in which art is mediated by youth to youth through specially designed exhibitions and events. We discuss with Marcus the potential of a concept like BLIKKÅPNER for a younger target group.
  • Wouter van Looy, founder of BIG BANG – a music festival for children taking place in 20 cities in Europe and the Americas – explains how the festival prioritises children's participation and autonomy.
  • Awo Abdulqadir, programme producer for kids and youth at MUNCH, gives insight into the museum workshops and guided tours for children, Munchs Monster.
  • Ultima's outreach coordinator Torunn Forland Bjella and production manager Christel Forsberg are behind Children's Ultima Day (BUD). They will talk about Ultima's experiences creating a special day dedicated to children and contemporary music.
  • In conversation with Heloisa Amaral, the event's moderator and director of Ultima, composer Øyvind Torvund elaborates on the concert workshop Forest Concerts, performed at BUD.
  • Eldar Skjørten, director of Skapia, gives an insight into their current project at Gamlebyen school where children compose music performed at BUD by three professional musicians. Together with one of the musicians – percussionist Ulrik Ibsen Thorsrud – he shares his reflections on the balance between guidance, interpreting children's intentions and the children’s autonomy when given a compositional role.

    The seminar is held primarily in English.

NB: The event is free - reserve ticket via the online form before 15 September.


12.00 Coffee & croissants

12.30 Welcome

Heloisa Amaral

12.40 Artistic and cultural encounters ‘on children’s terms’
Jorunn Spord Borgen, University of South-Eastern Norway

13.00 The "Blikkåpner" Project - What and how?
Marcus Hatt, Astrup Fearnley Museum

13.20 Pause

13.30 Big Bang Festival: Thirteen years of productive dialogues across Europe between children and music professional
Wouter Van Looy, Big Bang Festival

13.50 Children as co-creators in «Munchs Monstre» («the Monsters of Munch»)
Awo Abdulqadir, MUNCH

14.00 Ultima Children’s Day
Christel Forsberg and Torunn F. Bjella, Ultima

14.10 Forest Concerts
Øyvind Torvund in conversation with Heloisa Amaral

14.20 Pause

14.35 Magical music by young maestros
Eldar Skjørten and Ulrik Ibsen Thorsrud

14.55 Panel and concluding discussion

15.40 End


Jorunn Spord Borgen, Wouter Van Looy, Awo Abulqadir, Ulrik Ibsen Thorsrud, Eldar Skjørten, Øyvind Torvund, Torunn Forland Bjella, Christel Forsberg, Heloisa Amaral

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