Saturday 9 April was a major marker for the Little Big Bang project. With only six months to go, it was a chance to reflect and re-imagine...
The Bigger Bang Symposium held at the Octagon Theatre in Yeovil attracted 70 delegates from across Somerset and beyond, made up of Early Years practitioners, policy makers, artists and arts organisations.
In the Morning
The delegates were joined in the morning by a lively audience of 150 children and families, mostly travelling from partner Children’s Centres, coming to the Octagon to see an enchanting performance of The Little Elephant.
The morning also included a series of vibrant and inspiring workshops for early years practitioners and artists in physical theatre, dance, movement, music, clay and visual arts. Workshop leaders included the Little Big Bang practitioners as well as international and Somerset early years artists.
Jo Belloli of Small Size UK/Polka Theatre held a discussion, feeding back on the Visioni del Futuro conference in Bologna which had just taken place in March. She was joined by Somerset theatre practitioner, Annabelle MacFadyen, who had attended the festival, partly supported by Little Big Bang.
In the Afternoon
The afternoon was launched by key note speaker Bernadette Duffy, Head (or was it Head Mischief?) of London’s Thomas Coram Children’s Centre, who inspired everyone with her vision of the importance of creativity in the early years. She is well placed to comment as she was on the advisory panel for the just published Tickell review of the Early Years Foundation Stage. She emphasised that creativity underpins all of the new ‘prime areas’ and her speech chimed with all that Little Big Bang has been learning. ‘If you’re going to embed creativity, you must get the managers on board and you need to have the artists as part of the everyday’ she said, when asked by one of the participants how to make this work count.
Dr Susan Young of The University of Exeter is the project researcher and she gave a presentation of the interim findings, with the key aspects illustrated by the three Lead Creative practitioners, Hannah, Richard and Rod.
There was also a chance for participants to explore a new play space, made by Somerset artist Katy Bull and commissioned by Little Big Bang for the day – an intimate and portable structure that transforms environments.
Throughout the day, delegates were able to view a grand exhibition in several parts, created by the Lead Creative Practitioners and the nine Somerset Children’s Centres involved in Little Big Bang. The exhibition continues to run at The Octagon until the end of April and will then tour Somerset.
Performance poet, Liv Torc summed up the day in style.
Images available here soon.
Watch this space for video casts of the main presentations on the day and a short film by 4 reel films